Italy's Romantic Lakes

Photo Workshop with Drake Busath

Italy's Romantic Lakes

Photo Workshop with Drake Busath



Lake Como | Italy’s Romantic Lakes

Lake Como | Italy’s Romantic Lakes

7 days, 6 Nights      8-12 Guests     From $4350       May 15-21, 2023

VENICE EXTENSION May 21-24, 2023


Experience romantic Lake Como, Lake Maggiore and Lake Orta where artists and royalty have vacationed for inspiration since medieval times. This workshop is a favorite of our regular workshop attendees. Spilling from the Italian Alps, these freshwater lakes are dotted with quaint villages that blend Italian and Swiss history. As a photographer, there’s no richer place to make images.

We’ll begin with 3 luscious nights on famous Lake Como, exploring and photographing its small villages and spectacular villas. Our next 4 days are spent in one of Italy’s best-kept secrets, the village of Orta San Giulio on picture-perfect Lago d’Orta.

Romantic Lakes Photo Tour Itinerary Map

Pre-Workshop: We recommend you spend one night on your own in the city of Como, less than an hour from Milan Malpensa airport. Contact us for hotel recommendations in Como.

Enjoy this small city at the southern tip of Lake Como with its spectacular open market. Take a funicular ride up the mountain for an overview of the lake.

Tour Itinerary

Italian Lakes Photo Workshop Day 1 Lake Como Drake Busath

Day 1 | Como

12:00 noon, meet in the elegant town of Como

Travel by ferry up the lake to our hotel in the quiet village of Lenno

Check in, stroll the waterfront

Welcome dinner together

Italian Lakes Photo Workshop Day 2 in Varenna

Day 2 | Varenna

Workshop in Lenno (2 hours).

Ferry to Como’s most photogenic village, Varenna.

Lunch and free time to explore Varenna.

Meet to shoot the evening light together on the waterfront.

Dinner on your own.

Italian Lakes Photo Workshop Day 3 in Villa Balbianello and Bellagio

Day 3 | Bellagio

Villa Balbianello (Casino Royale filming location).

Workshop review and critique at our hotel.

Cross the lake to visit the village of Bellagio in the afternoon.

Field lessons and free time to fulfill assignments.

Free evening in Bellagio.

Italian Lakes Photo Workshop Day 4 in Orta San Giulio

Day 4 | Orta San Giulio

Early-light group shoot (optional).

Transfer by ferry and private coach with lunch along the way.

Arrive Orta San Giulio.

Check in at our charming hotel in the heart of Orta; a one-time residence of royalty, Orta is called Little Venice because of its serene piazza on the water (no cars allowed).

Waterfront shoot on the piazza in Orta.

Free time and dinner on your own.

Italian Lakes Photo Workshop Day 5 Tour Lake Orta and San Giulio

Day 5 | Lake Orta

Workshop: Image review and lessons (2 hours).

Tour Lake Orta by private boat, stopping along the way to photograph villas and the towns from the water.

Visit the peaceful convent island of San Giulio.

Optional hike up the hill to the Franciscan chapels and dramatic lake and mountain views.

Dinner on your own at one of Orta’s quaint restaurants.

Italian Lakes Photo Workshop Day 6 Drake Busath

Day 6 | Lake Orta

Early-light group shoot and field lesson.

Image review and critique at our hotel.

This last day is left open to the whims of the group and its leaders; depending on the weather and everyone’s interest, an excursion can be organized, however, most often our groups vote for another day in paradise on Lake Orta.

Group dinner in Orta.

Italian Lakes Photo Workshop Day 7 Drake Busath

Day 7 | Wrap-up

Farewell breakfast.

Workshop wrap-up and slideshow.

Check out, transfer by private coach to Milan.

Drop-off at Milano Malpensa airport.

Optional drop-off at Garibaldi Train Station in Milan.

The Workshop

After 21 years of photography workshops in Italy, our curriculum has been tweaked and pruned to offer the essential tools you need to succeed.  Classroom and field discussions are carefully planned with printed materials to help you remember what you learned. In the field, we will work side by side with you as you create great images and help you to master the techniques we’ve demonstrated in the classroom.

This is more than a run-and-gun photo tour, it’s a careful learning experience and a vacation that promises to improve your life.

Workshop Sessions

Classroom time (one-hour sessions) is devoted to reviewing your daily images on-screen and offering helpful suggestions. In the field, our discussions center around better composition and finding great light. And of course, answering your technical questions and helping you master your own equipment.

One on One Workshop Training

Randy Collier Italy WorkshopsWorkshop Leader

Randy Collier, longtime instructor at Italy Workshops, will lead this workshop.  Randy is a partner in Earthlight Galleries in Park City, UT, and has worked as a professional photographer for over 30 years.

He is known for his deep knowledge of Photoshop and Lightroom and privately tutors photographers all across the US.  Randy is also renowned for his patience,  kindness and good humor.   More about Randy

Mauro Riva, Director of Operations Italy Workshops

Mauro Riva, Italy Workshops

Tour Producer / Guide

Mauro Riva is a professional guide in Italy, native of the Dolomite mountains, north of Venice.  He will travel with us all week, sharing his insights about the Lakes region, its culture, history and food.

As a photographer himself, Mauro understands your needs.  He’ll get you to the right places in the best possible light.

Mauro serves as Director of Operations for Italy Workshops.  Having him on our team allows our instructor to focus on the curriculum instead of chasing down travel logistics. This is your guarantee of a safe and smooth week of learning.


Trip Manager

A trip manager accompanies each group with 8 guests or more. This person anticipates all our travel needs as a group (i.e., restaurant reservations, ferry tickets, gelato, snacks for your room, etc.).

An experienced trip manager allows the instructor to instruct full-time instead of chasing down logistics. This is your guarantee of a safe and smooth week of learning.

Special Guest Instructor

We make it a point to invite friends with special talents as guests on the workshops, so you never know who you’ll be rubbing shoulders with.

World-class photographers who have joined us include landscape specialist and gallery owner Randy Collier, portraitists Michael Taylor and Tim Walden, editing software guru Kevin Kubota, landscape and wildlife expert Dennis Hammon, editorial photographer Jeff Allred, nightscape specialist Royce Bair, Italian pro Luigi Barbano and writer Dr. Ray Ownbey.

Ask if there will be a special guest attending your workshop.

Office and Registration

Italy Workshops offices are located in Salt Lake City, UT in the historic downtown mansion of Busath Studio & Gardens.  Please feel free to stop in and visit.

We are open and reachable by phone Tues-Friday 10AM to 6PM MST.  801-364-6645

Sheryl Bird handles all registrations from her office in Boston, MA.  Sheryl is reachable by email at

Frequently Asked Questions

What Type of Camera Should I Bring?

Any camera is acceptable, including smartphones. Automation for the beginner can make the trip fun and stress-free and, at times, increase creativity.

Should I Bring a Computer

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

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 are editing 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.

All Skill Levels Are Welcome

Beginner and Intermediate Photographers

We enjoy helping you master those buttons and menus on your camera! Short, daily field lessons will tackle one technique at time. Further individual attention in the field helps you lock in the concepts.

Any camera is welcome (yes, even smartphones!).

Non-photographer partners are welcome to sit in on all discussions and participate at their own level of interest. (Beginners often make some of the best images we see!)

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“I learned as much in a week with you two as I learned in two semesters of photography classes.” Read More

-Jeri Petersen | Tuscany

Advanced Photographers

As an advanced photographer you’ll be encouraged to:

  1. Build your portfolio, adding strong images every single day of the trip.
  2. Focus on style development, lighting and composition.
  3. Work in “concentrations” to produce a collection of work suitable for a gallery showing or book project.

You will return home with a body of work suitable for a gallery showing or book project that will express your personal style, as opposed to a random collection of travel photos.

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” I was delighted to end the week with not only hundreds of excellent images but nine new friends as well.” Read More

– Jim Pierotti CRA, 30 yr. pro photographer | Tuscany

Italy’s Romantic Lakes Photo Workshop Reviews

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“Every detail is thought of when you travel with Drake and his team! The accommodations, food, transportation, communication and tour sites were all fantastic. “ Read More

– Amy Hansen | Salt Lake City, UT

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“I felt we were truly blessed with amazing workshop staff. Drake and Joel are gifted photographers who spent every waking moment looking for good places for us to shoot as well as giving us individual attention when we were out in the field. “ Read More

-Bonnie White | Salt Lake City, UT

Italy’s Romantic Lakes Photo Workshop Dates

Romantic Lakes |  May 15-21, 2023

Meet:  Como, Italy*
Depart: Milan, Italy
Tour Group Size: 8-12 People


$4350 / Participant (double occupancy)
$450 / Single supplement private room
4 days, 3 nights May 21-24, 2023
$1950 / Participant (double occupancy)
$350 / Single Supplement for private room

* This trip starts in Como, Italy, and ends in Milan, Italy. You can arrive in any major Italian city, but Milan is recommended. 



All ground and water travel is included.


Accommodations are included.


All breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 3 dinners.


Workshop tuition, including instruction in the field throughout the week and daily on-screen reviews.

Not Included:

  • Airfare
  • Trip insurance (recommended)

*Also not included are crowds of tourists, slow moving tour guides and lectures on the history of plague 🙂

Payment Schedule

  • A reservation fee of $500/person will hold your spot
  • The balance of payment is due 120 days prior to your workshop/tour

Hotel Rooms

We use hotels rated 3 or 4 stars, always with private bath. Rooms are assigned in order of reservations received, so early signup is recommended. Ask about premium rooms if you would like to upgrade for an additional supplement charge.

Single Private Room Supplements

Fees are based on double occupancy. Single supplement may be added for participants who wish to have a private room to themselves. Supplements vary depending on the hotels used.  If you are traveling alone and wish to share a room with another participant, please let us know and we’ll do our best to match you with a roommate.

Cancellation fee schedule 

  • There is no charge for cancellation within ten days of booking your workshop.
  • After ten days, reservation fees are non-refundable but may be applied to a future workshop event.
  • Cancellations less than 90 days prior to workshop incur a cancellation fee of 25% of the total workshop cost.
  • Cancellations less than 45 days prior to workshop incur a cancellation fee of 50% of the total workshop cost.
  • Cancellations less than 15 days prior to workshop incur a cancellation fee of 75% of the total workshop cost.
  • No partial refunds will be given for unused portions of a workshop.

Travel Insurance

We strongly recommend that you purchase travel  insurance to protect your investment.  Travel Guard is a good place to start shopping for trip insurance.  You can get a free quote online.

Cancelled Workshops

Italy Workshops reserves the right to cancel any trip for any reason whatsoever, including insufficient signup, logistical problems that may impede a workshop, hotel closures or acts of God.

Refund of all fees paid shall release Italy Workshops from any further liability. Italy Workshops is not responsible for any expenses incurred by workshop participants in preparing for a cancelled workshop. In the case of insufficient signup to make a workshop feasible, notice and refund will be sent 120 days prior to the workshop.

Photographic Release

Italy Workshops reserves the right to photograph and film its trips in entirety. Participants should be aware that images of them may be used for promotional purposes or joint marketing efforts with third parties, without remuneration.

Reserve Your Workshop Experience Today

Group sizes are extremely limited. Please reserve early.

You can reserve your spot by filling out the form below,
or by calling us at 801-364-6645

Hold My Spot

    How many people in your party?

    An invoice will be sent to your email for $500/person reservation fee.