SUZANNE & JOHN JOHNSTON -Just back from Italy! We know many of you have Italy on your bucket list, but have you considered combining your love of travel, photography, food and your thirst for learning. A recent photo workshop hosted in Lucca Italy by Mark Hemmings and Jamie  Wilson ticked all those boxes for John and I. 

We are at very different levels of skill and aptitude when it comes to photography; I shoot with an iPhone and John shoots with a mirrorless camera.  All are welcome in this photo workshop. Every member of our small workshop group of six, each with varying skill levels were embraced  by Mark and Jamie and the opportunity for a wide variety of learning was provided.  The phrase that captured the essence of our experience was ‘learning as we go’!   

Lucca is a living lab for  street photography and we used the environment to our advantage.  Lucca is known for the Renaissance walls encircling the historic city centre. On our first full day there we walked around the wall so we could gain a broader perspective of the city. It really helped us to get the lay of the land.  Cobblestone streets, curved  alleyways, and lovely greenery merge to create beautiful photo opportunities. After  being there just a few days one gets a real feel for the people, the culture and their pride of place in their city. 

Blessed with just the right amount of rain to add interest to our images, we learned about capturing reflections and being more creative.  The sun created opportunities to explore shadows and silhouettes. Early evening walks afforded us the opportunity to take advantage of the incredible shop windows and back lighting to capture people going about their daily lives. 

I would be remiss if I left out the experiences we shared around  the dinner table every evening. A variety of great restaurants, all within easy reach to our fabulous hotel, offered just great food… all choices were wonderful.  I have my favourite but I am keeping it a secret. It is hard to top great food, great wine and great conversation! 

Jamie and Mark added their insights to every learning opportunity. They generously supported practice time with editing and shared stories with tips  we could integrate into our own photography. Try them out; have fun!

KIMBERLEY N. – In October of 2021, I went to Greece to take a photography class with Mr Mark Hemming. In November this year I returned to Italy to take another photography class with Mr Hemming and Mr James Wilson. I was very satisfied. I would like to thank both instructors. I would like to highly recommend both teachers to anyone studying photography. Do not hesitate to  call on my two teachers. You will have a great experience and wonderful photographs. I saw beautiful wonderful masterpieces taken by both my instructors. In addition to studying photography, the week was filled with wonderful food, an excellent hotel and warm friends. I want to thank Mr Hemming. He always helps me when I have difficulty with transportation. He is always ready to share his knowledge. In one week of study, I learned a lot. I discovered the wonderful world of photography. I had the opportunity to meet wonderful friends who shared my interest. I met wonderful people, each different, but they shared my interest in photography. I would like to thank Mr Hemming and Mr Wilson very much. I plan to take their photography courses in the future.

LYLE LANSDELL – I recently attended the Italy Photo Workshop hosted by Mark Hemmings and James Wilson.  My desire to attend was driven by a chance to learn more about photography.  Both Mark and James, professional photographers were so accommodating, and the experience was so much more than just snapping pictures.  The small group had a wide range of photography backgrounds, as well as using a variety of cameras – from iPhones to mirrorless, as well as different brands.   Mark and Jamie were extremely helpful is assisting with camera settings for all of us.  Their patient and gentle approach to assisting with composition allowed me to take some beautiful photos, that I would have missed without their assistance; and at the same time allowed me to grow and spot my own compositions.   The workshop had a wonderful pace, walking with the two professionals, never rushed, and yet there was free time to do further exploration of our locations, work on editing (with their help) or just relax.  The workshop was more than just photographs, as there were teaching opportunities for us each day, from photo editing, use of light to composition. 

The time spent with the group at dinners was very special; getting to know other people, talk about the day and just photography in general. First class – everything from accommodations to all the locations we visited, as well as meals.

I have been able to share my photos from the workshop with family and friends (again something I learned from Mark) and their responses have brought smiles to my face.  The photos are so much more than what I experienced at the workshop – they are fine art because of the skills taught by Mark and James. Thank you Mark and Jamie.

CHRISTINE MORISSETTE – Winding cobblestone lanes, slanting sun on medieval walls, chasing light at night, one-on-one photography lessons . . . this was my wonderful week in Lucca with professional photographers Mark Hemmings and James Wilson. They challenged me to become a closer observer of the world around me, and a better photographer in an amazingly beautiful setting. I don’t hesitate to recommend the Italy Photo Workshop to anyone seeking a unique and focussed photography experience.

MICHAEL RATNER – The workshop in Lucca with Jamie and Mark exceeded expectations. I have concentrated on travel photography for years but this was my first formal experience. The advantages of a small group, perfect balance of well-paced individual and group learning sessions and of course the appeal of the lovely city with delicious food, scenery, and street life. I learned a lot about composition and technique. And of course we had so much fun! I’m eager for another journey with Jamie and Mark next year.

TRACEY KESSNER – Going to Italy with James Wilson and Mark Hemmings was a delight. For one week we slept in a lovely little hotel in Lucca, Italy where the staff was extremely helpful and friendly, the food was excellent, and the location was ideal for walking around the walled city. The photography sessions were broken up into group time with walking tours and lessons on the fly and included discussions about lighting, street photography, and how to capture the essence of a scene. Lunchtime was also a midday break to allow for a bit of solo time before class resumed in the afternoon for slides and more discussion about technique with plenty of examples and Q&A. The end of each day was capped with another photo walk and delicious dinners in local restaurants. I highly recommend the Italy workshop as it’s well worth the trip. I polished up my old skills and learned new techniques. It changes how you view a scene and teaches you that great shots are ubiquitous, not just in the golden hours!