“You never want to look in a mirror,” Lula said. “Men love mirrors. They look at themselves doing the deed and they see Rex the Wonder Horse. Women look at themselves and think they need to renew their membership at the gym.” Janet Evanovich, Seven Up

Women are completely different creatures to men. There are more women than there are men and we have a much earlier sell by date. The suggestions from the mass media and fashion world lead most women to believe they should really look like fourteen year olds. These and other social factors have created unrealistic aesthetic ideals, which have riddled most women with an infinity of complexes. Most men are at very least accepting of the way they look. If they are Italian and uglier than a mussel (Italian saying), they will still find a mirror irresistible.

Most women shred photographs of themselves. The most common thing I am told by a bride is that she is not photogenic. Even features men find attractive like a big bottom, can send many women into a tiring and endless spiral of self-hate.

I spent 20 years hating the way I Iooked. Which wasn’t really surprising considering that at 19 I weighed 98kg. I was told I would never change anything I did not know and accept first. Years later, I have lost all the weight but have many days where I feel like a hippo with PMS. I have taken to taking images of myself just then, when I feel fat and ugly. The remarkable thing is, I am never as fat or as ugly as I think I am. The really strange thing is, the better you feel about yourself, the easier it is to take care of yourself. Self-hate is an energy drainer.

I love the look on a woman’s face when she sees a picture of herself that she does not hate and maybe even likes a little. It’s become my obsession. Maybe because I know what it’s like to be crippled by the life threatening disease of self hate. Isn’t it strange how when we look in the mirror, what we see is completely tainted by our emotions and preconceived ideas and beliefs. But something magical happens with a photograph. Some how a photograph is far less tainted by our toxins of self-hate.

A wedding day is one of the most beautiful days in one’s life. It is also one of the most stressful. Being stressed is bad enough but having your photograph taken, when you are stressed and hate having your photograph taken can be pure torture. Brides tell me I look better in spontaneous images because I am un-photogenic and I hate the way I look in pictures. But the truth be told, the less photogenic and the more complexed you are, the more you will benefit from a little posing to hide the parts you don’t like.

This does not mean there will be non-spontaneous images. But rather that time should be made to shoot some flattering portraits. And there is no better person to do it with than a person who knows what it means to hate the way one looks. Men can never really understand this side to women. Men don’t realise that the very first thing a woman looks at when she sees an image of herself is if she is looking okay. Most girls don’t even expect beautiful, they are happy just to accept something that is not humiliating or devastating. What do I mean by devastating? Winged arms, double chins or cellulite. Equally terrifying are ridiculously embarrassing poses. Most men don’t notice these things and few are sensitive enough to make insecure female subjects at ease. (NOTICE I SAY MOST MEN).

Having lost 30 kg three times, I have gained a unique ability to make people feel at ease and more accepting of themselves. Passing on the light gives meaning to my work.

“It is an absolute human certainty that no one can know his own beauty or perceive a sense of his own worth until it has been reflected back to him in the mirror of another loving, caring human being.” John Joseph Powell, The Secret of Staying in Love

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The facts about our video service.

One has to make a decision about what is most important to you; video or photography. Unless you want your wedding day to overnight turn out to be a full on production, you have to give priority to one. To do a high quality video you need, a hair mike and a sound guy, two video operators (one with a tripod and one with a steady cam) and a lot of time. Video takes more time than photography because you snap a picture and it’s done. Video you have to let time pass. When video services are provided at this level it will cost as much if not more than photography services.

It is very difficult to shoot a wedding properly when two videographers are pushing you out the way. We offer a discreet backstage reproduction of the day with as little fuss as possible. Our studio gives priority to the photography. However if the videography is more important to you we also offer HD video services.

Some more frequently asked questions – part 04

How long after, the wedding, will it be before we see our pictures?

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This is dependant on both the type of package you choose, and also yourselves. For the digital packages (in which you just receive all of your photos on DVD), these are turned around in usually within a week. If you choose to have an album with your package, you will be first given all of your proofs (small images of all the photos), usually also within a week, and from there you are able to choose the photos that you want to include in your album. The album is then carefully put together in studio here, and will be ready 3 months from the day that we receive your choices.

Will our pictures be posted on your website? What else will you

be able to do with our pictures after the wedding?

Your pictures that you choose to include in your album (should you choose an album), will be posted on our website, which you can login and access with a personal password.




Some more frequently asked questions – part 03

Do you have insurance to cover the cost of re-taking photos in case anything goes wrong?

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No –

no photographer in Italy will provide you with this type of Insurance. Due to many insurance scams, particularly in South Italy, this kind of insurance is rarely offered or ridiculously expensive. We have a legally binding contract, which upholds us to all of our promises.

Some more frequently asked questions – part 02

What time of day is best for the photos? We have the church booked at 4pm and then the reception drinks will probably commence about 6pm?

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Will we agree a set of “must have” formal photos?

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Yes – about a month before your wedding, I will send you a ‘about you and your wedding form’. Here we go over all of the things you want included or don’t want included, important family and friend group photos. Also if you have any self-conscious aspects that you don’t particularly like photographed, we address it all.

Some more frequently asked questions – part 01

If we hire you will you personally take the photos on the day? Is it just you or do you have an assistant?

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It depends which photographer you book. You can choose to book me, Gianni or Francesco, and then that person will be the photographer to show up on the day. Dependent on the package you choose, each photographer is nearly always provided also with a trained and shooting assistant (only the mini packages are 1 photographer only)


Why do you have a booking manager?

Firstly I can not handle clients and money. I feel it’s such a personal service I feel bad charging and get all weird about things. It’s hard to insist you are worth a certain price. I give away a lot and give huge discounts. Well I was, that is untill my booking manager banned me from discussing money with clients. I can only do so many weddings a year before I start to loose my hair. So my booking manager tires to get me the best work and prices available.

Secondly I need to focus on photography. We get many more requests than we getting bookings and keeping admin in line is not any easy task. And I did try once to do it all myself but my photography really suffered. Instead my booking manager arranges meeting with clients who are sure and keeps everything perfect. I could never get through a season without my booking manager. If you ask me at anytime if I am free for a date. I could not tell you. Unless of course it’s next week. A booking manager means my mind will be free of red tap ready to focus on your wedding.

Should I feed my photographer?

This is a difficult one. In Italy the photographer considers the meal as part of the deal. However we consider it a privilege and so you just need to let us know if you feel it’s asking too much. That way I can organise something with the venue but I do need to organise something since I cannot work more than five or six hours without a at least snack. I run around a lot and I have to refuel. I don’t expect to eat what your guests do but a simple pasta and a coke will do nicely. And maybe a quick espresso. So no you don’t have to feed your photographer but at least let them eat.

There are always brides who will take it to the opposite extreme. They will insult some poor guest by putting the photographer on their table. Spelling out, you are on the bottom ranking old chap. Although I am very grateful for the kind gesture of putting me on a guests table I find it does distract me from my work. I do have to loose a little time to socialise when I sit with guests, even if it’s just enough not to be rude. During dinner between courses I like to be on the hunt and during the food I download and check photos. It’s best to organise a separate room, even the hotel’s staff quarters, so that I don’t have to be spreading out equipment at the table.

Selecting the albums

The ideal album for me is the black leather deluxe. It’s timeless, neutral and keeps the focus on the images. A black background makes the images pop off the page. Don’t take my word for it, place a few pictures on light and then dark backgrounds and you will see what I mean. I get a few requests for white albums every year. If you choose a white album then I make you sign a piece of paper that says you understand white gets grubby and that you have to view the white album with cotton white glove (really).

Selecting the images

Now if I do a good job this will be the worst job of your life. So where to start. Download the preview/ web folder onto your computer. Throw away those you hate. Start three folders, Love, like, unsure. Start to make a time line putting the most important and liked images in first. Many have to stop right there but if you don’t have enough in the love folder you can dip into the other two. Put them in order. Show them to close family and friends for opinions. Then do what your heart tells you.

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Creating your wedding album

I think it’s important o have an idea or a theme. Somewhere to start from. Lets say you love 1950 vintage. We go in with black and white in mind but we have an open mind. Because if there is a gorgeous colour image it’s a pity to turn it into a black and white images because it does not fit into how you think the structure will be. Often we start with one idea and find the images tell us how they would like to be put together. And the album turns out much better than if you try to control the whole process. Creativity is a process and has a life of it’s own. If you are an artist you will know what I mean. Personally I believe all humans are artists.

How much of each style of wedding photography?

Reportage 70%
Portraits 10%
Details 5%
Groups 5%
Landscapes 5%

And lets save 5 % for the unexpected. The perfect balance is different for every couple. Some couple elope and it’s just the two of them. It’s impossible just to do candids of two people. As a general rule of thumb it’s harder to do reportage the smaller the group. With elopement couples we tend to like portraits the most. But we also do albums which are one hundred percent reportage. Many couples ask for reportage but when they show me which of my pictures they like, they nearly always show me posed pictures i.e. portraits which do not look posed.

How do I know if you are the photographer for me?

Have a look at my website to see the weddings displayed there from beginning to end. This way you can be sure I offer what you are looking for.

It is important to realise that the images, album, etc. are only part of what I offer. I also pride myself on offering the best kind of personal service. I encourage you to discuss all your thoughts and concerns with me. Each and every wedding is important to me and I spend a lot of time and effort on every detail, before, during and after the wedding. To get really good pictures you need to feel there is a friend who has an idea of who you are and what you want from the day of your wedding. I consider it part of my job to go this extra mile, since my photographs will be all that remain after the cake has been eaten.

What can I do to ensure that my photos will be great?

It is important to realise that my level of photographic skill remains the same for each wedding. What makes the difference between “good” and “great” photos is when my clients have gone that extra mile. I love it when my clients play along with me, rather than try to hide from the camera.

It is also very important to give me ample time. The worst thing is to be running late and for the day to be a huge rush. The best time is in between the church and the reception. The more time I have, the better the photos will be. At this time we can take any group photos you like, but also some with just the bride and groom. This can be a great time for you to catch your breath and enjoy some time alone together.

How do I know how long I need to book you for?

It really depends on what you want and the kind of wedding you are having. For most weddings I arrive 1.5 to 2 hours before the ceremony to capture the bridal party getting ready and to take a few portraits of the bride and groom before the ceremony. Most people then like me to stay for speeches, cake cutting and a little bit of dancing at the reception. However, every wedding is different and I work to suit my clients’ wishes.

Do we get to keep the negatives?

As I shoot digital, the negatives are essentially a DVD. As mentioned above, if you wish to purchase the DVD with the best 350 images of the day, this will be your set of negatives, which you can use to print and reprint as you wish. I also keep copies of the photos on DVD as a backup both for myself and for you.

What if I want to order additional prints?

Copies and prints of all the images taken at the wedding are available to order on the web. Should you desire, they may be protected from public viewing with a secret code. If you choose to purchase the DVD with the 350 best images of the day, you have my permission to print and reprint these photos, but you may not print or copy proofs (these are watermarked to prevent copying/printing).

Choosing the Traditional White album

While white albums are traditionally beautiful, we do try to steer people away from them – only because they become worn and dirty so quickly. If you do have your heart set on a white album, however, we do stock them – you might just have to invest in a pair of “album viewing gloves”. We are also now producing a coffee table digital album which can be white and laminated. A very modern funky effect and it’s wipe able. For those girls who won’t settle for anything but white. I repeat the silk white album is delicious but it’s like a pair of fendi shoes; beautiful but impractical.

Can I choose the photos for the album myself?

Usually my clients ask me to choose the images for their albums. This is because I have an artist’s eye and I am able to carefully construct the storyline and make the most of the themes and colours – not to mention that this is a painstaking and time-consuming process! Having said that, a wedding album is a very personal thing, and some clients like to choose their own photos. I am able to offer my clients the added option of digital proofing. This means I send you 350 images on CD (in small format, 300px by 300px, the same size my large images appear on my website). You can select from here the images you would like in your album. The 350 images will not have been touched up yet and so will look quite different from the finished product.

You say you shoot around 1000 photos on the day, however your packages offer only up to 100 photos in the album…

… What happens to the rest ?
For your album, only the 100 most fabulous photographs are selected. These will be chosen to tell your story, the story of your wedding day. I also give my clients the option to buy a DVD that contains 350 of the best images of the day. Why not all 1000? Well, with reportage photography, there are always a lot of funny faces, closed eyes, etc. I will place only the best 350 on the DVD.

How do I decide which package is right for me?

You need to ask yourselves:
Do you want a professionally presented album, with touched up photos, or do you just want all of your photos from the day given to you on a DVD so that you can make your own album?
Do you want a video made?
Do have a cake cutting ceremony at a set time that you want to be included?
Are you and your groom both getting ready at the same hotel?
Are your ceremony and reception located close together?
How many guests will you have?
What is your budget?

How do I make a booking?

The best way is to send me an email so that I can confirm availability, let you know about prices and answer any questions you might have. If you then wish to make a booking, I will hold the date for you. The booking will be confirmed once I receive a signed copy of the contract and a deposit.

Colour versus black and white…

This will depend on your preferences. I usually try to shoot nearly everything in colour. Colour images can easily be converted to BW. I then choose which version to go with based on the mood of the scene. There are parts of the day I prefer in black and white. I really enjoy the ceremony in BW and the getting ready in bw. I also find that grooms look good in black and white.

Do you work alone?

Dependant on your package, I nearly always work with an assistant photographer who will also take photos on the day, ensuring that we never miss a moment. When I am shooting the bride entering the church, my assistant is able to catch the reaction of the groom and guests. In addition, my assistant photographer and I have different approaches to photography, which adds interest and contrast to your album. (Please note however that if choosing the Basic Packages, as stated on the price list, only one photographer is provided)

Will there be any posing for photos?

I do not pose my clients into over-romanticised, traditional poses. I may offer a few suggestions, like looking in a certain direction or trying not to smile for a few “serious” photos, but my usual instructions to my clients is to act natural and try to pretend I’m not there. This can be difficult initially, but believe me, after half an hour or so you will get so used to me that I will become part of the furniture.

Why do I have to pay a deposit?

Two days ago a mother of a bride called me to cancel, two months before her daughters wedding. I had already turned down two large weddings because I was booked. When she called I went scampering off to see if the other couples had already booked other photographers which they had. Now although I have promised the cancelling bride that if I manage to sell the date she would not loose her deposit. But it’s unlikely that I sell the date at this late stage. So the thirty percent deposit helps cover the loss of earnings incurred. I am sorry for the bride who is cancelling because she had a change of heart, but I am running a business. I have a booking manager because I am a big softie when it comes to the hard stuff. A big softie who was making no money till I hired my precious booking manager.

Great photographers book fast

Good photographers limit the number of weddings they do each year and so book up quickly. Make sure you do your research fast and don’t leave it till the last minute. I often get calls from desperate brides who have left things for the last minute and can’t find ANY photographer at all. If you book a year in advance you will find that may get better prices since the prices often increase the next year. Make sure you choose well and you are sure. Once you are sure about your choice make sure you get a deposit paid and a contract signed. Then you can be relaxed about the most important investment of the day. Because it’s the most important investment of the day it should be the first one you take care of.

Why is wedding photography so expensive?

The answer is simple it’s very hard work. It’s difficult to get it right and very few do. In order to stay on the game, a wedding photographer has to keep updating knowledge, equipment and skills, every year. And this is very expensive.

There are a few who do it well, even under such huge pressure and they do it with a smile. There is a great demand for these dedicated few and so they can command their prices.

If you ask any photographer why they are not a wedding photographer they will most likely reply that it’s difficult and too much hard work. A wedding photographer has to be good at nearly all kinds of photography from portraits and interiors; to still lives and landscapes. Most couples like at least some reportage and photojournalism. These styles require extreme skill and are very difficult due to all the dynamic conditions like light and time. They will not only have to be good but also they will need to be fast and work well under stress. They will need excellent people skills to deal with all the different people involved.

Popular wedding photographers are always expensive, the more popular they are the more expensive they will be. Becoming a popular photographer means they have worked on their skills for years and deliver their best year after year. This is easily checked with references. Unfortunately the old proverb stands true, “you get what you pay for”.

There is a huge responsibility placed on the shoulders of a wedding photographer. Added to this pressure is the limited time, the groom who does not want to be shot, the mother in law who wants five hundred groups, the priest who want her to stand at the back of the church and all your guests with their digital camera who keeps standing in front of her at all the important moments. It takes a special skilled person to deliver breath taking results every time, no matter what the conditions or pressure levels. And if they are this good every time, it means they work so hard at it that they have no life.

So why the strict rules with meetings?

Now as we all know, practise makes perfect. So I should be practising my photographic skills, so that you will have the best wedding images every seen. If I spend my time on clients who aren’t sure I loose a lot of practise time. Already if I just see the people who book me, we are looking at over 50 meetings. Added on the second meeting and ten who don’t take me. It means I do 100 meeting in a year. Which is fine when it’s a constructive meeting but really frustrating when someone is unprepared and unconvinced.
Each and every wedding and couple are important to me and I promise you everything but try and remember it’s a balancing act.

What are the things I can do to make the meeting productive?

1.The number one rule is come prepared.

2. have a list of questions prepared you want to ask me, so that you leave the meeting feeling satisfied.

3.make sure you have seen and accept my pricelist, I do not discuss prices with clients. All such queries must be done before hand with my booking manager.

4. have a look at other photographers

5.please don’t be late. I know I am offering a service and that I should be at your service but I often plan meet and greet days. And if my first appointment is late… things go pear shaped.

6.make sure you have read through the contract and the info on my website

What to do when it’s impossible to meet?

Sometimes during the summer season it’s absolutely impossible to meet. In June I shoot nearly everyday and so it can sometimes be impossible to meet. Also for international weddings outside of Italy it really becomes difficult to meet. So what can you do to help me to get to know you?

1. skype me… just as good as meeting in person really
2. write me long letters all about you
3. send me pictures of you
4. add me to facebook
5. send me pictures you love

Of course you can do all of the above even if you do get a chance to meet me.

The second meeting

A second meeting can be good just before the wedding to go over details and reassure clients. I like to send off a wedding form to each couple a few weeks before their wedding. I ask them to list the most important details like venues address, group photographs required, styles they enjoy etc. This form is very important because I could never remember all the details mentioned at a meeting. I do over 60 meetings a year and it’s impossible to remember everybody’s details. This way I have everything on the form and I am able to discuss finer details like timing at this second meeting.

The next stage – the meeting

Then once this chemistry has been certified and you have seen our pricelist, and you are still interested in me I am more than happy to meet. I bring along album examples and we discuss details, photography, venues, tastes, styles… and sometimes life in general. We will laugh, plan, whisper and giggle some more. But it will be a comfortable meeting with my clients prepared. Knowing which questions they want to ask. I don’t want to convince anyone to take me. If clients aren’t sure about my work then I am not the photographer for them. Most clients come to the meetings pretty sure they love the work but not sure about the nutter behind the camera. So I prefer this meeting to be about my new relationship with my client.

The chemistry phone call

The best solution is a nice long chin wag on the phone before actually booking me. I am not everybody’s cup of tea. A quick phone call can establish if there can be magic between us. Clients don’t realise that often it is me who is interviewing them and trying to decide if things will work between us. If there will be any magic.

This magic is an absolute must when it comes to making beautiful pictures. I can usually tell in the first three minutes of a chat if a bride and I are going to gel. I have recommended other photographers in the past to brides I felt were needing a different kind of photographer. If I don’t like the people I shoot, it’s hard to make special images. And if you don’t like me, well then you would be just silly hiring me. So basically we both have to feel the love.

Am I your cup of tea?

First read what you can on my website and on my blog. See a whole bunch of pictures till you can’t look anymore. Check out the prices and your budget. Ask my booking manager for some references to contact. By now you will have a good idea of my achievements, styles and personality. If you still fancy me chasing you around on your wedding day… it’s time to make that call.

Bonding – the reason to meet or not meet with you photographer.

aving said that I try to see all my couples before their weddings to establish trust and a common game plan. I am a little silly, quite fun and sensitive so quite easy to bond with. And because I will need to “climb into the head” of the couple bonding is essential. If I am going to be their eyes for the day, I will need to be treated like a new best friend. Which is sometimes not easy and may seem artificial but worth the effort. Even the guests will treat me differently if they see I am friends with my clients. Which all means better images and a relaxed, fun atmosphere


Should you meet your photographer before your wedding?

Just last night i was kept waiting an hour and forty minutes for a bride and her wedding planner. Who arrived and made it quite obvious that she was not in the least interested in my work. Why did she waste my time? I have so precious little to spend with my son. I am not into hard sales. I am not prepared to go to a meeting to convince anyone. If you are not already 90% sure from seeing my work on line, I am not the photographer for you. Simple. Sound rude?

In the past I have make many sacrifices for my brides but now that I am older I have realised that it’s not necessary to be a slave at their beck and call. I am a person with a family and my services are not life giving. As my friend Rikkie likes to regularly remind me I am not a brain surgeon. So although I find it absolutely essential to meet a new couple before their wedding, I don’t want to waste my time or theirs. It’s enough I bond with them after they as sure they want me.

Why are good wedding photographers so expensive?

Firstly wedding photography is very difficult. Often the subjects are not models, there is loads of stress, very limited time, dynamic lighting conditions, relationships, grumpy priests, and Aunty Lucy who keeps jumping in front of us during the rings… the list is endless.

You have to be really good at a number of kinds of photography e.g. landscape, portraits, interiors, groups… you name it..

Photographers in general have quite a snobby attitude towards wedding photography. No one studying photography will admit to wanting to be a wedding photographer. Fashion, advertising etc. The best students go there and apparently the rest of us become wedding photographers. Well it turns out there are only a few really good wedding photographers out there. Serious photography lovers know that it's worth paying for and ruin it for everybody else.

Basically a photographer can only do a few weddings every year before they start to loose chunks of hair. The limit at a max is around fifty, as nearly all weddings fall in summer. So because they get more requests than they can do they need to make themselves more expensive. It's the old and simple supply and demand law. It's a sad truth that the photographer who won't give you a discount has loads of work and will fill your date anyway. This is often because they are good.

Ever been to Venice and fallen for the “tourist menu” and felt robbed. Paying a little for rubbish is expensive. Paying a lot for something which requires study and work, and which is of a supreme quality is value for money.


Why do I have to pay the balance on the day?

I have couples who have still not chosen the final images five years after their wedding. Then got one got divorced and could not have cared less what I did with their wedding pictures. So once bitten twice shy and all of that. It’s also a day that couples have the money, a few months down the line couples often go through post wedding spending blues.