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#Italianworkshop What we do

Italian Workshop

When I thought of doing workshops to teach folks how to improve their images, coming to my little seaside town Alassio, the place I call home every summer on the Italian Riviera, was a no brainer. It’s beautiful, photo rich, and I know it well. Most Americans forget about coming to unknown regions like Liguria. Liguria is a small sliver of a region on the west coast northeast of Tuscany. Its food is fresh and packed with veggies and fish. It’s simple fare tossed with local basil pesto, light on garlic. Did I mention it’s the birth place of foccacia? Our workshop attendees were in for a treat photographing local food and local lifestyle. Our workshop did not disappoint.

Attendees arrived in Nice, France where they were shuttled off to my sweet friend’s warm, cozy, and well-appointed B&B Borgata Cantone Country House, nestled into the mountains of the town next door, Garlenda, only 5 minutes from the seaside. Thank you to Emanuel and Viki for their amazing hospitality and delicious aperitivi every evening. Emanuel is a trained chef, so breakfast was a feast and local fare for dinner was a big hit with students.

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Day 1- We toured the town and got familiar with our cameras. Deborah worked with all of our students making sure they had an understanding of their equipment, and she took time to select the best light for the best results. It was a great way for everyone to get to know one another. We sampled foccacia from my favorite foccaceria in town trying every flavor under the sun at an impromptu picnic in the main square. For lunch we dined under a portico of a 14th century castle with the Basil King and toured his farm surrounding the family castle, all the while honing our photography skills, and styling away. See The Basil King here.

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Day 2 – Our workshop lessons began in earnest with lectures all morning while sipping espresso and homemade vanilla cake. I began with the basics of styling and composition, and Deborah did a talk about the operation of a camera. Anne Sage finished the morning session with a lively talk about blogging and social media. Lunch was a photo styling lesson as well. We photographed our food and then of course had a delightful lunch under the pergola at Borgata Cantone. After lunch it was Giulia Scarpaleggia’s turn to show us her stuff. A cooking lesson with a Tuscan Chef, photographing her in action, and of course the final photo was a beautiful finished product. See it here. For dinner we dined at one of my favorite places in town and enjoyed a 4-course meal in an elegant setting.

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Day 3 – Our workshop styling and photography lesson continued at my friend’s amazing home, an old olive mill by a river that she renovated impeccably. Monica Damonte, is a well-known designer who works all over the world. I am lucky to call her one of my best friends. See a bit about her here. The morning’s assignment was to do a simple styling set up and photograph it. We had a vast selection of props and foods to choose from. For lunch we had a lesson from Monica on how to style a charcuterie plate. Then students were asked to style their own platter and of course, photograph it. Then we all dined on our subjects for lunch with a picnic in the garden. In the afternoon students had a choice of a post production lesson with Deborah or a private one on one styling session with me. The afternoon went by quickly. I am pretty sure we all had a great time styling and shooting at this most amazing location. Dinner was a pizza party on the beach. La Lanterna,¬†one of my fave pizza joints, pulled out all the stops, and students got to try all sorts of local specialties, and yes there was pizza too.

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Day 4 – We asked students to edit and choose their top 3-5 captures . We would all review them at breakfast. It was amazing to see the beautiful images that all of our students captured, and the great strides they made. Big hugs and departures. Deborah and I loved meeting and creating with everyone. We hope they will come back again and again. We had the best time, ci vediamo tutti xx



BIG Thanks to Leo Apruzzi my “fixer” he and I worked for months making sure every aspect of this workshop came off without a hitch. Job well done Leo; you’re the BEST! XO

Thank you to Borgata Cantone for the amazing location, hospitality, and attention to all the details! Emanuel you’re amazing!

Thank you to Nital for the really wonderful goodie bags, and the latest Nikon camera and lenses you brought us to try! Love you Paola!

Mostly, thank you to my partner in crime, Deborah. She gave her all and shared her great talents with all of our students. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for your kindness and patience.

Thank you to Monica Damonte for opening her home to us and willingly agreeing to demonstrate her extraordinary creative talents with our students. ti amo xo

Thank you to our students that put their faith in me to organize this beautiful creative experience; sharing with you really makes what I do day to day really matter. You all touched my heart. xx

Of course, I could not have done this monumental task without the help of our incredible assistants. Kayla Alexander and Cate Pacula you truly impressed and amazed me. See you again next year! XO


We will be back next year in June 2016, so look for registration announcements. In the meantime, if you’re looking for a more exotic location, be sure to check out our Marrakech Styling and Photography Workshop in Marrakech, Morocco scheduled for February 2016. See you there!


Photo credit : Me

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