The Art of Photographing Venice …
… the most beautiful city in the world!
Throughout our over 20 visits, Venice has mesmerized us time and time again.
Whether we were exploring its enchanting streets on a rainy Christmas Eve or immersing ourselves in its beauty as part of our Photography Travel Tours, each experience has left us in awe. It seems that no matter how many times we return, there is always something new to discover beyond the typical tourist routes. This city, with its sinking foundations, opulent palaces, and decaying charm, possesses an undeniable allure that can easily bewitch you (although this spell may fade if you happen to visit in August when the canals emit a less-than-pleasant scent and the mosquitoes unmentioned in most guide books feast upon you).
For Magrit, who grew up just a short train ride away from Venice, this island city is ingrained in her very being. Her parents even embarked on a honeymoon adventure to Venice on a motorcycle with a sidecar back in the 1950s. We can only imagine the tales they could tell.
You might have already seen some of our favorite images of Venice. However, many of the photos in this blog are a fresh crop from this year’s photo tour.
BTW, photographing Venice comes with additional perks such as outstanding Italian cuisine. Make sure to check out the recipe for Spritz, a delightful Venetian summer beverage as well as an amazing not-to-be-missed “Fly over Venice” video at the bottom of this page.
Chasing gondoliers with your camera is great fun. Perch yourself on the steps leading down to the water anywhere along a canal around the city that’s on the gondola route and wait for the gondolas to turn the corner. If you stick with us, we know a few great spots. ;-)
A 1-day itinerary for photographing Venice
If you only have a short stay in Venice and are up for multiple cappuccinos and a high level of energy, you can follow our 1-day photographic itinerary. This itinerary covers various locations that we also explore during our Venice Photo Tours, which span over four days and is a great adventure before your Tuscany Photo Tour: La Bella Toscana | Tuscany Photo Tour, May 20 to 26, 2024. Take advantage of a 5% tour discount if you sign up for both tours.
Your day will begin early in the morning. And by early, I mean really early! You’ll need to wake up at 4:00 a.m. Quietly leave your comfortable hotel and walk through the dark deserted streets of Venice before sunrise. It’s hard to imagine having St. Mark’s Square all to yourself, except for a few late-night revelers heading to bed and a couple of inspired photographers. Just hours ago, this area was packed like a can of sardines. At this time of day, the streetlights are still on, creating a perfect opportunity to capture breathtaking Blue Hour images.
While photographers hustle to get just one more shot, a collective groan fills the air when the lights go out around 5:30 a.m. However, the sunrise and early morning hours until approximately 8 a.m. still offer great photo ops and the luxury of experiencing this stunning city devoid of crowds.
Now, your reward awaits: Follow your nose and indulge in the first cappuccino of the day at the first café that will open its metal shutters. One can detect the aroma of coffee and freshly baked croissants (brioche) from far away. A divine moment!
Return to your hotel for a well-deserved tasty buffet-style breakfast and a brief break. Then proceed to capture the interior of a lesser-known palazzo just across from our friendly family-run hotel. Lie on your back in the center of an artistically adorned marble floor and then gaze upward through your camera lens at the exquisitely crafted ceiling with a mysteriously levitating sculpture — a scene of symmetrical beauty.
After you’ve brushed off the marble floor dust, head back to San Marco Square and brace yourself against the tourist hordes as you ascend the Campanile, a free-standing 16th-century cathedral bell tower that stands at an impressive height of 323 feet. It is best not to dwell on the fact that it unexpectedly crumbled in 1902.
No one will get injured again, rest assured. You can enjoy breathtaking 360-degree views of the city from the top and take advantage of a unique opportunity to observe the world below and spy on tourists doing silly things with your long lens.
For lunch, you could check out one of the many quintessentially Venetian Cicchetti bars that offer little open-faced sandwiches with a creative variety of toppings. Then head to the San Polo neighborhood and capture stunning photographs of the Canale Grande from the top of the Rialto Bridge. This iconic spot is just a stone’s throw away from a bustling open-air market, where you can find an array of fresh fish, produce, kitschy souvenirs, and crafts.
This spot is even interesting to photograph after the farmers and fishermen have packed up their wares for the day and have hosed down the market stalls leaving only a faint aroma of fish left behind.
Once you’ve finished your cappuccino (who’s counting, right?), make your way to Casa Goldoni for a visit. For a small fee, you can enter the interior courtyard of this gorgeous building. The benefit of photographing Venice on a photo tour with us is that we get special permission to not only admire but also photograph this romantic scene.
Blue Hour in Venice
Whenever you can, photograph Venice during the morning or evening Blue Hour — the most magical time in this stunning city. Here’s the recipe for successful Blue Hour shooting. » You have already seen early morning Blue Hour images above. Here are a couple of images taken after sunset.
Photographing Venice must include Burano!
Next, embark on a water bus called Vaporetto to reach the vibrant and unbelievably colorful island of Burano. After a 45-minute ride, you will arrive at this lively fishing village, known for its flamboyant colors. Next week, we’ll show you our latest crop from Burano but here’s a sneak preview:
Instead of attempting to accomplish everything in one day, pushing your limits, and relying on excessive caffeine, we highly recommend adopting a more relaxed approach. Take your time, spread out these photo opportunities over a few days to fully appreciate the enchanting beauty of Venice, and let us take you to many more visually stunning spots.
We know the right time and place. :-)
Jim + Magrit
And here, as promised is the recipe for another Venetian treat:
Campari (or Aperol) Spritz
Spritz is bright sweet and bubbly and has the right amount of bitterness. You can make a spritz cocktail with Campari or Aperol (the Aperol Spritz is sweeter and slightly less tart).
3 ounces Prosecco
2 ounces Campari or Aperol
1 ounce club soda
1 slice orange
Fill a tumbler with ice cubes. Add Prosecco then Campari or Aperol and club soda; stir. Serve garnished with an orange slice.