Italian Castle wedding photography training : Probably the best training course I have had the pleasure to run, this can be the only way to describe an action packed week in April at the amazing and beautiful Castello Ceconi located in northern Italy.
The castle, nestled in the foothills of the Dolomites is owned by world renowned album manufacturers Graphistudio who have their office and factory around forty minutes away. It was as their guests that we found ourselves flying into Venice on an April Monday morning to start the workshop. ( www.graphistudio.com )
Our models for the week were Zach and Lauren who along with myself, Martin from Graphistudio’s UK office and my assistant Sophie would be staying in the castle whilst the trainees were to sleep in a nearby hotel. An action packed week lay ahead and after quickly checking into their hotel we drove the trainees upto to the Castle for welcome drinks and our first evening meal.
Meals were prepared by a local family of caterers using locally sourced products and recipes to give an authentic taste of Northern Italy and allowing us all to immerse ourselves in the surroundings and ambience ahead of our first full day of training at the Castle.
Our second day began with a short presentation from myself about off camera flash and how I use simple speed light techniques to create my wedding photographs. With our models ready we were itching to head outdoors into the sunshine to make use of the amazing backdrops and create the first of our photographs using flash on and off camera as well as natural light.
Wednesday continued the theme of wedding photography and following a fact filled and informative presentation from Martin of Graphistudio about increasing sales and album design. Our morning shooting was all indoors using natural light, video light and flash. During my last visit to Graphistudio back in october staff had talked about a stunning potential location nearby and so after lunch we made a short drive down to the amazing canyons and mountain river. The white rock and snow melt river afforded some amazing images – thank you Chiara and Francesco!
During the evening the castle is incredibly well lit and for Wednesday evening we had arranged for the lights to be switched off allowing us an opportunity for an evening of star photography away from the light pollution of big towns and cities. A late night saw the trainees back at their hotel just before midnight.
Thursday morning involved a trip to Graphistudio’s album factory down in the valley, the large factory is capable of producing several hundred weddings albums per day, all hand made and finished before being sent to photographers worldwide. Our tour of the factory was hosted by Martin and Francesca and we were able to view the latest products, paper types and special album prototypes first hand as well as seeing the meticulous care and attention to detail that goes into every wedding album.
The afternoon back at the castle was focused on groom preparation and bridal boudoir, with Sophie leading a Boudoir group with model Lauren, I worked with a small group on groom preparation images with Zach. Our evening involved shooting outdoors with Zach and Lauren, again dressed as bride and groom as I demonstrated and taught how I work to create my after dark wedding photographs.
Friday dawned with clouds for the first time all week, an early pick up for the trainees allowed time to host a mock pre-wedding shoot before we wrapped up and made our way back to Venice, some to fly home and others were staying on for the weekend.
I must finish with a massive thank you to everyone who attended the workshop, models and trainees, Graphistudio for their hospitality, very kind use of the Castle and factory visit and to Martin from the UK office who as well as having the keys to the castle, ensured we didn’t run out of beer and worked just as many hours if not more than myself.
Next years workshop dates have been confirmed for May 1-5. Full details to follow…
Photos below, but also a short video compilation featuring some stills and clips from our week at the castle. – watch with the volume turned up…