Venice, the most beautiful city in the world, has many different names: Venezia, City of Bridges, City of Light, City of Water, Queen of the Adriatic, and La Serenissima — all descriptive names for this amazing city located on a group of sinking islands in the middle of a lagoon in NE Italy.
The term of endearment that best suits this idyllic and magical city is “La Serenissima,” which means “The Most Serene” in Italian. Expect a fantastic visual feast on our Venice Photo Tour!
There really is no place on earth like Venice (not even in Las Vegas!). This is truly one of the top locations in the world to photograph.
We especially like photographing Venice at “twilight” or “blue hour.” This is the period just after sunset and before sunrise when during a window of opportunity of no more than 20 minutes, the incandescent street light combined with the ambient blue light of the sky allows for a magical exposure.
Photographing Venice is the perfect opportunity to find hidden photographic gems and inspire your creativity.
We invite you to join Jim and Magrit for our Venice Photo Tour in this magical city. It is truly one of the places not to be missed, especially for photographers.
Our days will be spent exploring the maze of narrow lanes and bridges and visiting and photographing iconic images as well as off-the-beaten-track scenes.
We will take a boat ride to Burano, one of the most colorful places on earth.
We’ll stay at a charming B&B with a wonderful breakfast buffet, run graciously by a Venetian family, and their friendly staff. Paolo, the silver-haired owner, used to be a celebrated gondola racer in his youth (only in Venice!).
We will also take time each day to share images and learn post-processing and in-the-field techniques.
In addition to great photo opportunities on our Venice Photo Tour, we will be lecturing (mostly in the field) on photographic topics including:
Depth of Field calculation
Blue Hour Photography
Filters, Neutral Density, and Neutral Density Grads
This sample itinerary is subject to change depending on weather and other circumstances beyond our control. Changes in the itinerary are always made to provide the best possible experience for our clients.
May 18, 2025
The Venice Photo Tour begins at our hotel just off Campo Santa Maria Formosa at 4 pm with an orientation to get to know each other and to go over the agenda and goals for the next four days. Jim will give a short tutorial on correct exposure and the use of the camera’s histogram.
Campo Santa Maria Formosa is a beautiful square where we will start our exploration of Venice. This will be our “home campo” for our stay. We will point out the best coffee bars, ATM machines, and local laundry services. We will spend some time exploring this square and the nearby ones including San Marco, SS Filipo & Giacomo, and Santi Giovanni e Paolo.
We will have an early dinner at 6:30 pm so that we can arrive in time to claim our spots on the Accademia Bridge for sunset and blue-hour photography. In the distance, along the Grand Canal, you’ll see the church of Santa Maria Della Salute, a very photogenic building that offers a stellar anchor point for a wonderful composition. This is a magical place to photograph the sunset and blue hour.
May 19, 2025
For those who wish to experience the early light, Jim will offer a pre-breakfast session close to the hotel. There are some great canal and bridge compositions close by.
After breakfast, we will make our way via Vaporetto to the Dorsoduro Sestiere (district). We love this district for getting away from crowds. Meandering east past the church of Santa Maria Della Salute (remember from the previous night?) we make our way to Punta Della Dogana, a spectacular viewing spot looking out over the San Marco Basin, San Marco Square, the Giudecca, and the church of San Giorgio Maggiore.
After lunch, Jim and Magrit will introduce you to a few of their “Secret Photo Stashes” near our hotel: A back-alley Franciscan church with a pair of lovely and very photogenic cloisters, among the oldest in Venice; A museum housed in what was originally the home of a sixteenth-century Venetian Doge (the chief magistrate and leader of the Most Serene Republic of Venice) with a couple of outstanding photo ops; And very close by our hotel, a lovely and quintessential Piazzetta featuring some of the oldest dwellings in Venice. All these locations are close enough to be able to return to them at different times of the day for the “right light.”
At 6 pm we will make one of the last elevator trips up to the top of San Mark’s clock tower, the Campanile. Rising 320 feet above San Marco Square this is a great time to break out your 200mm plus telephoto to capture graphic patterns of church domes, tile rooftops, people, pigeons, and chairs and tables of elegant cafés illuminated by the low slanting light at day’s end.
Dinner in one of the many fine and off-the-beaten-track restaurants. For the best quality and experience, we seek out the places that the locals frequent.
May 20, 2025
After a leisurely breakfast, we will make our way via Vaporetto down the Grand Canal to the Rialto Fish and Produce Market. This is a great place to roam with a camera. We will explore the San Polo and Santa Croce Sestieri (districts), both wonderful areas for mid-day photography of canals and bridges and the slender elegant gondolas cruising by. We will photograph the stunning interior courtyard and stairwell of a 15th-century palazzo. This courtyard also features a beautifully carved Venetian cistern/well made from Istrian marble.
We will visit the Jewish Ghetto in the Cannaregio district. The word “ghetto” is derived from Venetian Italian meaning “a part of a city, especially a slum area, occupied by a minority group” and this was, in fact, the first Jewish ghetto. A sad aspect of Venetian history but an interesting place and a lovely quiet campo to visit nonetheless.
We will have an early dinner in the Cannaregio before making our way to the Rialto Bridge for pre-sunset shooting from the bridge.
May 21, 2025
Okay, I know it can be painful getting up at 4:30 am and this is, of course, optional, but what a wonderful time to photograph in Venice! No crowds and great light. Our destination, San Marco Square, is one of the greatest photo opportunities in Venice: Looking south over the bobbing black gondolas across the San Marco Basin to the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore in the pre-sunrise “blue hour” light. This is a perfect blue hour setup with the gondolas and docks being illuminated in the foreground by street lights and the church in the distance being lit by floodlights. We will expertly capture the balance between the warm artificial light and the blue ambient light of the sky. With exposures up to 30 seconds long we will make good use of our tripods.
You will not regret finding yourself here at this hour. The lights in the many lamp posts are still turned on, allowing for great starbursts at f16. This early in the morning, there are no crowds, just a few photographers and late-night partygoers heading back to the stable. This is absolutely the best time to be in San Marco Square for photography. We will have the place to ourselves (hard to imagine the crowded zoo only a few hours later) and will experience the magical pre-sunrise blue hour and then the sunrise before heading back to the hotel for breakfast and a very leisurely morning. Think “Great Big Nap.”
We will then catch a mid-afternoon Vaporetto for the 45-minute journey north across the Venetian Lagoon to the over-the-top colorful island of Burano. We never tire of visiting this amazing village and always come away with stunning images.
We will have an early light dinner on Burano so that we can be ready for sunset and post-sunset blue hour photography. Perhaps our favorite blue-hour shooting, anywhere in the world!
We will catch the late Vaporetto back to Venice and our hotel for our last night in this magical city.
May 22, 2025
Our tour ends after breakfast. Easy public transportation to both the Venice Train Station and Marco Polo Airport is available.
All entrance fees to exhibits & locations that we visit for photography
Jim & Magrit’s expertise in guiding and photographic instruction
Level of physical difficulty: 2 out of 5
Involves a fair amount of walking. Of course, Venice is flat but there are a great many small bridges to navigate. Participants must be able to manage their luggage to the hotel from the Vaporetto stop (water bus).
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Personal Items, Camera Equipment, and Weather Conditions/ Venice Photo Tour
The temperature range for this time of year: is 68º F but it can get very hot and humid.
Average monthly rainfall for this time of year: 2.5 ”
Try to pack light on this Venice Photo Tour, as you will have to transport your luggage from where the boat drops you off, either a private water taxi or a public Vaporetto, to the hotel. Drop-off laundry service is available close to our hotel. Most airlines are now charging for more than one piece of checked baggage.
Two pairs of shoes: One sturdy pair for in the field that you can get wet if we have a rainy day. One pair for evenings.
– Lightweight rain jacket and rain pants. You don’t have to go all out here, but if we have some wet weather and it is not raining too hard we can still go out and get some good photos. * A waterproof & breathable rain parka with a hood is mandatory.
– A lightweight fleece or down layer for underneath the shell. Magrit & I both travel with lightweight down vests and jackets. Uniqlo makes fun and affordable down layers. Also in men and women models. We like jackets with a hood. We also carry lightweight gloves and stocking caps. For the fall tours, you may want to ensure you have ample layers. Follow the temperatures before your departure.
-Headlamp with Red Light Mode.
-Small umbrella for rain and shade. I use an umbrella often to block the sun from hitting the front element of my lens. Black is the best. I like this one.
-Hat for sun and rain protection.
Camera Equipment. On this Venice Photo Tour, I mainly use my 24-105 and 16-35. I now travel with a Full Frame Sony system and carry a 16-35, 24-105, and 70-300. A sturdy tripod is essential.