Provence Photography Workshop – July 2023
For the travel photographer seeking one of Europe’s premier photogenic gems, Provence & the Cote D’Azur in Southern France is hard to beat. This region has always been one of Europe’s favourite destinations due to a combination of glorious scenery, vibrant culture, impressive heritage and great cuisine. Add the element of photography into the mix, and you have a winning formula for a memorable trip. Located between the Alps and the Mediterranean Sea, the hills of Provence are famed for their sloping vineyards, olive groves and fields of scented lavender. Picturesque villages and ancient towns, charming food markets and photogenic landscapes make Provence a wonderful location for the landscape photographer in particular. The seascapes of the French Riviera include beautiful beaches lining high-end coastal towns where the country’s elite congregate around the splendour of its luxury hotels, the fame of its festivals and the celebrity of its artists.
While exploring Provence, one can immediately recognise the inspiration in the colour palettes of renowned artists such as Cezanne, Picasso, Van Gogh and Chagall, as well as many other talented painters and sculptors that have spent time in this region. Art plays a major role in the culture of Provence and the Cote D’Azur, and testimony to the great artists of our time are seen everywhere.
With so much beauty found in the region, photographers from around the world come to capture what is undoubtedly the highlight of Provence – the visually striking lavender fields in full bloom. This subject offers all sorts of photographic opportunities, from close-up shots of flower petals with beautifully blurred background colours, to capturing minimalist vistas of lavender fields using a tree, a structure or a person as a focal point. This type of photography requires the right lens choice, where wide angles can provide layers and context in a scene, while telephoto lenses can compress and flatten a composition. As Provence is full of hills and valleys, landscape photographers may find that using the focus stacking technique can create images of front to back sharpness after combining images in a post-processing technique. On our workshop you will ascertain that to photograph lavender in all it’s saturated glory, the best light is actually when there is no directional lighting on the flowers, yet some colour remains in the sky. By balancing out the brighter sky and darker foreground with either graduated filters, or combining 2 or more exposures in post-processing, we are confident that with our assistance, your success rate in high quality images will be easier to attain.
And it’s not just beautiful lavender fields on our itinerary. Some of the most quaint and charming towns found anywhere in France are located on the hillsides of the Luberon. Our workshops begins in Nice, the capital of the Cote D’Azur. The UNESCO World Heritage Site where locals lead the good life along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Photo opportunities include candid street photography on the iconic Promenade des Anglais, delightful outdoor markets in the Old Town, and the beauty of the light reflecting off street facades during golden hour. Another World Heritage Site on our itinerary is the city of Avignon. This is the city to which the Popes fled to when leaving the corruption of Rome in the 14th century. The palace they built, ‘Le Palais des Papes,’ or the Palace of Popes, is the world’s largest Gothic edifice. Capital of the Vaucluse and the Côtes du Rhône, seat of the popes and city of art and culture, theatre, cinema, museums, medieval streets and private mansions from the Renaissance, Avignon is a small city but is loaded with culture. Cuisine is excellent here, and is home to some of the greatest Michelin star chefs.
Other coastal towns of note include Cannes, the jet set destination that is famous for it’s world-renowned international film festival, the quaint streets of Le Suquet, and the marvelous classic yacht sailing regatta. The elegant, palm tree lined boulevards of Cannes can make for some great compositions in street photography, as are environmental portraits in the port of Marseille, the city with a history of immigration dating back 3,000 years. The multicultural background of the locals, urban decay and gritty feel of Marseille is a complete contrast to the affluent and elegant city of Cannes.
Villages along the French Riviera can often be so small, the only real estate they encompass literally balances on the top of a hill, such as the tiny medieval village of Eze. Perched on a rock 400 meters above the sea, the location of this fascinating village is spectacular with the Mediterranean in the background. One of the best preserved medieval villages in Europe, Saint Paul de Vence dates back over a thousand years. This village looks especially photogenic during evening blue hour, when the retaining walls and narrow streets come to life as the street lamps turn on. Gordes and Lourmarin are two of the most beautiful villages in France. Provence contains a multitude of villages sometimes perched, sometimes nestled in a landscape of vines, white oaks or olive trees and one city, Cavaillon, offer splendid landscapes as far as the eye can see. From forests to picturesque villages. It is also a home for artists from all over the world, some just stay for a while and other settle forever. Above all things the Luberon is a massif with lush vegetation and exceptional fauna, it is a Regional Natural Park, to be discovered along itineraries and routes. The Luberon is famous for it’s prolific wine production, evident in the sloping vineyards.
The ultimate holiday destination, Provence & the Cote D’Azur has always been associated with scenic charm and the good life. Its peaceful hills resounding with the song of the cicadas, its wonderful fields of lavender and olive trees, its scrubland fragrant with the scents of thyme and rosemary, its impressive Verdon canyon, its exceptional rocky inlets, its secluded creeks and its sandy beaches truly offer something to enchant every travel photographer.
This 6-day photography workshop is designed for small groups of 4-8 guests, and is run through Photo Workshop Adventures – our affiliate with over 150 workshops in more than 50 countries. Our time together will include individual and group discussions, inspiring ideas and great fun. Our Provence & Cote D’Azur workshop will take place from July 10-15, 2023, and spaces are limited. For travellers with extra time to spare, the Provence workshop can also be combined with a back-to-back workshop with Barcelona scheduled for July 2-9, 2023, where you will experience amazing architectural and street photography. You can contact us here for further information on the Provence workshop or any of our other photo adventures. We would love to have you join us!