Photo Tour of St. Petersburg, Russia

A photography workshop with Polina Fedorova. An insider photo tour featuring ideal locations that are rarely seen or offered on standard tours of St. Petersburg and its’ outskirts.

Polina:“I grew up here and I love this city. I express and live this love through my lens and in the photos that St. Petersburg offers me. I am eager to share this love and my intimate knowledge of its hidden treasures with you. If you have ever attended my photography courses and workshops in Montreal or Toronto, you already know: this will be exciting.”

Polina Fedorova has worked as a photographer and photo editor for several widely distributed russian magazines(Mir, Afisha…) and for clients like ELLE, VOGUE, VANITY FAIR, …
This insider workshop is a hands on opportunity to work in professional conditions that will add a wealth of knowledge and experience to each participant.

  • 14 days and 14 nights.
  • 7 different photography sessions guided by a professional photographer.
  • 2 dedicated fashion photography shootings. These particular workshops will thrust the participant into the dynamic elements and rhythm of real fashion shooting, giving you a chance to test your mettle and develop your skills. You will gain confidence, experience – and have lots of fun – working with professional photogenic models and networking with a seasoned creative team. By the end of the day, you should find yourself with a whole new portfolio of images, and unlike other events of this kind, you have full commercial rights release to everything you produce.
  • Accommodation in fully equipped apartments located in the city’s historical centre.
  • Transportation to and from the shootings, as well as personalized service for easy access to the city’s cultural or historical attractions.

We launched this photo tour in 2015 and realized that it’s very important to keep a good proportion of photography and tourist activities. This year we did some changes in the itinerary to reserve more time for tourist activities.

Dates

September 1 – September 14, 2018

Reservations and Information

Cost: $2700 CAD
Maximum number of participants: 10

If you are willing to spend more time in St. Petersbourg we will help you to arrange your stay before / after the tour. If you want to have more touristic activities we will help you with the logistic/bookings/etc.

What’s included:

  • Assistance to book the air tickets
  • Assistance securing a Russian visa.
  • Transfer to and from the St Petersburg airport.
  • 14 nights’ accommodation, double occupancy, in apartments in the city’s historical centre; cooking facilities included. Single occupancy supplement of $250 CAD.
  • 7 photography shooting sessions with a specific focus, photographic instruction and informal review of participants’ images; 2 fashion photography sessions with models; three dedicated review meetings for discussion, picture selection, and creating a photo story, and a final review on Day 14.
  • All surface travel in private cars.
  • Transportation and accompaniment to selected restaurants (evenings)
  • Assistance in ordering tickets, taxis, and guides for activities not included in the workshops.

Not included:

  • Airfare.
  • Food or meals.
  • Taxis, public transportation, and activities outside of the workshop sessions.
  • Baggage, equipment, medical, travel and cancellation insurance.
  • Russian visa service charge ($245 CAD in Montreal).

Practical information:

  • Camera, tripod, all your lenses (especially prime lenses for sessions with the models), spare battery, a supply of memory cards, camera rain sleeve.
  • European power adapters (several if you need to charge more than one device at a time).
  • Laptop, with Photoshop or Lightroom installed.
  • Comfortable daypack.
  • St. Petersburg weather is similar to Montreal’s.
  • Bring comfortable shoes, mosquito repellent, a water proof jacket with a hood (strongly recommended), any medications you may need.
  • If you are planning to see a famous russian ballet or opera, please, let us know. We can help. We highly recommend that the tickets be reserved well in advance .

NOTE: We reserve the right to make changes to the schedule in the event of unforeseen situations such as the weather, logistics, and so on. Also, we reserve the right to cancel the trip if there are fewer than 3 participants, in which case your reservation fee will be refunded in full.

 

Booking

Book now

  • $200CAD booking fee, payable no later than one month before the departure date
  • Contact our travel agent, Stella Karpushkina, House of Travel, +1(514) 842-8000 ext.269, stellak@hot.ca, who will take care of visa arrangements, and airline tickets, as well as helping with stopovers on your way to or from St. Petersburg.
  • Valid passport. Our travel agent will need your passport no later than 4 weeks before departure in order to get you a visa in time for the trip.

Itinerary and Highlights

Day 1.

Arrival.

Transfer from the airport to your apartment. Grocery shopping. Information session about the itinerary and schedule.

Day 2.

Sightseeing Tour

3-hour sightseeing tour of the city by car. We provide a professional english speaking guide. We will visit all the main tourist attractions in the city. This is the best time to discuss and schedule your personal tourist activities (private car tours, Hermitage, museums, theaters, etc.)

Afternoon:
We’ll start our photographic introduction to the city with a 3-hour session with a Russian model on Solianoi Street and Shtiglits School. This is a prime location for shooting with a model as the surrounding streets are car-free and offer many photographic opportunities.

A visit to St. Petersburg is like taking a ride to all the cities of Old Europe. The city’s founder, Peter the Great, invited the best European architects to build palaces, stately mansions and homes. All of this was part of a clear master plan to ensure that the skyline would never surpass the height of the Hermitage. The width of the streets had to be equal to the height of the buildings. No other European city was built with such rigorous universal principles. As a result of these laws, upheld by Elizabeth and Catherine the Great, the city is bright, expansive, and flooded with silvery northern light.

Evening review session.

Day 3.

The Tsar’s Hunting Expedition

The first dedicated fashion shooting with models.

Day trip: we’ll bring snacks, and stop for supper at a restaurant on the return trip.
In the morning, travel by car to the sand dunes on the shores of the Gulf of Finland, a distance of 50 km, where we recreate the atmosphere of the hunt with a male model and a pack of Russian wolfhounds, as well as a female model attired in various floor-length dresses reminiscent of the Russian imperial style.

The Russian wolfhound or borzoi is one the fastest and most graceful dogs with its’ long narrow face, and multicolored coat and markings that cover its’ tall body.

We’ll shoot in the evening when the sun is low.
Free evening.

Girl in the fogRussian hunting with borzoiRussian borzoi
Russian borzoiGirl with borzoi dogModel with borzoi

Day 4.

Free day.

This is the time to visit The Hermitage or Russian Museum and we’ll help you with tickets and transportation. Or you can choose to relax.

Evening: review session of Tsar’s Hunting. Creating pictorial.

Day 5.

Street Photography

Basics of photojournalism.
Walking in old city. Visiting market.

A 3-hour boat tour of the city in a small private boat that can access small canals and will stop at our request at the best locations for shooting.
Often referred to as the Venice of the North, St. Petersburg is a maze of rivers and canals that offer an intimate view of many aspects of daily life and industry.

Day 6.

Fashion shooting in the Abandoned Palace(with elements of Boudoir).

The second dedicated fashion shooting with models.

St. Petersburg was the capital of the Russian Empire.
After the revolution in 1917, most owners of the city’s palaces had either been killed or had fled abroad.
These magnificent palaces became homes for workers or were used by Soviet agencies. Many were used as warehouses, or simply closed and abandoned. They survive to this day in the state their owners left them. Of course, no tourists are usua allowed in these palaces.

Afternoon:
We’ll shoot inside Brusnytsyn Palace, which was abandoned for 70 years, and features incredible moldings, fireplaces, Venetian mirrors, mosaic floors — all slightly tarnished, powdered with dust half a century old. This is a dream for any photographer: shooting for 2 hours with a beautiful model in natural light.

Evening: picture downloading, picture selection.
photography workshop by Polina Fedorova in Brusnitsyn Palace
photography workshop by Polina Fedorova in Brusnitsyn Palace

Day 7.

Free day

Free morning.
Late afternoon: An optional visit to a unique ambrotype photo studio to view the wet collodion process. (Extra $100)

Evening: yesterday shooting review and discussion.

Day 8.

Rooftops of St. Petersburg

We’ll spend the day visiting different locations with unusual views of the city, views that have changed little since Dostoevsky and his contemporaries drew their curtains.

Morning:
We’ll work with our model in the Colonnade of the Kazan Cathedral, at the Atlantis, and on the shores of the winter canal of the grove. We’ll lunch in a café with a superb view of the city.

In St. Petersburg, it doesn’t take long to find a place to shoot – the great architects of the past have done all the work. We only need to feel and convey the unhurried rhythm of the way the city breathes.

Afternoon:
I’ve always found it frustrating to see crowds of tourists photographing the Palace Square and the Winter Palace. This is not the heart of the city. It’s real heart and soul is hidden in alleyways and thoroughfares, on roofs and in attics.

We’ll go up on a private roof and see Russia’s Venice of the North from unusual angles. We’ll also discover the backyards of mansions, and old main entrances with aged frescoes and stained glass windows.
We’ll climb 300 steps up to the colonnade of Saint Isaac’s Cathedral.
We’ll find an abandoned statue of Lenin, the Russian communist leader, relegated to obscurity in a backyard.

Day 9.

Peterhof

Built to the specifications of Tsar Peter the Great, this lush complex of palaces and gardens is often referred to as the ‘Russian Versailles’ with wonderful views of nature.

We’ll be shooting the views, fountains and the river.

Day 10.

Drawbridges on the Neva

Free morning and afternoon.
It’s a good idea to have a nap after lunch.

Night shooting, starting at 2AM:

Every summer night, St. Petersburg hosts an astonishing show that attracts tourists from the world over: all the bridges in the city are raised one by one to allow the passage of heavy ships from the Gulf of Finland to Lake Ladoga.

These bridges were built at different times, mostly in the late 19th century, so each bridge is a unique architectural creation. The two halves of a bridge are slowly lifted into an almost vertical position, and then barges pass through slowly, circled by small speedy tourist boats.

We’ll be capturing the slow movement of these bridges, an ideal subject for long exposure masterpieces.

Day 11.

Communal apartments

Morning: Free. Late breakfast. Shopping.

Communal apartments appeared in the Soviet Union following the Russian revolution of 1917. Communal apartments emerged as a response to a housing crisis in urban areas – authorities presented them as a product of the “new collective vision of the future”. Between two and seven families typically shared a communal apartment. Each family had its own room, which often served as a living room, dining room, and bedroom for the entire family. All the residents of the entire apartment shared the use of the hallways, kitchen (commonly known as the “communal kitchen”), bathroom and telephone. The communal apartment became the predominant form of housing in the USSR for generations, and examples still exist in “the most fashionable central districts of large Russian cities”

Afternoon: visiting different communal apartments.

Day 12.

Kronstadt

Day trip.
St. Petersburg is surrounded by many old fortifications of the Peter the Great era. Places like Kronstadt lie outside the usual tourist itinerary, and are worthy of the attention of any photographer.

We’ll go on an exciting one-day photo tour of the dam that protects the city from flooding, to Fort Alexandr, the Kronstadt Naval Cathedral, and the Petrovsky Dry-dock.

This massive dry-dock was built in 1790, left abandoned for over 200 years, and over time became hidden within a residential neighbourhood. All the old cast iron frames are still in place. Not many locals know about this site, and certainly fewer tourists.

Afterwards, we’ll drive over the other side of the dam and make several stops along the beautiful highway to Peterhof Palace.

Day 13.

Final meeting

Free morning. Shopping.
Final review meeting.
Final dinner.

Day 14.

Transfer to airport.

Please contact us for additional information at anton@thephotoschool.ca, phone: (514) 815-1009

Photos by Alexandr Petrosyan and Roman Vezenin