Welcome to Italy!


Location: Lucca, Barga & Florence
Date: November 8-15, 2023
Price: $4,995 USD
Skill Level: All skill levels, all cameras

Contact: studio@jameswilson.ca James Wilson

LUCCA, Our Home Base
If you haven’t heard of Lucca, and wonder why we chose this location for our workshop home base, we can understand. Florence, Siena and Pisa are usually the household names when the discussion of Tuscany comes up. Lucca however is a hidden gem. It still retains its Renaissance-era fortified wall that circles the town, which no doubt kept its undeniable charm intact all of these years. Italy is the fashion capital of the world and in Lucca there are so many beautiful vintage clothing stores for both women and men.  The art of window display is still alive and well, and shop owners often change the windows weekly.  Most days you will have time between 12:00 and 2:00 to explore Lucca’s narrow streets and shops full of leather goods and clothing.

On the Lucca wall that surrounds the city

The Location:
The requirement for any of our workshop destinations is that they be stunningly beautiful, they offer our guests world-class food, the accommodations are unique and comfortable, and of course, that they offer ample opportunities to learn and practice photography! Lucca will be our home base for this photo workshop, and we know that you will not be disappointed!

The incomparable mountain town of Barga

BARGA: World-Class Views
Barga is one of the most scenic and beautiful Tuscan mountain towns that we have ever seen! Every street has a photograph. We will help you interpret the city using your own visual style and photographic “voice”. Our goal is to help you see tourist sites and get beyond standard documentary shots, and into fine art imagery.

Many of our past workshop participants have also wanted training in post processing software such as Lightroom and Photoshop. Your Barga photos can serve as sample images for the times set aside for photo editing. You will have individual attention given to you throughout the workshop by both James and Mark to help you with any questions that you may have. This includes photo editing, photographic workflows, best practices for taking photos, artistic and also technical considerations, and for those who desire it, video lessons with Mark.

Ponte Vecchio, one of the many Florence photo opportunities

FLORENCE: Brilliant History
Florence is a cultural heavyweight and of course a photographer’s dream location. Yes, the iconic locations such as Ponte Vecchio get photographed ad nauseam, however we have techniques to share with you to add a fine art touch to even normal tourist scenes.

While in Florence we’ll photograph the highlights, but in a way that’s unique and creative. The best part is that the skills you gain will be applicable to your photography after you return home! It’s our goal to give you the tools needed to creatively photograph in ANY location. If you have never been to Florence, you no doubt have heard about it from friends or family who have experienced it. The photographs that you come back home with will be a great highlight in your collection!

Workshop leaders James Wilson & Mark Hemmings

SAMPLE ITINERARY (Exact itinerary will be confirmed mid-2023 when our in-country travel partners have solidified our travel logistics).

Please arrive in Lucca today! After we all check in to our hotel we will head out for dinner. During our delicious Tuscan meal we will get to know each other, and also discuss the upcoming week, and what to expect. We will do some night photography along the streets after the meal, and then enjoy a comfortable sleep in our fabulous little boutique hotel located inside the walled city.

After a wonderful breakfast (our hotel’s breakfasts are amazing!) we will head out for a tour of Lucca. This photo walk will be at a relaxed pace as we want each participant to feel that they have the time to photograph and not feel rushed. While we are doing the photo walk which includes the famous Lucca tower, James and Mark will be helping each participant with photo opportunities and how to best capture the scenes that are in front of their lenses. Lunch is free time! At 2 pm please meet back at the hotel for our practical lesson from Mark on professionally editing photos, and James will speak on “Seeing the Light”. After the lesson is a siesta break until Magic Hour. When the light starts to get low we will all head out into the town for a brilliant photo walk capturing the rich, warm light of an Italian city. When it gets dark we will go straight to an excellent restaurant for a perfect Italian meal!

Today is our day trip to Barga! We will depart after breakfast, and come back home mid-afternoon. Today is all about capturing tourist destinations in creative and artistic ways.  When we get back to our hotel in Lucca we will have another instructional slide show presentation from Mark and James.

Today is our Lucca exploration day circling the city on the upper wall. For those who are inclined to bring tripods this is a fantastic day to bring them along. We will also be doing night photography where tripods will be useful.

In the morning we will again explore the narrow sheets of Lucca with emphasis on human interest photos and architecture.  After lunch a field trip out into the Tuscan countryside to photograph landscapes and possibly a vineyard tour with wine sampling.

Today is our second day trip, this time to Florence by train. Similar to Pisa, we will depart after breakfast, and come back home in the afternoon. When we meet our guide we will walk through Florence photographing the best of the city. Photographing the Vecchio bridge will be a major stop, and of course all of the winding streets and alleyways making their way to the Duomo.

After breakfast Mark and James will be doing his second lesson on post production photo editing, and then it’s time for our group editing session. James and Mark will be working with each participant answering any editing questions that they may have. The goal for each participant is to edit their five favorite photos from the past week, and also any “fun” pictures of the group enjoying the trip. Lunch time is free time, and we will all meet back at the hotel for 2pm where Mark will collect each participants photos, and he will prepare them for this evening’s slide show party! But don’t worry, this is not a competition or a critique session . . . we just like to have an end-of-workshop slideshow party, seeing how each person interpreted Italy. After Mark has all of the photos in his computer, he will create the slideshow while James takes the participants on a cultural walk. After an early dinner we will all meet back at the hotel and begin our slideshow party.

Today is the day that we return home. Those who have decided to stay on for a few more days, this will be an opportunity for you to practice what you’ve learned. Always feel free to ask Mark and James for help as we will be staying in Lucca longer as well. Thank you so much for joining us on this Italy Photo Workshop! We hope you got a lot out of the experience, and we hope to see you again on a future photo workshop.