Botanica Intima with Laurie Tennent

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Photographic Botanical Portraits with Laurie Tennent


Immerse yourself in the beauty of Tuscany and develop techniques to form an intimate relationship with nature and light, and create botanical portraits as you capture their essence and develop a style of your own. 

We’ll spend a week surrounded by the inspiration of the Tuscan landscape where we’ll dig into the origins of botanical illustration, the appearance of flowers in classical paintings, and research dynamic floral contemporary photography.

Plus, we’ll be collecting plants and flowers to experiment with back in the classroom at our private villa.

Each day you’ll enjoy assignments in the field, after which we’ll share our images  in a group critique where I’ll provide personal advice on both the technical editing and artistic aspects of flower and plant photography, drawn from my own passion – and 30 years of experience.


Laurie Tennent is an American photographer known for her distinctive, dramatic botanical images. Laurie holds a BFA from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit and exhibits her collections in botanic gardens, galleries internationally, as well as museums – with installations both interior and as outdoor sculpture.

Her work is part of many public and private collections including, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris, The Mira Goddard Center for Photography at Ryerson University, Toronto ,The Detroit Institute of Arts, Kresge Art Foundation, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, The Gap/Doris Fisher Collection and the Chicago Botanic Garden. 

With an acute sensitivity to today’s persistent digital noise, Tennent’s collection of intimate portraits command attention by returning us to our most primitive and organic roots. Isolating delicate living structures and amplifying them on a massive scale transports the viewer to a serene space where we are encouraged to breathe and to reconnect with the simple beauty of these objects. 

Click here to visit Laurie’s website.


  • the history of the botanical image
  • camera operation essentials
  • lighting, focus and aperture choices
  • ideal depth of field 
  • exceptional composition
  • a variety of subject and background choices
  • how to develop your own personal style
  • artistic applications
  • editing techniques for finishing images in Photoshop or Lightroom
  • ideas for creating a beautiful portfolio
  • tips on how to sell and present your work


DAY 1 ~ Sunday, September 19: Villa Poggio alle Trese

  • Highlights: Arrival at Poggio alle Trese, welcome tour, workshop orientation with Laurie
  • Aperitivo, dinner

Benvenuti in Italia! Upon your arrival, sit back and relax as your private driver transports you from Rome Fiumicino Airport to Villa Poggio alle Trese, and the spectacular Tuscan countryside. Here you’ll be surrounded by the region’s quintessential olive groves, vineyards and cypress-lined lanes! Upon arrival, you’ll take a tour of the villa and grounds, followed by time to settle in and explore before meeting up with Laurie for an overview of what you can expect on this extraordinary workshop. Afterwards, enjoy an inviting aperitivo, followed by a regional-style dinner served up by our own talented Chef Lorenza. 

DAY 2 ~ Monday, September 20: Villa Poggio alle Trese

  • Highlights: Instruction with Laurie at villa
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

This morning you’ll enjoy a delicious, abundant breakfast before joining Laurie for both group and individual instruction as you begin your  inspirational, hands-on learning. Note that throughout the workshop, you will need a laptop, with Photoshop or Lightroom installed , a jump drive and your own DLSR or Mirrorless camera. It is beneficial to have a long telephoto lens and or a macro lens with your gear. If you’d like to rent some of the necessary equipment, Laurie recommends

After a delicious buffet-style lunch, prepared by chef Lorenza, it’s time for an afternoon of practice with Laurie’s expert guidance. In late afternoon, you’ll join Lorenza for a special “herb walk”, where you’ll learn about how Italians use herbs, both in the kitchen and for wellness. Be sure to bring along your camera for some up-close shots! Afterwards, it’s time for an aperitivo together with Laurie – the ideal time to look back on the day with fellow students. Dinner this evening features Tuscan specialties.

DAY 3 ~ Tuesday, September 21: Puscina Flower Farm

  • Highlights: Visit and lunch at organic flower farm, onsite photography instruction with Laurie
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Today, after a delicious breakfast, it’s off to Puscina Flowers organic flower farm, where sisters Mara, Teresa and Laura grow a plethora of native flower varieties and plants, in a true farm setting. Surrounded by the Tuscan countryside, you’ll take a tour of the organic gardens, followed by an onsite photography lesson with Laurie. How special! Afterwards you’ll enjoy a delicious home-made lunch under the centuries-old olive tree, prepared by Mamma herself, along with an excellent local vino, of course.

After lunch it’s back to the villa for afternoon for continued instruction time with Laurie, followed by a friendly aperitivo together. Dinner, prepared by Chef Lorenza, will feature local dishes and vino.

DAY 4 ~ Wednesday, September 22: Val d’Orcia, Monticchiello

  • Highlights: Early morning exploration and photography in Tuscany’s Val d’Orcia, on your own exploration and lunch in Monticchiello, wine and food pairings
  • Breakfast, dinner

This morning’s coffee and light breakfast will be taken in route as you head into Tuscany’s gorgeous Val d’Orcia, one of the most photographed areas of the region. Here you’ll have the opportunity to capture classic, Tuscan farmhouses, winding cypress lanes, sweeping fields and hill top villages. 

At lunchtime, you’ll make a stop in the medieval town of Monticchiello, with its fortressed walls and winding alleyways, overlooking the expansive valley below. Here you’ll enjoy lunch on your own, along with time to wander, explore and capture the town’s essence with your camera.

Afterwards, you’ll continue back to the villa for continued instruction with Laurie, followed by aperitivo and dinner featuring wine and food pairings by delightful sommelier, Paola.

DAY 5 ~ Thursday, September 23: Villa la Foce, Chiusi

  • Highlights: Tour and instruction with Laurie at Villa la Foce, Giardino Etrusco Chiusi, pizza night  
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

This morning after breakfast, it’s off to the studio with Laurie, for both group and individual instruction, as you review the last days of photography. Lunch is served up right here at the villa, followed by some free time to relax poolside or take a walk on the nearby lane.

In the afternoon, our driver will be transporting you to historic, Villa la Foce, overlooking the Val d’Orcia, where you’ll take a guided tour and learn the fascinating history of the house. The gardens feature various plant varieties, including classic box hedges and lemon trees, and after your tour you’ll enjoy onsite instruction time here with Laurie. Then it’s on to the ancient village of Chiusi, for a fascinating walk through the town’s historic park, featuring Etruscan relics, before heading to our friend, Pino’s, pizzeria for a classic, Tuscan-style pizza!

DAY 6 ~ Friday, September 24: San Casciano dei Bagni

  • Highlights: Thermal pools at Fonteverde, lunch at Daniela’s, instruction with Laurie
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

This morning, after a light breakfast at the villa, it’s off to Fonteverde Resort and Spa where you’ll enjoy a morning of relaxation as you soak in the thermally heated pools. Known worldwide for its mineral rich, restorative waters, Fonteverde is the ultimate way to relax and reflect on the past days spent exploring and learning with Laurie. 

Afterwards, you’ll continue on to the nearby village of San Casciano dei Bagni, where you’ll meet our friend, Daniela, and enjoy a fabulous, Tuscan-style lunch in her restaurant, nestled under the massive walls of the town’s castle.

In afternoon it’s back to the villa for a final session with Laurie, and a bit of time on your own. Aperitivo this evening includes a fun, bruschetta-making lesson, followed by special farewell dinner prepared by Lorenza.

DAY 7 ~ Saturday, September 25: Departure

This morning our drivers will transport you to Rome Fiumicino Airport.



Your accommodations are beautiful Poggio alle Trese, a 17th century villa, nestled along the border of Tuscany and Umbria, near the town of Chiusi (Tuscany). The villa boasts number living rooms, sweeping terraces for dining or lounging, swimming pool, elegant breakfast room and grand dining hall. Sleeping rooms are furnished with family antiques and offer either an ensuite bathroom or shared bathroom (max 2 guests per bathroom). Rooms options are made available upon booking. View photos of Villa Poggio alle Trese here. 


  • 7 days/6 nights at elegant Villa Poggio alla Trese, situated in the picturesque countryside near the charming Tuscan hill town of Chiusi.
  • Group transportation to/from Rome Fiumicino Airport on arrival and departure dates 
  • Private transport service to/from all cities, towns and sites included in the itinerary
  • All abundant breakfasts, featuring fresh-baked Tuscan pastries, organic sheep’s milk yogurt, local cheeses, seasonal fruits, organic cereal, & fresh eggs, plus Italian caffè, cappuccino and herbal teas.
  • All regionally inspired dinners with local wines 
  • 4 lunches
  • Aperitivo hour each evening
  • Wine pairings dinner with sommelier
  • Fireside bruschetta lesson
  • Visit, tour and lunch at organic flower farm
  • Tour of gardens at Tuscany villa
  • Historic “Etruscan” park
  • Pizza night!
  • Visit to thermally heated pools at Fonteverde Luxury Spa and Resort
  • Extensive in-field and in-studio instruction with Laurie
  • Individual critiques with Laurie

Not included: Airfare, ground or water transportation outside of that listed in the trip itinerary, alcoholic drinks, wines or meals ordered “on your own”, gratuities for drivers and villa staff

The Unexpected is Part of the Journey: Although we are weaving amazing, authentic experiences into this trip, sometimes unexpected things come up. If a site has an unscheduled closing, we improvise to include something equally as wonderful and interesting. The quality of the trip is never at risk, as our hosts at Strada Toscana are committed to excellence, along with their vast Italian connections.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED for this Workshop

  • Laptop computer with Photoshop or Lightroom installed
  • Jump drive
  • DLSR or mirrorless camera
  • Long telephoto lens and or macro lens
  • Note: You can also rent gear from


  • 7 Days/6 Nights
  • Dates:
    • September 19-25, 2021
  • Trip Price (choose your room configuration upon booking):
    • $3,925 USD, single occupancy room with ensuite bathroom
    • $3,775 USD double occupancy room with ensuite bath (this option is available for 2 people traveling together)
    • $3,775 USD, single occupancy room with shared bathroom (max 2 of same gender per shared bathroom)
    • $500 deposit plus 7 monthly payments (automatically charged to the same credit card) … available for a limited time