• May 16–20 & June 12–16 (4 nights)
• Group size: min 5, max 10
• Cost: $2,195, single supplement $325
• Tour starts and ends in Venice
May tour is currently sold out. Request to be put on the waitlist or chose Venice Tour #2 (6/12–6/16)
The term of endearment that best suits this idyllic and magical city is “La Serenissima,” which means “The Most Serene” in Italian. Expect a visual feast!
Venice, Venezia, City of Bridges, City of Light, City of Water and Queen of the Adriatic are other names for this amazing city located on a group of sinking islands in the middle of a lagoon in NE Italy.
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 it for “twilight” or “blue hour” photography. This is the period of time 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 perfect magical exposure.
Venice is the perfect opportunity for finding hidden photographic gems and inspire your creativity.
We invite you to join Jim and Magrit for our 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 maize of narrow lanes and bridges and visiting the Rialto farmers market and a secret old library.
- 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 perfectly 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 photography opportunities we will have time for photo sharing and critiques. We will also be lecturing on photographic topics including:
- Digital Workflow
- HDR Photography
- Panoramic Photography
- Depth of Field calculation
- Focal Blending
- Blue Hour Photography
- Filters, Neutral Density and Neutral Density Grads
- Photoshop Tips and Tricks
- Nik software
This is a sample itinerary which 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 16, 2017
The group meets at our hotel just off Campo Santa Maria Formosa at 4 pm. We will have 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 the local laundry service. We will spend some time exploring this square and the nearby ones including San Marco, SS Filipo & Giacomao and Santi Giovanni e Paolo.
We will have an early dinner at 6:30 pm so that we will 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 very magical place to find yourself with a camera for sunset and blue hour.
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 Dosoduro sestiere. 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.
Lunch can be taken with the group or on your own. 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 piazetta 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 illuminated by the low slanting light at day’s end.
Dinner in one of the many fine and off the beaten track eating establishments. We seek out the joints that the locals frequent.
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 and stealth 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 Canneregio district. The word “ghetto” is derived from Venetian Italian and this was in fact the “First Ghetto.” A sad aspect of Venetian history but an interesting place and lovely quiet campo to visit none-the-less.
We will have an early dinner in the Canneregio before making our way to the Rialto Bridge for pre-sunset shooting from the bridge.
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 blue 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 at this site at this hour. The lamp posts are still illuminated making for great starbursts at f16. No crowds, just photographers and a few late-night party goers 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 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 the 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.
Our tour ends after breakfast. Easy public transportation to both the Venice Train Station and Marco Polo Airport is available.
Dates: May 16 to 20 | 2017 (4 nights) and JUST ADDED: June 12 to 16
Cost: $2,195 | single supplement $325
Take 5% off of the total costs of any tours when you sign up for 2 or more.
This Venice photo tour is offered as a stand-alone or post-Tuscany tour extension. It is a perfect tour to include a non-photographer companion.
The only extra cost for non-photographers is $325 plus transportation cost during the tour. (The single supplement fee applies to the participant). While you are out taking great photographs, they are also having a great time exploring Venice and you meet up in the evenings to swap wonderful stories of the day’s events.
A $500 deposit will secure your spot. Click here to make your deposit »
What is included?
- 4 nights lodging
- All breakfasts
- Vaporetto pass (water bus) for all 4 day
- All entrance fees to exhibits & locations that we visit for photography
- Jim’s & 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 vaparetto stop (water bus).
For Terms & Conditions and insurance recommendations, please click here »
A perfect add-on before your Venice Tour is our photo tour in the heart of Tuscany or after your Venice Tour to Slovenia & Croatia or the Italian Dolomites.
Take 5% off of the total costs of any tours when you sign up for 2 or more.
La Bella Toscana | Tuscany Photo Tour
May 8 to 16 | 2017 (7 nights)
Slovenia & Croatia | Undiscovered Gems Photo Tour
May 21 to May 30 | 2017 (9 nights)
Personal Items and Weather Conditions
Temperature range for this time of year: 68º F but it can get very hot and humid.
Average monthly rainfall for this time of year: 2.5 ”
Try to pack light, 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. Most airlines are now charging for more than one piece of checked baggage. I love the Osprey Ozone series of lightweight wheeled luggage. Magrit used the Ozone 28 for 2.5 months on the road and found it perfect. You will appreciate the lighter load when you have to haul your luggage up steep streets or stairs.
Two pairs of shoes: One sturdy pair for in the field that you can get wet if we have a rain day. One pair for evenings.
Light weight 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. * I really suggest a rain jacket if nothing else. We have worn cut open Hefty bags as skirts and they work great when we did not have rain pants. The rain gear will keep you dry when walking in tall, wet grass. Montbell makes an excellent parka and pants that are extremely lightweight.
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 best. I have recently begun using a handsfree telescopic umbrella which I love. You can watch a video of my review at PhotographyTravelTours.
Sweater or light jacket for possible chill on early morning shoots. A light layer underneath a rain jacket can be surprisingly warm.
Hat for sun and rain protection.
For equipment recommendations, please click here »