Venice Carnival 2020 Feb 18 – 23
Carnival! The word conjures up excitement, intrigue and mystery. Beautiful and romantic Venice displays her spectacular pageantry, rich history and visual delights during the weeks that lead up to Lent. Venice invented Carnival in 1100s where commoners wearing masks to guarantee their anonymity could interact with nobility. Since then, Carnival has grown to include elaborate masks and costumes, many hand made by the participants from around the world. Bobbi Lane and Lee Varis, Fuji-X Photographers, are hosting the Venice Carnival Photo Tour for a six day event that includes photographing the amazing costumes and an exploration of this gorgeous city.It’s an extraordinary event, and we will help you capture the fun and revelry along with the rich architecture and the splendid light.
This is Bobbi’s 9th and Lee’s 6th time photographing Venice Carnival and we have made many friendships with the top models with their elaborate costumes. We arrange private shoots with the costumers, including the opportunity to photograph them in a gondola. Lighting is of great importance, and we provide extensive instruction in both natural lighting, and working with flash. This is essential for the dawn shoots of costumers at St. Mark’s Square, combining flash with the background to create stunning and magical effects.
Of course we explore the gorgeous city with its winding canals, beautiful bridges like the Rialto, secret streets and unique architecture. We visit some of the historic buildings such as La Fenice and Scala Contarini. We shoot sometimes at dawn and sometimes at dusk to capture the magic and the light. Getting lost can result in some great options, too!
We take the boat to Burano, the colorful island, filled with brightly colored buildings and warm and friendly residents. It’s a great place to shoot both people and places and the details of their world famous lace.
Of course, the cafes, the food, the wine are all fantastic and a culinary delight! We know wonderful restaurants that fit into a variety of price ranges and they are all delicious.
For my own photography goals, I wanted to get out of my comfort zone of landscape/cityscapes and gain some experience with lighting and photographing people. Besides the stunning costumes, Carnevale is an ideal time to experiment with posed and environmental portraits because the costumers want to have their picture taken. Most are happy to model and pose for a simple promise of emailed photos, of which I sent to dozens after the trip.
I visited with world-class (and Boston-based) image makers, Bobbi Lane and Lee Varis, whom I first met years ago through the Boston Camera Club when Bobbi was a judge there. This was Bobbi and Lee’s eighth year at Carnevale, and I would highly recommend taking advantage of their deep experience and connections.
For all levels of photographers I cannot recommend this trip highly enough. In addition to hands on instruction to make the greatest images ever, Bobbi and Lee safely shepherd you to the best locations with the highest levels of professionalism and enthusiasm. I loved this trip so much, that I joined them year after year knowing that they would come up with even more amazing ideas and locales. They are flexible and encourage everyone, even the non photographers !! For anyone at any level of photography skills, this is the perfect opportunity to hone your portrait and lighting techniques within a very supportive and well-designed itinerary. This is the trip of a lifetime with two of the most innovative and experienced photography and expert post- processing professionals. You will come home with incredible images from a magical city during amazing Carnivale. Lee and Bobbi will ensure your safety and comfort and improve your expertise beyond your expectations.
Attending Bobbi and Lee’s Venice Carnival photo tour in 2019 was an experience well beyond my expectations. Venice itself was an all-time favorite travel destination; so rich with history, so unique, so much beautiful and boundless character. The event of carnival is almost impossible to comprehend. It’s extensive and elaborate and so incredibly festive and energetic. While Bobbi introduced our outing as “a tour, not a workshop”, she and Lee were more than generous in providing assistance and critique, and in getting the group in the right places at the right times to make some amazing photos. They absolutely know where the action is at carnival! It was so stimulating; a true feeding frenzy for photography enthusiasts. I was completely overwhelmed with the quality and quantity of unbelievable costumes at this event — it has to be experienced to be appreciated. In addition to the festivities of carnival itself, the tour provided models for private shooting opportunities complete with lessons on lighting. They took us to nearby Burano to photograph this colorful city and its people, and to Murano to tour inside an operating glass blowing facility. We enjoyed great food, went on a gondola ride in the canals — there was nothing left undone at the end of the tour. The agenda was very full and very rewarding. The photos I returned with are incredible, and I will forever be grateful to Bobbi and Lee for their part in making this such a memorable experience. I couldn’t speak more highly of them, or of this fantastic adventure. To anyone on the fence about going to carnival with Bobbi and Lee, I say jump off that fence at once and get signed up. I guarantee you’ll be happy that you did!
Click Here to read more testimonials
The Schedule is subject to change at any time due to weather or other circumstances. We have found it’s best to stay fluid in Venice and take advantage of opportunities as they arise. There is no guarantee of events happening on certain days.
Tuesday Feb. 18
4 pm Meet and Greet at hotel. This is the opportunity to get to know you fellow photographers and make some lasting friendships! After giving an overview of the tour, we will show some images and talk about lighting with natural and flash. Please bring your camera and flash to the meeting! After a short break, we will go to a local restaurant for our Welcome Dinner!
Wed. Feb. 19
Option: Dawn shoot at San Marco Plaza
After a good night’s sleep, we commence on a walking tour that takes us over the Rialto Bridge to St. Mark’s Square and the Doge’s Palace. We walk by the Gondola Parking Lot, and have a visit at La Fenice, the Venice Opera House, with its amazing architecture and history. From there it’s short walk to Scala Contarini, the building with the circular staircase and views of Venice. Stop for lunch at local cafes.
Afternoon we meet for lighting lessons including finding the natural light, use of reflectors and practicing with flash on camera and modifiers. As we practice these technique, we will make our way to San Salute, the spectacular “Plague Church” filled with Titian and Tintoretto paintings. A short walk brings us to the Academia Bridge for sunset with views of the Grand Canal and San Salute.
Thursday Feb. 20
Option: Dawn shoot at San Marco Plaza
Boat ride to Burano, the colorful island. A small island of brightly painted buildings is a must see on any visit to Venice. It’s about a 45 minute boat ride after a 20 minute walk. We spend the morning there exploring, meeting people, photographing people, and colors and details. And we know a great café with coffee and snacks! It’s a wonderful place to wander down little streets and photograph the quaint but vibrant houses!
After lunch at local cafes, we meet up with our first private costume shoot. We will be focusing on using flash off-camera, and balancing flash to ambient. There are some great natural light locations, too.
Dinner is on your own and we meet back at the hotel for our first critique. Don’t worry, we will be helpful about how to make your images better by discussion composition, content, lighting, framing and more. It’s important to get feedback to help you make stronger photos and you learn from others, too.
Friday Feb. 21
Option: Dawn shoot at San Marco Plaza
Late morning, early afternoon we will shoot with a couple of costumers in a gondola. We will take turns with two people at a time in the gondola with them, ½ hour each. Fabulous opportunity!
Afternoon off to shop, take your own gondola ride, nap, wander the streets and explore the city, whatever!
Twilight shoot at St. Giorgio Island. St. Giorgio is across the Grand Canal from the Plaza. It’s an impressive piece of architecture, and on Friday evenings, many of the costumers are available to shoot on the plaza, in front of the church.
Sat. Feb. 22
Dawn Shoot at San Marco Plaza
We will have arranged to meet costumers and we will do some advanced lighting techniques. Everyone will get to shoot the models in a stunning environment with beautiful lights.
Late morning Lightroom class in hotel. This is a chance to brush up on some techniques to enhance your images, taught by the Adobe Guru, Lee! He will do demos and then we will help you individually on your own images.
Sat. and Sunday get very busy in Venice as it gets closer to Shrove Tuesday. It’s hard to do much as a group. This is an excellent opportunity to work on images, nap, talk a gondola ride, have a big lunch, shop and just hang out. Sat. night is pretty wild in the Plaza and worth going to see the revelry!
Sunday Feb. 23
Option: Dawn shoot at San Marco Plaza
Breakfast at a local café or back to the hotel
Noon: Flight of the Eagle in San Marco Plaza.
The Flight of the Angel, a long standing tradition, is on Sunday Feb. 16. Because of its popularity, in 2012 the Flight of the Eagle began. A very lucky person is selected, and they “fly” by cable from the top of the Campanile to the stage in the Square. The crowds will be large, but it’s a spectacle that you don’t want to miss.
Sunday evening we have our farewell dinner! We celebrate the magical images we created, the experiences and sights, and the friendships we made.
Monday Feb. 24
Travel home safely!
Cost for the complete Photo Tour ﹦USD $2000
Limited to 8 participants
- Private shoots with costumers
- Lighting Instruction, both natural and flash
- A trip to the island of Burano
- Seven Day pass for the Vaporetto (water bus)
- Private shoot with costumers on a Gondola
- Tickets to visit La Fenice and Scala Contarini
- Critiques and post processing instruction
- Dawn shoots with costumers in St. Mark’s Square
- Dusk shoot with costumers on St. Giorgio
- Dusk shoot from Academia Bridge
- Exploration of the city with stops for coffee, Spritz, Wine, and snacks
- Lots of fun!
What’s not included:
- Hotel: We stay at Pensione Guerrato near Rialto Bridge and breakfast is included. Cost is about $150 a night. If not available we will stay at a similar hotel. You will pay hotel directly.
- Lunches, dinners, alcohol and snacks
- Airfare/transportation to and from Venice
- Transportation to and from Marco Polo airport or train station
- Any tips or personal expenses
- You must buy your own travel insurance
We will have Hotel Pensione Guerrato for our meetings, critiques and instruction. We suggest that you stay here for your convenience and group interaction.
Hotel Pensione Guerrato
Calle Drio La Scimia San Polo 240/a, 30125 Venezia
phone +39 041 5227131 –
phone/fax phone +39 041 5285927
NON-SMOKING HOTEL – FREE WIFI
You may stay at Guerrato or any other hotel of your choice. You will pay your own hotel—we recommend contacting the hotel ASAP to secure a room! We will have a welcome and farewell dinner as a group. We will choose a restaurant, with reasonable prices and good food. We decided that all lunches and dinners are not included, as we have found in the past that people have a wide range of eating and drinking habits so it’s more equitable for each person to choose their own meal.
Bobbi Lane and Lee Varis provide expert guidance from two renowned teachers (click on the Home link above to see bios). There is a maximum of eight people on the tour, so with two instructors, you will get a lot of individual attention. That includes lighting instruction, Lightroom instruction and critiques, all designed to help you unleash your creativity!
Once you book your place, we will provide detailed instructions for where and when to meet in Venice, what to bring, and how to prepare.
After signing up using the form, click the PayPal button below to send payment & reserve your spot