Nov 212012

Rome: The Photography Workshop

Caravaggio’s Window

The holiday season is just 

around corner and what better

way to get out of the house 

test out all of your new gear

than a photography workshop

in Rome.  


The Workshop: Rome. © Adam Marelli

Before it was called Street Photography…

In the 16th century Michelangelo Merisi, later known as Caravaggio, pioneered a technique for dramatic lighting that is still the envy of photographers today.  Wouldn’t you love to find light that feels like it was put on this earth just for you?  If you have not seen one of Caravaggio’s masterpieces in person, it can be a life altering experience.  Each of his images combines incredible lighting and masterful design in an alchemy that continues to hypnotize generations of artists, critics and admirers.

The Calling of St. Matthew by Caravaggio

The light in his paintings dances between the shady corners and unsuspecting windows where divine light pours onto his subjects.  His Roman street scenes, depict friends and lovers, in the taverns and alleys where they lived.  He was Rome’s great street photographer, long before the camera was even invented.  How did a painter, with only a brush and a canvas redefine the possibilities of light and shadow?

Join me in Rome as we explore the work, life, and lighting techniques that made Caravaggio famous. This workshop will open up the possibilities of what you can do with your camera.

Supper at Emmaus Caravaggio

An Intimate Gathering

As many of you know I come from an Art background.  A pencil and a paint brush defined the formative years of my artistic practice.  The workshop in Rome is something I have wanted to do for a long time.  With a small group of photographers, we will explore the magical lighting which captivated Caravaggio and understand why certain artists always manage to find the best light.

Piazza del Popolo. © Adam Marelli

Who is Coming

This workshop is designed for intermediate to advanced photographers, who can work their cameras with their eyes closed.  We will not focus camera functions or introduction concepts.  This workshop is all about the light and the image.  It will be a great workshop for people pursuing personal projects and looking to make their body of work stand out in the crowd.

Chiesa Sant’Agnese di Roma. © Adam Marelli

The Bonus

As a bonus for this workshop, all participants will receive (2) Hours of my “One on One” photography classes at no extra charge, a $300 dollar value.  It is the perfect follow up to the workshop to keep you on track.

The Schedule

  • 3 Full Days of shooting in Rome, (from 10:00am-6:00pm).
  • Daily photo assignments to practice the techniques we discuss in lectures.
  • Review of your images, to assess strengths and weaknesses, with references for improvement.
  • We will eat lunch together every day with optional group dinner.  (Since I don’t like to put a cap on the food or wine, the meals are not included in the cost).
  • We will visit a few of Caravaggio’s paintings as they sit, so we can learn from the Master and compare notes as we shoot the streets.

Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza. © Adam Marelli

Lessons you will Learn

  1. By the end of the workshop you will have an understanding of the following concepts.
  2. Advanced techniques in Figure to Ground Relationships
  3. Creating pulsing rhythm with Light
  4. How to use a value step scale to set up a shot
  5. How to spot a perfectly lit scene which most people walk by
  6. How to shoot a scene that seems too dark to the naked eye
  7. Things to avoid in low light settings
  8. The best way to bring a group of people to life


Workshop Size: 6 people Maximum

Dates: Friday December 28th- Sunday December 30th, 2012

Location: Rome [ I T A L Y ]

Times: 10:00am-6:00pm each day, with an optional introductory night Thursday December 27th.

Workshop Fee: 1500 USD (does not include transportation, lodging or meals)

Sign Up Here: 

Reviews recent Workshops 

Adam Marelli opened my eyes in regards to composition. The way you use the backgrounds and subjects as elements within a scene and how you try to arrange all the elements perfectly together is just amazing. Some of the tips that I received from Adam were so good that I find myself browsing through old photographs that I took to actually learn from my own mistakes, and, how I can improve myself based on how I previously composed my pictures.

Adam was also very good at connecting with people, and used time to actually get to know people, to know their story, show his interest and become friends with them. To actually approach people on this personal level and to connect with them and then take their picture is an amazing quality which I some day hope that I can develop myself.

Considering the amount of money that I have spent on camera equipment through the years – the money I spent on the workshop was by far the most valuable investment I have made in regards to my photography hobby. A new camera body still takes pictures, and a new lens still takes pictures. Yes, some pictures might be sharper and have a higher dynamic range than others. But that doesn’t change the fact that the content of the picture is by far the most important thing in a picture, and if the content or composition sucks, well, then the picture sucks no matter what equipment created it.

–Børge Indergaard

I learned perhaps the most important lesson – practice with what you have (1 camera, 1 lens, 1 style).  Seems obvious but wasn’t for me until I saw real artists at work. I was worried it might be too technical for me or too much of a gear-fest but neither was true: it was pure shooting with passion and a considered purpose, without the unnecessary distractions.

–Glen Goh

I’ve always been comfortable with and interested in the technical aspects of art and design. The key was delivery – Adam, you have a straightforward and easygoing manner that makes it a pleasure to listen to you unload prodigious knowledge!

Adam’s tremendous knowledge of visual language also really spoke to me – attempting to apply that to photography has done well for me.

–Stewart Reid

I thoroughly enjoyed the Design and Composition discussions. I could do that for hours.

–Penny Breen

Adams instruction was awesome. It was a new way for me to view street photography. I’ve scheduled time in the near future to read everything he has published so that I might apply it to what I’m doing.

–Mark Carpenter

You might be interested to know I went to the Guggenheim yesterday. Got into looking at the classical painters and looking for the language. My infant language development made the communication spotty, but I did see examples that illustrated the use of the diagonal line, the circle, subject placement within the frame. Before this weekend, I would have never noticed any of this.

–Charlie Post 


Sant’Agnese di Roma. © Adam Marelli

What to Bring

PORTFOLIO:  All participants should bring a small portfolio of images (10-20 images) which represents their recent shooting.

ADDITIONAL IMAGES: Additionally, they should bring digital images of photographs or paintings which they would like to understand the design techniques which lie under the surface.  This workshop will be a great opportunity to ask “Why an image works?”

Digital camera (DSLR, Rangefinder, Micro 4/3rds, Point and shoot, etc). A film camera is not recommended for the workshop due to the logistics of printing and contact sheets.

It is recommended that you shoot with a prime-lens for the workshop (24mm, 28mm, 35mm, or 50mm). If you do not have a prime lens (only zoom lenses) please bring what you have.

Due to the nature of the trip, it is recommended that you bring a total of 3 memory cards & batteries. After all, nothing is worse than having a faulty memory card/batteries when you can’t run back to the house and grab another one.

It is necessary that you have a laptop for this trip for editing & post-processing your work everyday. Also please download the software we will be using for the workshop below.

Although all the slides presented during the workshop will be emailed to you afterwards, please bring a notepad and pen to take notes during the workshop.

Can’t wait to see you there! Sign up now and reserve your spot: 

  2 Responses to “Rome: The Photography Workshop”

  1. Hello,
    I am from Canada and unfortunately do not speak Italian. I will be in Roma Sept 10-30 and would like to join a photograpy course during that time. Do you have anything at that time? If so, how much would it cost?


  2. Hello,

    I am in Florence now–when is your next workshop? How many people are in the workshops.. Also can you recommend places to stay?
    I am also interested in Venice and other locations..

    Thank you,


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