2018 Italy Photography Workshops Announced

(Update - as of 10/1/2017, the 2018 Workshops are all sold out)

I'll be leading three separate workshops in 2018:

Each workshop is limited to 7 participants, so you get lots of personal instructional time. And, since my goal is to have you devote your time to making photographs and immersing yourself in Italian culture, I take care of all the details; all you have to do is arrive in Italy, photograph and learn.

For a sense of what my workshops are like, watch this short video. To see what former workshop students have said about their experience in Italy with me, see this web page.

To get early notification of my future workshops, get on my Advanced Notice Mailing List.

Come Photograph in Italy Next Summer!
Come Photograph in Italy Next Summer!

4 Essential Italy Travel Tips

Here are 4 essential truths about Italian travel that I've learned in more than 25 years of exploring and photographing there.

1: Don't Try To See It All

This is the biggest mistake that most travelers make. Think about trying to see your own country in one fell swoop; it can't be done. Instead, concentrate on seeing a few things and seeing them well. Don't make checking an item off a list a substitute for getting a feel for the spirit of a place. This is why my Italy Photography Workshops seek to provide an immersive experience for the participants. My goal is to help photographers really see, experience and photograph the essential aspects of a particular Italian location.

2: Go Off The Track

The farther you get away from large towns and cities, the more "pure" your Italian experience will be. I am not suggesting that you ignore the great Italian cities, but rather that you balance a visit to, say, Florence with a few days in the Tuscan countryside. In other words, watch where the crowds go and then walk or drive in the opposite direction. This is exactly the strategy I employ in my Photo Workshops - we get to see the sights everyone wants to see, but we really do get off the beaten track as well.

3: Get Up Early & Stay Up Late

The light is so beautiful in the morning (great for photography), and the crowds that throng to popular places don't arrive until after they've had a proper breakfast. Getting up early gives you quiet time in a place that you can't get any other way. Staying up late assures you that you won't miss the wonderful social time that Italians have late in the evening. You also will be more tempted to eat your evening meal when Italians do; sometime around 8:00PM or later. Of course, this means that you might want to reserve some time in the afternoon to have a nap, just like many Italians do.

4: Eat With The Locals

Italy offers one of the most satisfyingly wonderful gastronomic cultures on earth. You can eat well (really well) almost anywhere. I frequently ask people who work where I am staying where they go out to eat. Asking the desk clerk works, but asking the gardener is even better. I ask them where they would take their families for a good dinner. What you'll find from their responses is that you can eat great food for small money. Even if you are too timid to ask someone, see if you can figure out where local folks eat by going a bit out of the way and looking for local cars or foot traffic.

9 Essential Travel Photography Tips

I've been leading photography workshops in Italy since 2009. Here are 9 things that I've learned that can help transform your travel photography experiences:

1: Community Is Key

Keeping my groups to just 7 students means that everyone gets to know each other well, which means that sharing vision, insights, tips and more comes easily. That sense of community is built equally well in the field as we photograph together or over a glass of wine after the light fades.

This environment is a fertile ground for restoring creativity and creating a new foundation for our creative lives.

2: Slow Is Good

The pace of Italian life tends to be slow - or at least slower than what most of the rest of the world puts themselves through every day. Slowing down means that we get to see more. Many travelers try to do so much in each day that they don't get a sense of where they are or what it really feels like.

The itineraries that I set for the workshops leave time for wandering, contemplating, exploring and thinking about what our photographs mean and how they communicate that meaning. Slowing down is one of the keys to making great photographs.

3: Learn Before You Go & After You Arrive

Before each workshop, I send my participants a number of instructional resources to read, view and absorb before we leave for Italy.

Many of the items are photography based, centering around both technique and the strategies we'll use to think more deeply about the subject matter we'll encounter. And, because I believe that understanding local customs and traditions is vital to the act of making great photographs, I also send out culturally-based resources, so workshoppers can learn essential aspects about where and how Italians live.

Once we're in Italy, we often use expert local guides to help amplify the knowledge that we gained before we got to our destination.

4: Immersion Creates Intensity

My workshops aim to immerse participants in both photography and Italy, allowing them to get a sense of both culture and place and, in turn, a sense of how to photograph them. That immersion in craft and culture creates an inherent intensity of experience.

A camera is in hand - or nearby - every waking moment and, because we base all of the workshops in towns and cities (with frequent trips to the countryside), Italian culture is literally at our doorstep.

We live photography while we are living in Italy.

5: Photography - And Food - Bring People Together

Photographing with other photographers can be a very rewarding experience, and very different from traveling with non-photographers.

Not only do other photographers completely understand that you may need an extra few minutes to find the essence of a particular subject but they might also help you see something that you hadn't seen before.

Workshoppers get to learn about each other as photographers and individuals and great friendships have been born during the workshops.

6: Storytelling Creates Focus

By getting students to think about story when they make their photographs, and using a variety of instructional strategies to get them there, the photographs they make are better, clearer and more personal statements than if they just shoot whatever they see. Together, we use our cameras to create stories that have a beginning, a middle and an end - and that makes all the difference in the quality of images that students make.

7: Go Deep

Rather than trying to see - and photograph - lots of things in rapid succession, photographic magic really begins when you stay in a place for a while and give yourself enough time to really see and understand it. In my workshops, we try to stay in one location for the week.

Even when distance between locations requires us to move, we always stay at least two nights in one place so we can get a sense of that place, allowing us to get below the surface and make images that are more personal statements.

8: Pack Light

For both photography gear and personal clothing, I always advise my workshop participants to pack light.

A camera body, a small selection of lenses (or even one camera and lens!) and a tripod and you're set. Since the best camera is the one you have with you, make sure your camera bag isn't too heavy to carry around.

Similarly, a small, practical wardrobe is essential, and keeps your suitcase manageable. Casual, comfortable clothes (and shoes!) means you'll be dressed for photographic success.

9: The Classroom Is Everywhere

Though I have taught photography for more than 35 years, most of my experiences were in a classroom with desks and chairs.

In Italy, my classroom is everywhere - in a hill town, in a vineyard, at breakfast or anywhere we happen to be. My workshop students get to have the experience of making photographs, looking at those photographs and then making more photographs- ones that are informed by the experience of looking, critiquing and guiding.

2017 Tuscany Photo Workshop – Student Slideshows

2017 Tuscany Workshop Group in Lucca, Tuscany
2017 Tuscany Workshop Group in Lucca, Tuscany

A most excellent group of photographers moved into the elegant town of Lucca, Tuscany this week for the last of my 2017 Italy Photography Workshops. Beautiful sun created hot days but cool mornings and evenings of visiting this under-visited area of northwestern Tuscany. Check out their great slideshows linked below.

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