Hello! My name is Andrea and I am a luxury destination wedding photographer and Rangefinder Rising Star based in the UK. I come from the jagged snow-covered peaks of the Dolomites in Italy but currently live by the sea in the UK with my wife, two cats, and a squirrel that likes to come to visit us from time to time in our garden.
I love to work with unique couples and shoot weddings of all shapes and sizes around the world. My style of photography has been described as cinematic, emotive and echoing a dark romance.
Let me take you on a journey of what’s inside my camera bag, and give you some insight into how I like to work.
Canon EOS R6 x 2 – I started my photography career shooting mirrorless Olympus micro 4:3 cameras. I have always been a big fan of mirrorless for the simple fact that they make shooting very instinctive with the ability to see the exposure live directly in your viewfinder. This allows me to focus on the action, emotion and composition rather than worry about exposure and missing key moments.
I love shooting with them. They are lightweight, silent even with mechanical shutter mode, have two memory card slots for peace of mind, incorporate within them superb autofocusing technology at low light (including eye detection which comes in handy in key moments), they have a great dynamic range, are stabilised and very reliable.
On a wedding day, my goto lenses are the 24mm and the 50mm, but I also carry with me the 35mm and the 85mm as well, which I will use throughout the day.
Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM – This is my desert island lens. I have this lens on one of my R6’s bodies ninety-nine per cent of the time. I know it’s slower than the 85mm f/1.8 (which I also own but rarely bring with me anymore) but I just love the versatility of this lens, the flair you can generate, and the fact it is lightweight and discrete compared to the 85mm or the 35mm.
The shallow depth of field at f/1.2 is insanely creamy and the 50mm is so versatile. It is a great portrait and documentary lens in one, combining the best of the 85mm and the 35mm in one comparatively light package. I always shoot it without the lens hood to welcome glare and flare effects.
Canon EF 24mm f/1.4 L USM – I love the look of the 24mm. I find it is a great addition to my 50mm when I am on my two-camera setup. It has some distortion, but I find that this gives its own character and signature look. I also find it incredibly useful as an architectural lens, allowing me to capture fantastic environmental and contextual portraits and scenes. Equally, it is brilliant in those tight spaces when you just need to open up the frame a bit more. Like with all of my lenses, I shoot this wide open ninety per cent of the time.
Canon EF 35mm f/1.4 II L USM – At some points during the wedding day, I switch to a one-camera set-up so that I can be more discrete and light using my 35mm lens. This lens is excellent for documentary work but also wonderful for close-up detail shots. I tend to shoot this lens wide open just like with my 50mm. It’s one of the heaviest lenses in my kit, but so worth the added weight and bulk.
Canon EF 85mm f/1.4 L USM – This was one of the first lenses I bought but one of my least used. In fact, up to recently, I left it at home most of the time. However, since it saved me at a wedding once when my 50mm died in the first 2 minutes of the 18 hour day I now bring it along all of the time.
It is known as a wonderful lens for portraits, but I rarely use it for this purpose because I just love my 50mm to bits. However, it allows me to zoom into the moment in situations where I can’t get too close, like in the ceremony for example. I also love to use it during speeches, to capture close-ups of reactions and speakers alike.
When possible I shoot natural light because I like the challenge of working with available conditions but I also enjoy the quality the natural light provides. However, flash becomes a must when the sun sets and the dance floor starts to come alive. I travel with my GODOX V860II-C strobe and a Godox Xpro trigger on one of my bodies.
I also carry with me the Metz Mecalight S500 BC. It is smaller than my iPhone and it has a really powerful video light. I rarely use it but comes in useful in the event I need a constant light source and where flash is not really an option. It also serves me well to add some extra light to detailed shots, for example, the ring. I love the added ease of being able to change the light temperature directly on the light itself and that it’s light and small enough to fit into my pocket.
My go-to bag is a trusty Domke F-2. It is a very ‘old school’ bag with no bells and whistles, refreshingly simple and incredibly capable. It allows me to carry and access everything I need. It is cheap and comfortable, meaning that I don’t have to be too precious with it and it does exactly what it says on the tin.
I also like the history of this bag. It was designed in the mid-70s by renowned war photographer Jim Domke for his Vietnam war assignments. It has the extra advantage of being easily flat packed, so for those destination weddings, I can just pack it in the suitcase.
I use the factory straps on my cameras, but I use them with the Peak Design anchor links attached to them. I love how I can just snap the straps on and off when needed. I also own a Peak Design Clutch, which I snap onto my camera and replace my strap with when used on the dance floor.
I carry with me a Manfrotto Nano Plus stand as it’s incredibly lightweight but sturdy. I use it to mount my Godox 860ii flash. Just a great piece of kit as it packs very small, allowing me to easily rest it on my Domke F-2 when I move about.
Hardware & Software
I use SanDisk Extreme PRO SD 256GB 170MB cards when I shoot. They are reliable, fast even at high-speed burst mode and have enough space for storing multi-day weddings which are really common for destination work.
When I travel, I bring with me my MacBook and will backup files on a Sandisk external drive for peace of mind. At least until I do my usual backup and downloads in the studio.
For my backup and storage in the studio, I rely on a whole array of external hard drives plus I triple back up my drives and computer to the cloud using Backblaze.
I edit with my studio iMac using the latest versions of both Lightroom and Photoshop.
Photography and Editing Style
I have struggled to fit into any pre-defined box when it comes to my photography style. I have so many inspirations that come from outside photography and I have never managed to find a ‘camp’ that I belong to.
I coined my own term for my style of photography, Cinematic Chiaroscuro. It is my own interpretation via photography of the way Renaissance painters, in particular Caravaggio, used light and shadow to define the mood, coupled with creative angles and editing tones inspired by cinema. I would say my style is a blend of classic and innovation.
My signature look is achieved partly on camera in the way I shoot, and partly in Lightroom with the way I edit my RAWs. I shoot prime lenses wide open ninety per cent of the time and work with available light until I am forced to use flash, like on the dance floor. I like to shoot very underexposed and then I bring the photograph back to an exposure selectively in post-production. I do this by adjusting the dials and through the use of a custom brush which I designed in Lightroom.
Finally, in post-production, I apply a finisher custom curve that I also designed. I have one for a colour photograph and a different one if it’s black and white. I am able to tweak the colour saturation to add a constant colour palette to my work. That’s it!
If you are interested in the Cinematic Chiaroscuro way of shooting, I run 1:1 mentoring sessions so feel free to get in touch.
I am suited to working fast so keeping things simple and tidy is essential. To organise my lenses and find them quickly in my bag, I rely on Filed Made Co stickers. They make fantastic labels and look really smart too!
I always carry with me a cheap but great rain sleeve by OP/TECH because the weather is always so unpredictable, especially where I live in the UK.
I also carry a lot of extra batteries, a few extra SD cards, a basic lens cleaning kit, and a pen to write notes on and scribble contacts on for the day. My passport is always handy because we are finally getting more and more travel work!
My latest edition to my kit is a set of Marshall Motif ANC Active Noises Cancelling Bluetooth headphones. They are brilliant. I love music and listening to audiobooks when I travel and these little guys are great companions.
Finally, I have a little rose quartz which my wife Eloise gave me for good luck when I left to shoot my first ever wedding. It has served me well over the years and I carry it to every job.
So there you have it. This is what is in my gear pack at every wedding and what I love to work with to create my photographs and capture my couple’s memories and emotions.
I hope you enjoyed going through my bag with me. Grazie!