Drake & Friends
We’re a small company of friends and working photographers who have a thing for Italy. We found each other during the last 20 years over our common interest, traveling with like minded people and helping to provide learning experiences while vacationing.
We prefer to keep our groups small (6-12 people), the locations charming and the atmposphere light hearted.
We care a lot about meeting up with interesting local people and tasting regional specialties. We believe that when you’re immersed in the culture your photographs become better informed and more authentic.
A Slower and Richer Experience
22 years of photo workshops in Italy have taught us that when we slow down, we actually see more. You’ll notice that we change hotels less frequently staying longer in a region to experience it more deeply.
Photographing calmly in a few wonderful villages and landscapes produces higher quality images and more of them.
We embrace a casual “traveling with friends” approach that has appealed to more than 600 workshop participants over the years, accounting for our 70% guest return rate.
A completely selfish endeavor
Drake admits freely that he created Italy Workshops as an excuse spend quality time with friends in Italy… and to escape the vicissitudes of commercial photography, his occupation since 1980.
Having lived in Italy in his youth, Drake speaks Italian and possesses a deep affection for the country, its beauty culture and history, making him uniquely qualified to lead these photography workshops.
Over the past 22 years, Drake and has hosted hundreds of guests in Tuscany, Umbria, Venice, Liguria, Como, Dolomites, Puglia and Amalfi. Recently, he added tours in Sicily and Emilia Romagna.
What Makes Our Tours Different
- We specialize in Italy and have a deep network of contacts here
- We run our own trips, we don’t depend on travel agencies (huge)
- We unpack and stay longer in each place
- We visit lesser known and less crowded villages
- We drop in on local characters to meet and photograph
- We obsess about tasting regional cuisine and wines
Twenty years specializing in Italy’s most quaint villages, making friendships along the way is your guarantee of a more intimate and memorable experience. Read some comments from our participants.
What can I expect on the workshop?
You can expect patient, personal instruction and encouragement, with small groups sizes, averaging one instructor to each six guests. Our guest instructors are chosen for their kindness, enthusiasm and accomplishments, in that order.
You can expect to improve your eye for composition and light. That’s the mission of Italy Workshops.
You will be encouraged to make images that are personal to you. We will rarely stand together and photograph the same subject. You’ll work on developing your own personal style so you will go home with a photo collection worthy of a gallery show or book project.
Classroom time (1-2 hours/day) is designed to help you create better images each day, rather than repeating the same mistakes.
Each day you will submit a few favorite images for review and critique. While this may seem a bit intimidating at first, you will learn much faster by seeing how others capture similar circumstances.
You’ll learn sound editing methods as the instructor adds his/her thoughts to the images that come up on screen. You’ll go out to shoot every day with fresh new ideas and inspiration.
So why would anyone take a workshop without review and critique?
Classroom discussions include:
- Fast and accurate methods for proper exposure in a wide variety of situations
- Timeless landscape shooting techniques
- Street-shooting techniques for social images and photo-journalism
- Creative Motion Techniques (i.e., subject blur, camera motion and combinations of the two)
- How to find amazing light on any given day and at any hour
- Design Elements: composition, balance, scale and dimension
- Content – or the absence of it – and how to create a powerful effect on viewers
Frequently Asked Questions
Non-photographer spouses, partners or friends will have a wonderful time as well. We stay at great hotels with terrific amenities and a relaxed schedule.
Non-photographers are not waiting around for hours nor are they dragged out of bed at 4 a.m. to go to a sunrise photoshoot (unless they want to!).
Enjoying the sidewalk cafés, shopping in unique boutiques, or meandering through ancient streets are all part of the experience of being in Italy, so we include plenty of free time in our schedule.
Any camera is acceptable, including smartphones. Automation for the beginner can make the trip fun and stress-free – and even increase creativity.
Participants who are very comfortable with their computer are encouraged to bring it along. Editing your images during the week can enhance your learning experience. We currently use Adobe Lightroom CC for our on-screen reviews sessions. You will learn new LR editing methods and workflow shortcuts during classroom reviews and critique. Even if you’ve used Lightroom, we highly recommend brushing up before the workshop by watching the free tutorials available on Adobe.com.
If you are not fluent downloading and managing digital images, you might consider leaving the computer behind and just focusing on camera work. You can still submit images daily for review, and perhaps find more time to learn about your camera and develop a discerning eye. (Not to mention sleep happily while others choose to edit into the night.)
Observer Participants may be beginner photographers, attending all instruction and field trips, but not required to submit photos for critique. This is a fun way to learn without pressure. You’ll still photograph the same things and we’ll still want to review your work on the back of your camera and offer individual instruction in the field.