ISPWP Member Spotlight - Andrea Bagnasco, Italy Wedding Photographer

Posted by Andrea Bagnasco Fotografie on December 28th 2015

Photographer Contact Information

Genova, Liguria, Italy Photographer +39 338 359 8813

See This Photographer's Website

1. How did you get your start and why did you chose wedding photography as a career?

I got into wedding photography by chance, pulled in by a friend of mine, who was getting married. He had organized a very small, informal wedding and asked me to take his wedding pictures. I initially refused and told him to hire a professional wedding photographer instead, but after his insistence I finally accepted with little to no clue of what I was doing. I had really no idea of what ‘standard’ wedding photography was about so I simply took pictures of what actually happened during the day. Mine was documentary wedding photography from the get-go and I wasn’t even aware of it. Eventually, my photos ended in the hands of a graphic illustrator who made me realize that I probably had good eye and talent for this type of photography. Talent upon which I decided to invest and I tried to develop. That is quite simply what happened.

2. How has your extensive experience in wedding photography helped you in difficult circumstances on a wedding day?

Extensive experience is paramount when faced with difficult circumstances. A wedding day is long and articulate and open to anything that can go wrong. A good photographer should be able to get the job done regardless, and possibly turn the unexpected into something special as part of the picture story of the day. Knowing my equipment and being adequately geared up for the day, with backups to face technical issues is only the starting point.  Being adaptive to events no matter what is what counts most. A good photographer needs to be out in the field with a mind for problem solving and the ability to deal with people and with the clear goal in mind of providing his clients with the best possible pictures at all times, come bad weather, schedule changes, unexpected events, technical failures or just about anything else. 

3. Tell us about some of the more unique weddings you've shot.

Every wedding is unique in its own way. I like my photographs to reflect this, as every couple deserves to feel unique when looking back at their wedding through my pictures. Still, the majority of Italian couples are getting married within the Roman Catholic tradition or with a traditional Italian civil ceremony. On the other hand, Italy has plenty of beautiful, historic venues where to get married and makes for a perfect wedding destination. This brings foreign couples with different cultures and different ways to celebrate their marriage. I really enjoy shooting weddings of couples from different cultures or mixed cultures: they spark my curiosity and have me look at the unfolding event with an open mind. 

4. What are some of your favorite local venues?

I’m lucky as I’m based on the Italian Riviera, just a short drive away from Portofino, Santa Margherita Ligure, the Cinque Terre region and other popular destinations. Genova is close by and filled with beautiful venues and historic landmarks. Tuscany is also easily within reach, with Firenze, Siena and the Tuscan countryside, which represent some of the most sought after wedding destinations. Same for the Lakes region, especially Lake Como, or Lake Maggiore. The elegance of some Italian villas is unmatched: places like Villa del Balbianello in Tremezzo, Lake Como, or Villa Durazzo in Santa Margherita Ligure come to mind, as well as Villa lo Zerbino in Genova.  For a more intimate setting, some Agriturismo in Tuscany or Piedmont with their rustic elegance can make for amazing venues for any country chic or shabby chic Italian wedding.

5. What advice would you give a bride who is looking for a wedding photographer?

My main advice would be to develop a taste for photography by looking not only at the work of wedding photographers, but at great photographers in different fields as well: fashion photographers, street photographers, portrait photographers… Wedding photography, like all commercial forms of photography, is subject to trends. Trends come and go, so whatever is trendy today might not be regarded as such in 5 or 10 years time. The work of a good wedding photographer must stand the test of time and the value delivered by the wedding photographs should go beyond what is fashionable and be as full of meaning in 30 years time as it is today. On the contrary, browsing though wedding blogs only can sometimes be limiting to the current fad and standardize the taste on the customary rather than providing the means to appreciate enduring quality.  To this respect, a quick glance at the work of the true masters of photography, such as Cartier Bresson, W Eugene Smith, Richard Avedon, Salgado and the likes can go a long way in opening the eyes to what the art of photography can deliver in terms of storytelling, graphic elegance and sheer emotion. Far from meaning that the work of the wedding photographer should stand the comparison with the timeless classics, but getting acquainted a bit with the photographic language can only increase awareness in the bride and help her appreciate what a really good wedding photograph is able to deliver, so that at the end of the day she will be able to take an ‘educated’ gut decision.
Also, one advice I wish to give to couples planning to get married is to book their photographer early in the game, as soon as possible, like they’ll do with their wedding venue. A busy wedding photographer usually fills the agenda in the most popular dates within a year of the wedding day, if not earlier. Once the date is booked, it’s gone and the couple will be left with second options. 

6. What's your favorite part of the wedding day to photograph?

I have a preference for the fast paced parts of the day, action packed and emotion filled. I quite like the bride getting ready, the heart of the wedding ceremony, the first dance.

7. What kinds of weddings do you love to photograph?

I love to photograph weddings that are full of life and emotions. Everything else rest is secondary.

8. What are your top tips for brides to help them get great photos on their wedding day?

First tip is to choose their wedding photographer very carefully and to hire someone, whose pictures are really able talk to them, to move them. Don’t worry so much about minor price differences between photographers. The price paid will soon be forgotten, while the photographs remain.
Once they’re sure about having the right photographer for their wedding, the single most important tip is to enjoy their day. To really enjoy the day and live every moment of it. To leave all worries and concerns behind and simply let the emotions flow. 

9. How important is it to hire an experienced wedding photographer?

Hiring an experienced wedding photographer is paramount. The wedding photographs are all that the couple is left with of their wedding at the end of the day. Wedding photographs are not simple pictures, rather they quickly become family heirloom, they are the key to unlock the memories of the wedding day in the years to come. You can’t really put a price on that. You can’t take the chance of leaving that in the hands of an inexperienced photographer for the sake of saving a bit of money or for not knowing any better. Or, if you do, you’ll most probably regret it as rewinding and going back in time is unfortunately not an option.

10. What do you find is the biggest challenge in wedding photography?

The biggest challenge in wedding photography is finding a place in an overcrowded market. Developing a style and building a profitable and enduring business on it.

11. Do you do "destination weddings?" If so, what are your favorite destinations?

Italy is such a fantastic place for destination weddings that I can’t help being biased. Exotic destinations can make for beautiful settings for weddings, but in my opinion nothing can match the timeless charm and elegance of places like Lake Como or the Tigullio gulf with gems overlooking the sea like Portofino or Santa Margherita or, further east on the Ligurian Coast, the Cinque Terre region.

12. What do you do for fun when you're not shooting weddings?

When I’m not shooting weddings I’m often hard at work trying to grow my business! More generally, if I’m not working I’m spending time with my family and friends. If I can get some time to dedicate to myself, then I like to play a bit of guitar or enjoy photography books from my collection.


13. How would you describe your style of photography?

I would describe my photography as mostly documentary with a very unobtrusive, hands-off approach. My style is all about being in the right place at the right time, very much based on anticipation and on feeling my way through the event as it unfolds. Experience plays a major role in being able to document not only the main story, but also the myriad of details and interplays between the people attending the day. Not only the bride and groom, but their families, friends and guests as well. Telling a picture story of the day is more than taking a sequence of photographs. It requires coherency, lucidity and the ability of taking pictures with a well-formed style throughout the day, from beginning to end. 

14. What do you offer to clients that is unique? What is your Unique Selling Proposition?

One thing that I started offering clients since a couple of years, that is not often seen around here are wedding photofilms. Photofilms are a means to mate visual and audio memories from the wedding day and can make for a really emotional package. While wedding videos are the usual way to record audio memories, we found that mating my photographs with snippets of live audio and a beautiful soundtrack to match the mood of the day in a roughly 10 minutes video story of the wedding can provide an even stronger experience to my clients. The video means usually lacks the evocative side of photography, which is instead beautifully conveyed by the photofilm format. Photofilms are visual storytelling taken one step further, a perfect complement to a beautiful wedding album and also the ideal way to share your wedding memories with family and friends, either at home or through the internet.

15. Do you offer albums? If so, describe the albums you offer and why you think it's important to provide albums.

Although a wedding album might not be part of the plan for every couple, I always suggest that my clients consider having an album made. As much as we’re used to looking at pictures on computer screens, iPads or even smartphones, a well printed photograph is able to provide a so much better experience to the viewer, other than a lasting value. I do offer a few different types of premium quality albums: from magazine-type books to matted albums. I source my albums from the best companies in the business such as Graphistudio, as the wedding album, no matter what type and style, should always convey the experience of enduring quality. 
On the other hand, my photography packages never include the album, which is always sold as an extra as I like to give the option to my clients, who can opt to order a wedding album together with their photography package or at a later date, well after the wedding. 

16. How would you describe the current state of the wedding photography industry, and where do you think wedding photography is headed in the years to come?

The wedding photography industry is varied. Very much so. Brides and grooms are faced with so many different options in terms of offer, style, quality and price level, it’s hard to define wedding photography as a unique genre or industry. Rather, there are different types of products appealing to different clients. I see the market very fragmented, where the lower end is populated by clients and vendors who put their emphasis on pricing, while the upper end is all about quality and a distinctive style. The middle section of the market is more confused but in general the demand for really good wedding photography by educated clients with high expectations is growing. This provides the urge to us photographers to always find ways to improve, to make our product more appealing and to make it stand out in the crowd. Being a great photographer is only the starting point to run a successful and enduring wedding photography business: we need to develop sales and marketing skills as well as proficiency with specific web marketing tools, including extensive SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and social media knowledge. The years to come will therefore see a more demanding industry for us vendors and a better and wider offer for clients.
In terms of photography style, I think the value provided by a tastefully crafted photo story, able to return the emotions of the day will never go out of fashion and will always constitute the core of what every couple should be looking for when shopping for their wedding photographer, regardless what the current trend in wedding photography is, photo booths, drones, faded shadows and muted colors or else.

17. What (or who) inspires you?

I’m inspired by beauty in general, coming from just about anything. Nature, music, a painting, architecture, you name it.

18. Have you found any products, services, or seminars that have made a difference to your photography or your business?

I love photography books. I am an avid collector of photography books and I love to spend time studying the work of different photographers. Looking at the work of masters of photography such for instance as Cartier Bresson, W Eugene Smith, Elliot Erwitt, Don Mc Cullin, Garry Winogrand, Richard Avedon, Salgado, Annie Leibovitz, Alex Webb, Eugene Richards and the likes has formed my taste in photography and has taught me what visual storytelling is. That has helped immensely with the way I approach my wedding shoots and has definitely made a difference to my photography and, in some way, my business.

19. What's the best photography-related advice you've been given?

I was told early on to improve on my innate strengths as a photographer, instead of trying to be a faded version of someone else, that clients would eventually come looking for what I have to offer.

20. What would you say was the biggest reason for your success?

I’m lucky enough to have a defined style that helped and helps setting me apart from the local competition, plus I’m very consistent in the type of photographs that I deliver from wedding to wedding, so when the clients book me, they know what they are going to get.

21. What future plans do you have for your business for the next year?

I’m planning on strengthening my position as a wedding photographer for local couples and on improving my visibility for foreign couples looking to get married in Italy. I spent a few years of my life living in the USA and that has left me a rather fluent English, as well as the ability to deal with people from different countries and different cultures. So I think I can make a good choice for people planning a destination wedding or elopement to Italy. Also, I would like to develop the portrait side of my business, both in studio an on location, really pushing the quality of my offer and the overall experience for my clients.

22. What is the biggest challenge facing wedding photographers today?

Wedding photographers sell their product in a very crowded and competitive market. In order to run a profitable and enduring business they need to develop a style and keep improving on it and on the overall quality of their offer. Taking great pictures is only the starting point though, as they need to be entrepreneurs willing to work around the clock on their business with focus, competence, desire to improve and to keep learning with an open mind.

Photographer Contact Information

Genova, Liguria, Italy Photographer +39 338 359 8813

See This Photographer's Website

Photographer Bio

I am 44 years old, married and father of a 7 years old young boy. I got into wedding photography late in my life, after an engineering degree and years spent working for corporates. I have been shooting weddings professionally since 2009 and I'm looking forward to expanding my business and strengthening my position in the industry, always providing my clients with excellent photography and an overall outstanding experience. I was fortunate enough to spend years living in the USA, so I am fluent with English and at ease with foreign clients from different countries and different culture. I am based in Varazze, on the Ligurian Coast of Italy, which is right in the middle of the Italian Riviera. Close to Genoa and within easy reach of some of the most beautiful and sought after wedding destinations for foreign couples, such as Portofino, the Cinque Terre Region, Lake Como, Florence and the Tuscan countryside. I am proud member of the International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers (ISPWP), Fearless Photographers and the Italian Association of Wedding Photographers (ANFM). I am also part of the prestigious Image Masters program of DxO, a famed French company producing state of the art imaging software.

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