Do you feel you’ve gone as far with your photography as you can go but, at the same time, know there’s more? Do you feel you know most of the standard techniques but find your images still lack that certain something? Do you want to know what that something is and how to capture it? That’s what our Immersive Workshops are all about. A (truly) unique experience where we take you on a creative journey and challenge you, photographically, like you’ve never been challenged before.
Photography is visual storytelling and, on these comprehensive, culture-rich workshops, we show you, using a tried-and-tested three-step plan, how to harness what we like to call the final 2%.
In Step 1, we immerse you in the subject. In Step 2, we focus your vision on the narrative, getting you to express yourself through the camera. Lastly, in Step 3 we teach you the language of composition and show you how to make images that go beyond postcard shots to tell a compelling visual story.
Whatever your level of experience and your preferred style, by the end of the journey we guarantee to have changed the way you think about photography so you can change the way you photograph.
Secret Venice - City of LightSpring 2020
- Location: Venice, Italy
- Date: Spring 2020
- Duration: 5-days
- Leader: Simon Weir & Chris Weston
- Group Size: 6
- Room type: Boutique Twin
A truly unique workshop style – Learn the art of photographic storytelling
Immersive cultural experience – Challenge yourself and raise your skill level
Comprehensive hands-on tuition – Inspiring image reviews
Learn to “see” like a pro’ – Live Venice like a local
Be at the forefront of a photographic revolution
In Venice the light is like no other
Venice is a living, breathing work of art floating on the sea. Despite its reputation as a theme-park city, around its narrow waterways and ancient buildings remain secret hideaways and a way of life one might think had disappeared long ago. To truly “see” Venice, you must immerse yourself in living community she is, observantly explore its abundant visual history, seeking its charms that are hidden in plain sight and which, on this Immersive Workshop, will be revealed only to you.
What is an immersive workshop?
The difference between a good shot and a great shot is narrative. How often have you looked at a photograph and asked, “How did the photographer seethat?” Learning to see narrative – the story – is the most fundamental challenge in photography, yet it’s the thing we spend the least time learning. That’s why we devised Immersive Workshops – to show you, in three simple steps, how to see the world around you in a new, expanded light. We explain why starting with the narrative is so important, show you how to match equipment and settings to the story you want to tell, and reveal how composition is the glue that binds the story together. It’s what we call the Hand-Eye-Heart approach to photography – you need a good hand, an insightful eye and a creative heart, and, in this short-course workshop, we’ll teach you all three and change the way you think about photography forever.
Discovery and Visualisation
Helping with the immersive experience are our cultural guides Christina Gregorin and Monica Martin. On your first full day in Venice, you’ll be exposed to the city’s enchanting beauty, its multi-faceted history, mysterious secrets, artistic rennaisance and intriguing daily life – all of which will help you to build your own mental pictures of this beguiling city and get you excited and inspired for the challenge ahead.
The 20-Frames Challenge
Do you remember the days of manual cameras and a roll of film? Photography is so complicated these days, with multi-functional bodies, never-ending menus and cards that hold a thousand frames and more. All of which is great but, in reality, more often than not, is simply a distraction from the real purpose of photography – capturing a compelling visual story. In the 20-Frames challenge, we change the digital mindset. With an adapted, fixed-lens camera, we take the distractions away. Left with the only two controls on a camera that make a difference to the look and feel of an image – lens aperture and shutter speed – you are able to concentrate on the subject. The fixed lens forces you to move around, opening your eyes and mind to the nuances of perspective. And with a maximum of 20-frames and no playback screen or delete button, you’re going to have to think first and shoot after. We’re turning photography upside down and inside out and what you discover will truly surprise you.
Inspiring Image Reviews
The very best way to learn about building a visual story is to look at the images you take and deconstruct them, identifying the visual elements and analysing what part they play in the bigger picture. That’s the purpose of our renowned image reviews. We ask the question, What’s the story, what was the visual intent? We then ask, Does the image tell that story? If it does, we identify how. If it doesn’t, we pose ideas on how the image could have been shot differently to help it work better. And because photography is subjective, the reviews are a group exercise in which everyone can offer their ideas and opinions. This shared experience means you come out of the session informed and inspired, ready to practice your new-found skills out on the street.
At your own pace
On the final full day in Venice, you have the opportunity to take all the knowledge and ideas gleaned over the past two days and put them into practice, using your own camera and without restriction. Chris and Simon will be available to give guidance and advice, and encourage you to keep thinking about photography “the right way round”. During the evening’s image review, you’ll have a chance to show your best shots and see how much you’ve changed the way you think about photography and marvel at how your photography has changed with it.
Day 1: Arrival
On arrival into Venice airport, we’ll meet you in the arrivals hall and transfer to our boutique accomodation in the heart of Venice just a few minutes walk from the Piazza San Marco. After settling in, we’ll prepare for the following day’s activity and then head out to enjoy Venetian night life.
Day 2: Discovery and Visualisation
Today is spent exploring the beating heart of Venice with our specialist cultural guides. They will introduce you to the celebrated characters, urbanity and heritage of Venice. In the evening, we will prepare for the following day’s activity.
Day 3: 20 Frames Challenge
Prepare yourself for the greatest photographic challenge of your life! With a customised, fixed lens camera, restricted to just 20-frames, your task is to tell your personal story about Venice. Chris and Simon will be available throughout the day to coach you in the task. In the evening, there will be time to select and edit your images before we hold a detailed image review.
Day 4: At Your Own Pace - Photography
Armed with the technical, compositional and creative knowledge gleaned from the past two days, today is an opportunity to explore Venice at your own pace, with your own camera – no restrictions. In the evening, again there will be time to select and edit your images before we hold another detailed image review.
Day 5: Departure
Depending on your flight, there may be time for further photography in and around Venice before we transfer to Venice International airport.
What the trip price covers
Price includes: Airport transfers, accommodation on a B&B basis, shared twin room, services of an English-speaking cultural guide, services of two photo leaders, all photographic tuition.
Price excludes: Flights and/or transport to Venice, meals and drinks not described in the itinerary, insurance, items of a personal nature.
We do not provide travel insurance. We strongly advise you have travel insurance that includes comprehensive cover for cancellation prior to booking flights. We also advise you take out insurance to cover loss and accidental damage to photographic equipment. We do not take responsibility for any financial or equipment losses howsoever they occur.
A continental breakfast is served in the hotel dining room each morning. For lunch and dinner, like most of Italy, Venice is resplendent with good eateries. Its location, on the sea, means there’s an abundance of fish dishes, simply seasoned with olive oil, vinegar, garlic, parsley, and herbs. Other famous dishes include Risi i Bisi, Risotto and Bigoli. Our cultural guide will highlight some of the best dining experiences.