Orta San Giulio Photo Workshop
Orta San Giulio Photo Workshop

Italy's Romantic Lakes

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.


Date: September 22-28, 2019
Days: 7 days, 6 nights
Cost: $3250/person (for early registration)
Group Size:  10 – 12
Availability: Open


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.

Day 1
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

Day 2
Workshop time in Lenno (2 hrs)
Ferry to Como’s most photogenic village, Varenna
Lunch in Varenna
Free time to explore the town
Meet to shoot the evening light together on the waterfront
Dinner on your own

Day 3
Villa Balbianello (Casino Royale filming location)
AM workshop time at hotel – Review and Critique
PM Cross the lake to visit the village of Bellagio
Field lessons and free time to fulfill assignments
Free evening in Bellagio 

Day 4
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 own

Day 5
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

Day 6
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 

Day 7
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

Date: September 22-28, 2019
7 days, 6 nights
$3250/person (for early registration)
Group size 10 – 12
Inclusive of all ground and water travel, accommodations with breakfast, 3 dinners, 2 lunches,  hands-on photographic instruction throughout along with daily on-screen reviews.

Drake Busath will lead this workshop.  Drake is the originator of Italy Workshops, and has 30 years experience living and traveling in Italy. He  will share his work and encourage you to identify and develop your own personal style while in Italy. More about Drake…

For groups over 8, a guest instructor will join us for this adventure. World-class instructors who have joined Drake in past years; Joel Addams, Randy Collier, Kevin Kubota, Tim Walden, Luigi Barbano, Dennis Hammon, Jeff Allred, Michael Taylor, Helen Yancy, Dr. Ray Ownbey, Richard Busath and others.

A Trip Manager is appointed for each workshop. This person keeps you informed at all times about schedule, travel, meal options, (bathroom locations), etc. The trip manager lets you focus on learning and is your guarantee of a safe and smooth vacation.

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
Italy Workshops
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.

Payment Schedule
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.

Single 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
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.

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. (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.

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 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 camera mechanics and fundamentals of creating proper exposure, but will also join the conversations about style development. Beginners may participate as “observers”, attending all instruction and field trips, but they are not required to submit photos for critique.

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

Classroom / Technical discussions will include:

• Fast and accurate methods for proper exposure in a wide variety of situations

• De-mystifying the features on your digital SLR camera

• Dynamic techniques for subject blur, camera motion and selective focus compositions

• Lighting for landscape, cityscape and portraiture

• Design issues: composition, balance, scale and dimension

• Content or the absence of it, and how to create images that have a powerful effect on viewers

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 use Adobe Lightroom CC for our on-screen review sessions. You will learn new Lightroom editing methods and workflow shortcuts during reviews and critique. Even if you’ve used Lightroom, we highly recommend brushing up on your skills before the workshop by watching the free tutorials available on Adobe.com.

If you are not adept at downloading and managing digital images, you might consider leaving the computer behind to just focus on learning about your camera and developing a discerning eye. You can still submit images daily for review, but you will sleep happily while the rest of the group is editing their images well into the night! (Note: Since observer participants are not required to submit photos for critique, a computer is not necessary.)