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Venice Carnival 2025, Feb 23 – March 2

Sign up now to reserve your spot!

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 seven 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 12th and Lee’s 9th 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.

Click here to see a gallery of images from years past

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. 

Matt Conti

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.

Diane Wolfe

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!

Jeff Buege

We really loved the Venice Carnival tour, it was one of the best we have done. We were very hesitant on coming on such a tour as we are primarily nature photographer with very little camera flash experience. Well, we soon realized that we can relax and enhance out photography with added flash on and off the camera, due to your excellent instruction and constant help. The fact that you attended the shoots with us and helped us iron out trouble and problems on the spot was fantastic, which gave us confidence and decreased our nervousness. We got some incredible photographs from the general costumers parading in the piazza. However the real jems were from the private shoots arranged by yourselves in absolutely stunning and unique venues.  Your intimate knowledge of Venice, your excellent organizational ability that adapted so perfectly to solve any obstacles, your excellent relationship with so many outstanding costumers and your unique ability to get people to do exactly what is optimal in a shoot, be it casual or bespoke really added value and it is clear that this added ingredient made the tour extra special and gave us a unique experience and helped us get exceptional pictures many of which were unique to your trip. The food was also exceptional and the restaurants you recommended and took us to was perfect and delicious. The location of the chosen hotel was ideal and brilliant as it was close to where we needed to be and walking to the piazza and around it was easy and offered some great street photography opportunities. All in all a massive thank you for an amazing experience and trip I shall never forget it!!!!! Lee your dedication to do what you did with such a severe spinal problem shows just how dedicated you are this is exceptional and highly appreciated. Definitely superb value and I will definitely do more of your adventures as I had an absolute blast.

                What I really appreciated was your incredible 110% commitment to us demonstrated in your willingness to accompany us and show us where the costumers were days before the official tour started despite having to get up before dawn.  This is unheard off!!!! Thanks.

Dante & Karyn Parisi

Click Here to read more testimonials

Schedule

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.

Sunday Feb 23

11 am 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 walk to St. Marks square to get familiar with the area. Later in the evening, we will go to a local restaurant for our Welcome Dinner! 

Monday Feb. 24

Morning at St. Marks then walk over to the Arsenal for the mass gathering of Costumers, then leisurly walk about & lunch

Tuesday Feb. 25 

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.

Wed. Feb. 26 

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!

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. 

Thursday Feb. 27 

Option: Dawn shoot at San Marco Plaza 

Morning off to shop, take your own gondola ride, nap, wander the streets and explore the city, whatever!

Friday Feb. 28 

Option: Dawn shoot at San Marco Plaza

Mid-day, private Costumer shoot at the Ca’ Sagredo Hotel

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, for a total of 2 hours. Great views from the sides of the canal and from bridges of the costumers, too. Fabulous opportunity!  

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. March 1

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 March 2 

Option: Dawn shoot at San Marco Plaza 

Breakfast at a local café or back to the hotel

9:30 am: Final Critique at the Pensione Guerrato

Noon: Flight of the Eagle in San Marco Plaza. 

The Flight of the Angel, a long standing tradition, is on Sunday Feb. 4. 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. 3 

Travel home safely!

Sign up now – click button below to reserve your spot

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Limited to 12 participants 

Questions? Email us at bobbi@bobbilane.com or varis@varis.com  

This is a moderate activity level trip – there is a fair amount of walking with some stair climbing involved

What’s included: 

  • Lighting Instruction, both natural and flash
  • Private shoots with costumers in beautiful locations
  • Private shoot with costumers on a Gondola
  • Dawn shoots with costumers in St. Mark’s Square
  • Dusk shoot with costumers on St. Giorgio
  • Dusk shoot from Academia Bridge
  • Platinum All City Pass: includes admission to Doge’s Palace (fast line) 10 Civic Museums of Venice, 16 Churches and much more!
  • Seven Day pass for the Vaporetto (water bus)
  • Tickets to visit La Fenice and Scala Contarini
  • A trip to the island of Burano
  • Critiques and post processing instruction
  • Exploration of the city with stops for coffee, Spritz, Wine, and snacks
  • Welcome Dinner on Sunday night, and farewell dinner on following Sunday night.
  • Lots of fun! 

    What’s not included: 

    • Hotel: We stay at Pensione Guerrato near Rialto Bridge and breakfast is included. Cost is under $250 a night.  You will pay hotel directly.
    • Lunches, dinners, alcohol and snacks, with exception of welcome dinner and farewell dinner.
    • 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 a welcome and farewell dinner as a group. We will choose restaurants, with a range of menu options  and good food. We decided that all lunches and dinners are not included, with the exception of the Welcome Dinner and farewell dinner, 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.

    Special Note:

    We will have Hotel Pensione Guerrato for our meetings, critiques and instruction. We suggest that you stay here for your convenience and group interaction. You may stay at Guerrato or any other hotel of your choice. Contact  Monica info@hotelguerrato.com . You will pay your own hotel—we recommend contacting the hotel ASAP to secure a room! PLEASE, let the hotel know you are with Bobbi & Lee –Please book the hotel directly, and not through a booking service like Hotels.com or similar. If you have to change plans, you WILL lose any refund unless you book with the hotel directly!!!

    Hotel Pensione Guerrato
    Calle Drio La Scimia San Polo 240/a, 30125 Venezia
    phone +39 041 5227131 –
    phone/fax phone +39 041 5285927
    info@hotelguerrato.com –
    NON-SMOKING HOTEL – FREE WIFI
    https://www.facebook.com/pensioneguerratovenezia/

    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 twelve 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!

    We are a small company (basically just Bobbi & Lee) so we only provide personalized service for a small group of photography enthusiasts. We therefore require a reasonable commitment to participate with no refunds after 90 days before the start of the tour—it is next to impossible to fill a spot for an international trip within 90 days of the start of the trip. We highly recommend that you purchase Travel/Trip Interruption Insurance—see various options here: Travel Insurance Companies

    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.

     

    Total Cost = $3000—click button below to pay deposit

    After signing up using the form, email us to start a dialog: bobbi@bobbilane.com