"The lush green fields and rolling hills of Tuscany are one of landscape photography’s most iconic scenes. The area around Val d’Orcia has attracted photographers and artists for years and it’s easy to see why. Mist filled valleys and cypress tree-lined roads are everywhere you look, picturesque hilltop towns and vineyards, Tuscany is a beautiful landscape that you can’t help but be seduced by."
Starts: May 4, 2019
Ends: May 9, 2019
NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS
* price based on single person sharing. Enquire for single room supplement
May is the peak time to visit when the grass is at it’s most lush, the fields have yet to be cut, and the countryside is bursting with wildflowers. At dawn mist regularly fills the deep valleys creating a dreamy landscape that’s incredibly photogenic. We base our workshop in the beautiful medieval town of San Quirico d’Orcia, just a few minutes drive from some of the areas most iconic scenes like Cappella di Vitaleta and the famous Cypress trees, while the Belvedere farmhouse can be photographed from a wonderful vantage point within the hotel grounds. But there’s much more to the area than these well known locations and everywhere you look, particularly in the warm low light of sunrise or sunset, will inspire and fire your creativity.
All our workshops are designed to ensure that you can focus on photography while we take care of everything else. Airport transfers, ideally located and comfortable accommodation as well as all meals are all part of the package, and of course the tour is structured to maximize your opportunities to get great images whilst
improving your skills as a photographer. We use all our experience and knowledge to get you to some of Tuscany’s most beautiful locations in the best light, and in the field we’re on hand to provide as much support, advice or guidance as you want. Having three professional photography guides helps us to ensure that each participant gets plenty of one-to-one tuition and allows us to better tailor each session to your needs. Because of this we can accept range of experience levels from beginners to professionals and comfortably cater to each.
This is a standard overview but it’s flexible and which day we visit each particular location will be decided depending on the weather and conditions. We will however ensure that we visit all of the locations listed below. At this time of year sunrise is before 6h and sunset around 20h30 so we try to build in periods of rest throughout the day to ensure people can stay as fresh as possible throughout the course of the workshop.
Day 1 (MAY 4)
We’ll pick you up at Florence SMN station and transfer to our hotel in San Quirico d’Orcia
Welcome drinks in the hotel while and then we’ll head straight out to shoot the last light of day and sunset at one of the nearby locations, perhaps the cypress trees or a poppy field overlooking Val d’Orcia. Afterwards we’ll head into town to get to know each other better over dinner at one of our favourite trattorias.
Day 2 (MAY 5)
5h – 7h30
Sunrise shoot in Val d’Orcia; Belvedere farmhouse, Cappella di Vitaleta or the Terrepille fields. We’ll set off around 5h to make sure we’ve got plenty of time to set up and find a great composition before the best light. Hopefully the valley will be covered in mist
After a proper breakfast and a rest in the hotel we’ll head to one of the medieval towns to explore the atmospheric streets before having lunch in a local restaurant where you’re invited to try the famous Brunello di Montalcino wine.
Relax back in the hotel followed by a post-processing session. Looking at getting the best from the images we took in the sunrise session early in the day. Our post-processing sessions will be tailored to suit the differing levels and requirements of our clients and can range from Lightroom basics through to Photoshop Luminosity Masks and more advanced techniques.
We’ll head out to the location of our sunset shoot, the winding cypress tree-lined roads of Crete Senesi in the Val d’Asso. Back in San Quirico we’ll have dinner near our hotel and sample more of the amazing food of the region.
Day 3 (MAY 6)
5h – 7h30
Sunrise shoot in Val d’Orcia at a different location from the previous day; Belvedere farmhouse, Cappella Vitaleta or the Terrepille fields. Once again we’ll set off around 5h to make sure we’ve got plenty of time to set up and find a great composition before the best light before heading back to our hotel for a well-deserved breakfast at 7h30. Because of the late nights and early starts we’ll always follow breakfast with an hour or so break to allow people to get a little more rest.
Our second post-processing session. Looking at getting the best from the images we took in the sunrise session early in the day and sunset last night. Once again, this will be tailored to your needs.
After lunch in town we’ll make a choice on what to do depending on the weather. We may head out for a walk around one of the local medieval towns like San Quirico, Montalcino, Pienza or Sorano, or alternatively we might head out into Val d’Orcia to explore new locations or visit well known ones like the tree lined road of La Foce.
We’ll head out for our sunset shoot at one of the many beautiful locations nearby. We might visit the cypress trees just outside San Quirico d’Orcia which is an interesting area and worth taking the time to explore a little before settling on which composition to shoot when the light is at its peak. Alternatively we might choose to head to Cappella di Vitaleta to shoot it up close from the cereal fields in front.
Day 4 (MAY 7)
5h – 7h30
Sunrise shoot in Val d’Orcia at a different location from the previous days; Belvedere farmhouse, Cappella di Vitaleta or the Terrepille fields. Once again we’ll set off around 5h to make sure we’ve got plenty of time to set up and find a great composition before the best light.
After breakfast we’ll again evaluate the weather before deciding where to spend the morning. Street photography in one of the local medieval towns like Montalcino, Pienza or Sorano is a possibility or hunting for flower fields and interesting locations in the surrounding countryside.
After another lunch of fantastic local food we’ll spend some time in the hotel in a comment and critique session. We’ll look at what makes some images work and review some of the images we’ve taken so far during the workshop.
As on previous days we’ll evaluate the weather and make a decision on where to go for our golden hour and sunset shoot. We’re very close to a number of incredibly photogenic locations, some not so well known like the small stand of four cypress trees surrounding a cross in the middle of a cereal field.
Day 5 (MAY 8)
Our fourth sunrise session gives us the opportunity to repeat one of the nearby locations if we didn’t get ideal conditions the first time, or head out into the beautiful countryside around San Quirico to try something new – there’s so much to shoot here and the possibilities are endless.
After breakfast we’ll again evaluate the weather before deciding where to spend the morning. Perhaps a visit to the hot springs in the neighbouring village of Bagno Vignoni or some street photography in one of the other local medieval towns
Relax back in the hotel followed by our final post-processing and comment and critique session. We’ll look at getting the best from the images we’ve taken so far on the trip and putting what we’ve learned into practice.
For our final evening session we’ll head out again to the fields around San Quirico. Depending on conditions and where we’ve shot on previous evenings we'll decide on where's the best place to capture the day's last light. Afterwards we’ll head back into town for final dinner together.
Day 6 (MAY 9)
5h – 7h30
We’ll make the last sunrise shoot optional. Our hotel is located overlooking Val d’Orcia and there’s a great view of the Belvedere farmhouse from within the hotel grounds. We'll meet here to capture this wonderful vista one last time and afterwards enjoy a final breakfast together in the hotel.
We’ll check out of the hotel and then set off to Florence where we’ll drop you off at station at around midday.
What We Do
AND WHAT WE WANT YOU TO GET FROM OUR WORKSHOPS
Our aim is to take you to beautiful locations and give you every opportunity to get great images while improving your technique over the course of the workshop. From the beginning of your time with us we’ll aim to identify your photographic level and what you’d like to focus on, which combined with having three professional photography tutors allows us to tailor the workshop to your precise needs and provide each participant with plenty of one-to-one tuition both in the field and in the post processing sessions.
We also believe that having two shooting sessions a day means that participants get into a shooting rhythm and can quickly put into practice new skills as they are learned. We carefully select the dates of our workshops to try and make sure we are in each location at the best time of year. In Tuscany for example early spring means that the grass has not yet had chance to grow and many of the fields can look a little bare, whilst once we get into June the summer heat starts to turn the grass yellow and many of the fields are harvested. Early May gives us the best chance to capture lush green grasses across the hills and a temperature differential between warm days and cold nights which allows mist to form in the valleys.
Our timetable is highly flexible and having a number of fantastic locations all very close to each other means we can adapt to the weather and go where the conditions are best for shooting. This adaptability also extends to the post processing sessions. We believe that editing is an integral part of getting the absolute best out of an image but we understand that the range of participant’s skill levels and familiarity with post processing techniques varies greatly. Because of this we once again make the most of having three tutors to provide editing sessions in the afternoon that can potentially range from the basics of editing a RAW file in programs like Lightroom to more complex techniques like using layers and luminosity masks in Photoshop.
Finally, we want to bring you the very best of the place, not only in taking you to stunning locations for photography, but also in introducing you to some of the best food and drink the region has to offer because after all, travel isn’t only about photography. Food is a vital part of any trip to Tuscany, and eating with friends, sharing stories and a bottle of wine is an essential part of our workshops. We aim to make your experience here in the beautiful landscape of Tuscany a memorable one and a trip from which, as well as getting some great images from amazing locations, you’ll also enjoy great food and great company in a very special place.
What to bring
A dSLR or mirrorless camera
The criteria for the kind of work we’ll be doing is a camera that can be operated completely manually to ensure we get the best exposure with interchangeable lenses allowing us to cover a range of focal lengths
A wide angle lens
For some of the locations a wide angle lens really is essential if you want to get those epic landscapes that have the long grass right up in the foreground leading into the rolling fields and the sky in the background. 16mm or 17mm on a full frame camera (10mm or 12mm on an APS-C sensor camera) is ideal, but anything below 24mm (16mm on a crop frame sensor) should be OK
A telephoto lens
Tuscany is a place where we’ll often find ourselves on a hill shooting with a telephoto lens at a scene across the valley. A telephoto also compresses the landscape and is great for shooting misty scenes. A telephoto zoom that covers 70-200mm (55-135mm on a crop sensor) is perfect.
A mid-range zoom lens
While these lenses are often the least useful for shooting landscapes, for the kind of locations we’ll be encountering in Tuscany there may be a couple of occasions when the zooms listed above are too wide or too long, and a mid-range zoom in the 24-70mm (18-55mm on a crop sensor) is perfect.
We’ll often be shooting in low light so a tripod is an absolutely essential piece of equipment.
A cable release
This allows us to trip the camera shutter without touching the camera, which can cause movement blur during longer exposures.
Comfortable waterproof walking boots
While we won’t be doing any long hikes we’ll certainly be doing some walking over uneven ground, andin the sunrise sessions we’ll often find ourselves standing in long grass which is wet from overnight dew.
Windproof jacket and warm top
It’s a little chilly early in the morning before the sun has come up, so a windproof and waterproof outer shell jacket over a warm top will help keep you comfortable.
When moving your camera gear for any length of time a backpack can really save your back. A good backpack, one with sturdy hip straps, can safely distribute the weight of your gear and really save you from aches, pains and potential injury.
Laptop with Adobe Lightroom or Camera RAW and Photoshop
We’ll be shooting RAW, and as part of each day will be dedicated to post processing images a good RAW converter like Adobe Lightroom or Camera RAW is essential. Other converters like Capture One are also fine. Adobe Photoshop is great for more advanced processing as it allows us to be much more subtle and creative in it’s use of layers.
If you have any questions about what to bring, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Request a booking
Beginner, amateur, enthusiast and semi-pro photographers
Small amounts of walking. Tuscany is gentle landscape and almost all of the locations are accessible by car.
- Landscape photography and shooting in attractive medieval towns
- Three professional photographers & guides who know the area
- Local transportation to and from the locations
- Post-processing workshops in Lightroom and Photoshop
- All accommodation in local hotel
- All meals provided
- Pick up/drop off from Florence SMN station
- Air fares
Field Techniques covered
- Understanding the light and choosing the best exposure
- Composition. Balance and harmony, leading lines and creating depth
- Lens choice. From the wide angle vista to shooting landscape abstracts with a telephoto lens
- Photographing mist and creating layers
- Shooting multiple image panoramas
- Controlling light in scenes with a wide dynamic range using graduated neutral density filters and/or multiple exposures
- Shooting medieval streets and architecture
Processing Techniques covered
- Using Lightroom to apply contrast
- Using Photoshop layers to build up image adjustments
- Photoshop masks for local adjustments
- Using luminosity masks in Photoshop
- Different techniques for blending multiple exposures of the same image
- Using Nik Color Efex Pro and Adobe Camera Raw on Photoshop layers
- Stitching multiple panoramas together
- Sharpening images