Venice Carnival 2016 – Top 10 Photo Tips

10 suggestions for photographing the Carnival of Venice

My father was born in a little village close to Venice and I remember my childhood spent around the calle (canals in the local dialect). I am not sure how many times we have been there, it was like living in Sydney center and going for the Sunday to Bondi, or from Melbourne to St.Kilda, just an easy trip along the lagoon.

The carnival was always the best time to be there as a kid. As soon as I grew up I spent less and less time there and more and more time travelling around the world. As a result I, of course, miss Venice and, most of all, the carnival time.

I love photography, and art generally speaking, and every corner of Venice is such a great inspiration. There is history in every brick and there are so many exhibitions and events, like the Biennale, that will keep every bit of your free time very very busy.

The city is just unique, you cannot find something similar in the world, a model used by other cities to be remembered as the Venice of the east, as Ayutthaya in Thailand or Kampong Ayer in Brunei.

Our collaborator and traveller Stephanie toured Venice in winter with some great photos and a beautiful story

Today we focus on the top 10 Venice Carnival 2016 photo tips:

Table of Contents

Saturdays and Sundays are really packed

Try to avoid these days, it can be really frustrating because there are incredible fancy dress around, but so many people you are hardly able to isolate any from the crowd

Everybody likes to be photographed, do not be shy

The people in fancy dressing like to be photographed, that is why they dress, to have fun

Take your business cards with you

Leave your website address around, there is a real information exchange between the people in fancy dressing and the photographers. Of course offer to send them the photos for free.


Guess what? Everybody wants to make a photo, a picture to take back home. Take your time and be respectful, don’t jump the queue

Start at 8-9am for some landscape photography including just few people

This is the time when it all starts. Only few people are around as the biggest crowd is usually coming from 10am onwards

Places to go

  • San Marco square is the main centre of action, however it is where most of the people go, making it more difficult to have the space for some great photos. Come here in the early morning after your landscape
  • San Zaccaria church and around, great place for fancy dressing photos, better in the afternoon
  • San Giorio Maggiore island, in front of San Marco square, on the other side of the Canal Grande. This is the sunset site to go, again fancy dressing, with such a picturesque background

Use a zoom lens only if you visit it during the week

Yes, you can use a zoom during the week to pick the fantastic mask too far away, maybe a 70-200, the quickest the best. But from Friday to Sunday there will be so many people that will be hard to have the empty space to isolate the subject

Take one or more lenses to cover 18 to 120

The main reason, especially on the weekend, is that you can:

  • 18-30 : make a wide shot of an interesting scene, foreground, event, happening
  • 50-85 : medium shot, an half/full body of a lovely fancy dress, so many opportunities
  • 90-120 : close-up, a face or dress detail

Forget the reflector, take a flash

Reflectors work great but there is just no space, too many people. Take a flash with you with a diffuser filter on top if you can, that will give enough light to the face and most important to the eyes

Check out the Figli di Bocco carnival

This is a carnival that is quite similar to the Venice one, very spectacular, however not as crowded. Yes, you don’t have Venice in the background, however you do have a lovely medieval village, which is as awesome

Venice Carnival 2016 – A talk with Angelo and his first experience?

All the photos for this post were made by Angelo Dinapoli, in his first experience at the Carnival.

How was the 2015 edition

It was my first time and it was really fascinating and captivating too. The Venetians live the carnival as nobody else in Italy. So many adults dressing in amazing costumes, sought-after, made of brocade and bright colour velvet.

What about your photography?

Look, I was really impressed by how easy is to approach people and make some interesting portraits of people in fancy dressing, everybody is so willing

The highlight of the day?

At 12 o’clock, the Carnival opening with the volo dell’angelo (the angel fly). A fancy dressed person flies over the crowd in the Piazza San Marco. Everybody in the square was open-mouthed

How busy was Venice during your visit?

It was really packed, especially at lunch time when it was almost impossible to walk in the small lanes and find a restaurant to have a break. I was really surprised to hear so many spoken languages, with a highest concentration of French.

Thanks Angelo and happy photography to everybody planning to visit the Carnival of Venice

You can contact Angelo on his Facebook page or his email

Accommodation in Venice

Nowadays, when I go to visit Venice I do it without saying anything to my family 🙂 . I like to take 2-3 days for myself just wondering through this immortal city. After that I show up as a surprise to my uncle door 🙂

My usual hotel is Hotel Antico Capon, in Dorsoduro, the student area of Venice. You get to experience more of the local life, with local restaurants and bars. Tourists are everywhere in Venice, however this area tends to be more inhabited by students and Venetians. Really something different

The hotel is 15-20mins walk from San Marco square

Other Venice Carnival pictures