The Art of the Wedding Photography & Design Workshop: Meet Jana Williams

Meet the teachers behind our Lake Como Photography & Design Workshop

With more details of L’Arte del Matrimonio (The Art of the Wedding in English) workshop coming together, more incredible designers, beautiful locations and details involved, we wanted to give you the opportunity to learn not only about what we’ll be doing at the workshop, what you’ll see (stunning Galia Lahav gowns!!) a bit more about each of the teachers that are behind this incredible trip. Photographers and designers are teaching this workshop that is open to photographers, designers and planners, with the goal of not only teaching you individual skills of your own career, but by showing you how important your relationships with each other is not only to further your career, create better work, but also to get published. We are thankful to have photo editor Rebecca Crumley of The Knot to chime in on that department of course!


Starting off the series of beautiful videos by Joel VanZ, is the charming Jana WilliamsMike Larson and I had the pleasure of meeting Jana at the Netherlands workshop back in March, where we all connected and became fast friends. We have had the opportunity to work on a few projects since then and it’s been so wonderful to work with her, have her listen and really hear me and allow me to direct her while contributing her wonderful feedback, bride/model interaction and great eye.  Fast forward to now, we are so excited to have yet another great European adventure and bring you along with us! So without further ado, meet Jana:

// jana williams // photographer // from Joel VanZ on Vimeo.


About Jana:

Jana Williams is an international award winning wedding photographer based in Hollywood,  California.  She has shot luxury weddings from Dubai to Lake Como Italy to New York.  Her clientele and portfolio is one to envy, not to mention her huge success with social media allowing her viewer to get to know her on a personal level, especially on her You Tube channel where she offers viewers video tutorials on how skills, social media and just talking about her start and how she got to where she is with an open heart and sweet southern accent.   With all of her success in the industry Jana has a reputation of being a very grounded artist that is easy and fun to work with.  We agree!


Check out some of Jana’s work below:

For more information on The Art of the Wedding Photography & Design workshop please visit:


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Luxury Wedding Workshop in Lake Como Italy

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Italian Photography & Design Wedding Workshop in Lake Como

With much excitement we are proud to announce L’Arte del Martrimonio, a luxury photography and design workshop being help November 11- 15 on the shores of Lake Como, Italy. Brought to you by Alchemy Fine Events, we are offering photography students the chance to learn under the talented shutterbugs Jana Williams and Mike Larson and designers and planners to learn under the direction of Vanessa Van Wieren of Alchemy Fine Events with beautiful styling and florals by Krista Jon and Archive Rentals. In addition to these creative talents we are also very excited to announce that Rebecca Crumley, photo editor of The Knot Magazine will be there to critique, trend forecast and talk about how to get published in this competitive market.


Students will be staying at the luxurious Hotel Imperiale and shooting at the incredible Villa Passalacqua, vacation home to Elton John, Victoria & David Beckham to name a few,  in addition to outdoor and lake locations. Student’s will get to work with each teacher in smaller groups as well to learn not only technical skills but also how to communicate more clearly with each other as the designer photographer relationship is crucial. We also be offering specialized breakaway groups such as boudoir shooting with Jana and portraits with Mike while planners and designers will be able to talk about the details the clients love, styling tips and tricks and walking through the creative process with ultimate goal being client success and of course getting published! Students will get to work with an incredible level of talented models and couture fashion designers such as the swoon-worthy gowns by Galia Lahav and other beautifully crafted works of art.


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While staying at Hotel Imperiale breakfast, lunch, aperitivo and dinners will be held in group settings for more one-on-one teacher time for Q&A over dining as well as glamourous styled dinners each evening with a black tie gala the last evening to wrap up the week.


What Vanessa will talk about…


With a plethora of creative details going into each of my events people always ask where do I even start this tedious process? The creative process is far too often taken for granted and really should be a methodical practice of starting with creativity and letting your visions soar as a whole before starting the smaller details. Approaching each event from a creative direction standpoint rather than coordination of smaller details not only will allow you to expand your creative vision but allow you to communicate visually with your clients and vendors.

In addition to the creative design and styling skills, I’ll be working with the photographers so that they learn to shoot with a design perspective while spotlighting each vendor involved in the wedding to ensure as much exposure for your work as possible to promote future collaborations for years to come.


What Jana will talk about…


Many people have asked me how I stand out in the wedding industry.  Above all, it’s about the work. However, I have found social media and precise branding to be one of the biggest catalysts for my success.  I am very excited to share my insight about developing, cultivating, and living your brand as well as specific way to use social media to get noticed and book jobs in the wedding industry.


lake como wedding72 What Mike will talk about…

Mike will have presentations and then open discussions for each topic section.  We’ll chat about these concepts: “how to be different in a sea of photographers”, shooting right the 1st time, the power of specializing & unique positioning, designing your business to fit your life (with freedom), how to brand yourself, well, walk through the images a full real Mike Larson wedding, Review top mistakes most photographers make.  Why and how to wow your clients.


Then we will go into the details:  Lighting - Curating - Personal Style Development - Marketing/Branding - Specialization - Presentation/Perception - Simple Album Design - Pricing - Building Client Relationships - Getting published & Submitting to blogs & magazines - Advertising - Lightroom, packaging, assistants, associates - yay or nay , speedy systems for editing in Lightroom, simple workflows.  How to keep having fun.


lake como wedding4 What  Rebecca will talk about…

Editors and designers have tricks and needs to what gets published. In our sessions, I’ll reveal how editorial content varies from what your clients want to see. Particularly, we’ll cover telling a story with your images and the subtle differences to get your shots noticed. We’ll go behind-the-scenes analyzing photo variety and necessary data to deliver a strong submission. I’ll also share my favorite tips for perfectly styled shots.


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The chance to shoot inside of the famous Villa Passalaqua is like non other.. With masterpieces hanging on the walls and the history of famous composers in its past this is truly an opportunity like non other and would be in invaluable addition to any portfolio. Please view more images of this historic gem below and visit  L’Arte del Matrimonio for more details.


Ci vediamo in Italia!!!

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Education to Destination: Italy Wedding Workshop by Alchemy Fine Events & Claudine Grin at Tenuta di San Giusto

 Italy Wedding Workshop Student Spotlight: Claudine Grin

One of my favorite part about designing for the Mike Larson Italy Wedding Workshop every year is getting to see how fantastically different each student’s interpretation of my design work is. Each person, and artist especially, sees life through a fresh set of eyes and that definitely holds true in the case of photographers.

Claudine Grin is a wedding photographer based in France that definitely blew me away with her soft and romantic style that captures light in such a delicate way. Her colors, softness of skin and almost dreamlike quality is one that I absolutely adore. If you are planning a wedding in Italy, wedding in France, or wedding in Europe for that matter, she should be a definite consideration to capture your big day.

See more of Claudine’s photos  (along with our next student spotlight star) featured on 100 Layer Cake here!!! Wedding Tuscany by Alchemy Fine Events


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Photography by Claudine Grin

Art Direction, Design, Styling, Flowers & Stationery: Vanessa Van Wieren of Alchemy Fine Events

The Luxury Villa: Tenuta di San Giusto

Fashion Styling: Stefania Warren

Bridal Fashion & Accessories: BHLDN

Groom Fashion: Zara Men

Bride Model: Carolina Rosini


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Tuscan Wedding Inspiration by Alchemy Fine Events & Mike Larson at Tenuta di San Giusto

Modern Seaside Tuscan Wedding Inspiration by Mike Larson at Tenuta di San Giusto

Last spring we held our 2nd annual Mike Larson Wedding Photography Workshop that we designed and styled at my dear friend Francesco’s villa in Chianti, Tuscany dating back to 01AD. This beautiful villa served as the perfect backdrop for a modern yet beachy interpretation of what our ideal Tuscan Wedding would look like by marrying our greatest passions in Italy, both the Tuscan hillsides and the Tuscan coast.

With inspirations of an Italian love story in mind, we created the vision of Terra e Mare, or Land and Sea for a new twist on a Tuscan Wedding for the Mike Larson Tuscany workshop. The story is this… a seaside beach beauty in love with a dapper polo player wed amidst the vineyards in Tuscany, bringing together the land and sea for a juxtaposition of styles.

 The invitation to this intimate Tuscan wedding featured modern typography on a textured cardstock that was carefully nestled inside of a dove gray silk invitation box with a seashell adornment on top.

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 This vintage green gem was tucked away in Francesco’s garage and was actually given to him by his father as a teen. It was truly a piece of art and was so perfect for our shoot!


Dressed for a casual yet romantic ceremony, our bride was styled in an ethereal ruffled skirt and vest by BHLDN. Our ‘sposabella’ cradled an eclectic bouquet featuring lush white peonies, lisianthus and gords with sea urchin shells nestled inside of them. Clad in a nautical inspired casual yet preppy attire, our groom’s garb boasted a royal blue blazer. After changing into casual glam evening look our ‘bella’ bride boasted a 40’s inspired beaded gown by BHLDN and dangled rhinestone and fabric earrings to make her eyes sparkle as she gazed upon her.
















 Set against the backdrop of the rolling vineyards of Chianti in a Romanesque villa, Tenuta di San Giusto was the locale for this magical Tuscan wedding shoot designed with modern, classical, seaside and rustic elements. For an updated twist we paired white mid-century modern Arne Jacobsen chairs with a rustic wine tasting room wood table and layered on vintage battenburg lace napkins, sterling silver chargers and bone inlaid flatware. To combine the romantic and modern inspirations onto the tablescape we painted leaves and greenery an opaque white and mixed them into the arrangements of white roses, lilies and lisianthus along side sea shells and neo-baroque candleabras.














Stay tuned for future updates on the next European workshop coming soon!  This Tuscan wedding inspiration workshop shoot was featured on Style Me Pretty seen here! 


Photography by Mike Larson

Art Direction, Design, Styling, Flowers & Stationery: Vanessa Van Wieren of Alchemy Fine Events

The Luxury Villa: Tenuta di San Giusto

Fashion Styling: Stefania Warren

Bridal Fashion & Accessories: BHLDN

Groom Fashion: Zara Men

Bride Model: Carolina Rosini

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