Italian Riviera | Portofino Coast & Cinque Terre
Our Italian Riviera photo workshop is set in the photo-rich Portofino Coast and the Cinque Terre. If you love the sea, this treasured stretch of the Ligurian Coast is a perfect fit.
Photographers go crazy over the fishing villages, and the brightly painted towns clinging to the rugged shoreline. Foodies love Liguria for its pesto, focaccia, seafood, olives and crisp white wines.
Our retreat-headquarters will be away from the crowds in the hidden gem of Camogli, at a seaside 4-star hotel, with a private beach and views that will make you pinch yourself.
Date: October 1-7, 2017
Days: 7 days, 6 nights
Cost: $3650 / $3250 partner
You can fly directly into Genova arriving a day early to acclimate. This is the birthplace of Christopher Columbus and boasts a historic center built by wealthy merchants who ruled this part of the Mediterranean. You can also fly into Milan, just 2 hours by train or Florence, about 3 hours away. Our recommended hotel in Genova is the Hotel Bristol Palace.
11:00 AM, meet up at the Hotel Bristol Palace in downtown Genova, and we’ll take a private coach to Camogli, our little slice of heaven by the sea for 7 days. Alternately, you can meet us in Camogli. The train station in Camogli is just a block or two from our hotel, an easy flat walk.
After a morning workshop, we’ll head south by boat along the coast, stopping at a ancient monastery Abbazia San Fruttuoso, reachable only by boat. The stone buildings in this secreted cove have transformed from monastery to a pirate’s den to a humble fishermen home before becoming the residence of Princess of Doria.
We’ll then continue to Portofino, perhaps the world’s most perfect little harbor, where the rich and famous make frequent appearances, including, yes… us. The back streets are lush with color for “street still life” images and the overlook of the harbor is a classic vista worth hiking for.
We’ll rise early and catch a train to the five colorful towns of the Cinque Terre. These charming fishing villages provide endless photography opportunities with the famous views of the cliff-clinging villages, the boat harbors, the crashing waves, and the colorful people.
Partners can decide to enjoy unstructured village time; relax at our great hotel with its pool and beach; or accompany their photographer for any – or all – group excursions.
Camogli’s harbor is a short walk from our hotel and provides the opportunity to work with slow exposure, movement and other in-camera abstraction methods we will discuss. Its cathedral rises from the sea, begging to be photographed from along the shores.
After breakfast, we’ll take a drive up into the hills of Liguria. A wonderful authentic lunch and a tiny hilltop town await us in a place undiscovered by tourists. In the afternoon, we’ll visit Sestri Levante and watch the sun go down on the Ligurian Sea.
After breakfast we’ll again review images on-screen and present new techniques. As is tradition, our final full day is left somewhat open to the whims of the group and the instructors. We may revisit one of our destinations, or take an excursion to a new one. Some may choose to just relax on the beach.
After a farewell breakfast and a brief wrap-up, we’ll say goodbye at the train station in Camogli, where we can help you get tickets north to Genova, Milan or Venice. Or head south to Pisa, Florence or Rome.
Date:October 1-7, 2017
7 days, 6 nights
$3650 / participant
$3250 / partner sharing a room
Group size 8-14
Six nights accommodations, at Hotel Cenobio dei Dogi. Breakfast each day, two dinners and one group lunch, all boat, train and car transportation during the workshop beginning in Genova and ending in Camogli, Italy. Tuition is also included with daily instruction in the field and on-screen review and critique throughout the week.
Register Early, as rooms are assigned by registration date.
Alumni Discount $100 off
Room Upgrade (ask upon registration for availability of suites or balcony rooms)
Trip insurance (recommended)
Our curriculum, refined over 18 years, is designed to help you see light and composition better. Classroom time (1-2 hour/day) is devoted to reviewing your 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 master your own equipment.
All experience levels are welcome. Our participants who are new to photography can work with any camera including smart phones. Small group instruction is tailored to help each member find their own style and and classroom reviews on-screen for those who want to submit daily. Non-photographer partners can sit in on all discussions and participate at their own level of interest. (Beginners tend to make some of the best images we see)
Drake Busath, the originator of Italy Workshops, has 30 years experience living and traveling in Italy. He speaks Italian and has guided hundreds of photographers of every skill level to favorite regions all over Italy. Drake will share his work and encourage you to identify and develop your own personal style while in Italy. More about Drake…
Workshop Assistant / Trip Manager
For full groups, a trip manager is added to the staff. This person keeps you informed at all times about the schedule and helps you find what you need when you need it, ie: bathrooms, gelato, convenience stores, etc. Having a trip manager allows the instructors to instruct full time and is your guarantee of a safe and smooth week of learning.
We make it a point to invite friends with special talents as guests on the workshops, for example we’ve been fortunate to have writer Dr. Ray Ownbey add a dimension to the trip by teaching us writing and journaling skills to go with our photographs. Other guests have included world class portrait photographers Michael Taylor, Tim Walden, travel photographer Joel Addams, software guru Kevin Kubota, landscape expert Dennis Hammon, editorial photographer Jeff Allred, night-scape specialist Royce Bair and Italian pro Luigi Barbano. You never know who you’ll be rubbing shoulders with on the next workshop!
Reserving your Spot
Please reserve early as group size is extremely limited. You can reserve your spot on our website, or by calling us at 801-364-6645. Ask for Jamie Shaw or Drake Busath. Payments may be made with Visa, MasterCard or American Express, or you may send a check.
Checks should be sent to
701 East South Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84102.
Upon payment of your deposit, we will send you an information packet including suggestions for camera equipment, computer and software, clothing and travel information specific to your workshop destination.
A reservation fee of $500 will hold your spot
50% of balance is due 120 days prior to your workshop
The balance of payment is due 60 days prior to your workshop
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, at some workshop locations for an additional supplement charge.
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
90 days prior to workshop start date 25%
45 days prior 50%
15 days prior 100%
No partial refunds will be given for unused portions of a workshop. We highly recommend that all workshop participants purchase trip cancellation insurance independently.
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. (We have never yet had to cancel a workshop.) 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.
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 renumeration.
Photographers of all skill levels are welcome.
Advanced photographers will be encouraged to focus on style development, lighting and composition, and will be challenged to work in “concentrations” to produce a collection of work suitable for a gallery showing or book project.
Novice photographers will be instructed separately at times on mechanics of the camera and fundamentals of creating proper exposure, but will also join the conversations about style development.
Any camera is acceptable, including smart phones. 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 calcite 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 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.