A new project is on the horizon, one designed to push my boundaries, connect me with new creative souls and explore a different world through my photography.
A project that kicks off with a collaboration that makes me happy from within, because it allows my passion for photography, food, flowers, travels, people and creativity to merge into one. Honestly, can you think of anything better?
A few days ago I met with Valentina Solfrini, the writer of a beautiful Italian cooking blog called Hortus Cusine. In Valentina’s words, Hortus is “a blog that tells stories of times gone by, and of plant-based recipes lost and found. [A blog that translates her] favourite Italian moments into stories: a man entering his inner court garden into an old, secluded villages to pick a lemon and dress his salad; an espresso enjoyed sitting at a café in an old square; a glass of wine accompanying a dinner made of foraged local ingredients, and a deep, unfathomable love for all those moments that still survive in one of the most exciting and controversial countries in the world, and that run the risk of being lost.”
I was intrigued, and as I went through her blog, I was hooked. Her style, not just cooking or styling, but of photography too, told me something incredible: we both love playing with light through our images and capturing our subjects, be it people or a cooking scene, in a way that feels authentic, raw, and almost mystical. It felt like a match made in heaven.
When you find someone who has so much affinity with you you cannot help but say “When do we start doing something together?”
And so, just last week, Valentina and I met up to create a new story, through my lens and through her new cooking project. In connection with Valentine’s Day, Valentina decided to tell the story of her first love through a new recipe and my photography. I’m so proud of the results, and can’t wait to share even more pictures with you on her blog.
And so, my new project called "Jardin privé" is born: throughout the next few months I will be working alongside fellow creatives of different disciplines (florists, artisans, chefs, designers, etc.) to capture their world and artistry in their own creative environment.
It will be a way to challenge my creative skills, look at my subjects from a different angle and tell new stories I’ve never had an opportunity to tell before.
I want to work with you, creative people - coming into your own world and capturing the magic you create. I can’t wait to meet you soon!
Special thanks to Bride & Tonic for the feature.
I love a clear brief, and I really appreciate a good schedule on a wedding day but sometimes you need a creative project that is all about purposely making art for the sake of satisfying your artistic call.
This project, entitled “Diapositive of an untouched heart,” is exactly one of those project created by me and Carolina Rimondi, to stretch our creative muscles and create beauty for beauty’s sake.
The team and I delved into the feelings and emotions of an alone bride - this shoot is both romantic and melancholic. Perhaps it’s because you can’t read the bride’s mind… What is she feeling, really? Is it the warmth of love? Is it peace and tranquility? Or is she overwhelmed by excitement? Or maybe it’s a touch of emotional sadness for what she’s leaving behind?
“Melancholy” once said Italo Calvin, “is sadness that has taken on lightness…” This quote’s inspired not only the styling, but also the way those moments are expressed visually through my lens. It’s all about the poetry, the lightness, the way gracefulness intertwines with shadows that somehow hide a heaviness of heart…
It was such a pleasure to work with Betty Soldi once again, as well as Anna Fucà Atelier and our model and make up artist Margherita Cesarano at the Grand Hotel Rimini, one of those historic Italian hotels that has been home to the celebrities of old times and iconic people like “La Dolce Vita” director Federico Fellini.
Concept: Carolina Rimondi & Elisabetta Marzetti // Venue: Grand Hotel Rimini // Dress: Anna Fucà Atelier // Model: Margherita Cesarano // MUA: Margherita Cesarano // Stationery: Betty Soldi
This engagement shoot is like a dream, that you’d never even known you had, come true. As a destination wedding photographer I often fantasise of far away weddings in the most unique places. And sometimes, if I’m completely honest, I forget that Italy has some incredibly romantic and breathtaking locations too - when you live in Italy you can easily take it for granted, I guess. But when I look at the pictures of my couples’ weddings in places like Tuscany, Sicily, or the Amalfi coast, it’s no wonder that so many couples choose Italy for their international weddings.
And so, on a sunny day at the end of July, without travelling too far from my home, I was given the opportunity to photograph the love of an incredible couple in one of those places that have the power of leaving you speechless: a Carrara marble quarry. Yes, a quarry - a minimalist’s dream! The perfect place for a couple that loves architectural lines, and possibly the most private and unique location I’ve ever photographed an engagement shoot at…
This beautiful couple, Nicolas & Nikola, is all sorts of amazing. Nicolas was born and raised in Paris, while Nikola was born in Singapore and grew up in California. They met in college in 2008 through mutual friends who felt they could be a match, not only because they have the same name pronunciation, but also because they felt they’d very similar personalities too. Fast forward a few years and Nicolas one day asked permission to marry Nikola, not only from her immediate family, but also from her mum’s two sisters who are like second mums to her - something that Nikola appreciated deeply.
Nikola has always dreamt of visiting the marble quarries due to her fascination with landscape and scale. As she rightly mentioned to me, the scale is truly astounding, something you can only appreciate when you visit them in person. What I love so much about this couple is that they really wanted a place that reflected their personalities. An open architectural space like a marble quarry was exactly it, and the juxtaposition between a clean, structured, and airy place against the green untamed feel of their actual wedding venue (coming on the blog in the near future) was exactly what they were looking for.
Nicolas & Nikola hadn’t originally planned for a couple shoot, but as the wedding rush increased they realised that they wanted to document an intimate moment of just the two of them before the big day. I am so glad they did. As a wedding photographer one of the moments of a couple’s big day I love the most is when I get to sneak off with the bride and groom for a portrait shoot. Unfortunately the time we have together is always limited, as the schedule hardly ever allows for lengthy portrait sessions. So making the time for a relaxed engagement shoot before the wedding is truly invaluable. The flexibility it gives you in terms of picking date, time and location is huge, which means you can make it as personal as you want it to be.
I’ve asked Nikolas and Nicola a couple of questions on the experience and this is their reply:
How was the experience of sharing these moments with your photographer?
It was beautiful and a lot of fun for us. The extra time prior to the wedding gave us a chance to get to know the photographer and the rest of the team better. The bonding experience allowed us to warm up and get more comfortable in front of the camera - to prep for the actual wedding day. Elisabetta really made us feel at ease and we felt like we had been friends for a long time already. She is very genuine and has a great eye, and great ideas. We are so thankful to have found her to document our special day!
Do you have any suggestions for couple that might be scared of feeling uncomfortable in front of the camera?
I would definitely recommend not forgoing the couples shoot if you are able to. Nicolas and I are normally the ones behind the lens and are typically very camera shy, so we were not sure of spending extra time in front of the camera prior to the wedding. In the end, our time during the shoot was one of our most cherished moments during our wedding. After a little while you forget that the cameras are around and you just take initiatives or follow suggestions from the photographers. Besides - receiving the shots later on is a great experience. You get to rediscover those special few days from a different, more relaxed perspective, and it makes everything worth it.
My gratitude toward this couple for the opportunity they have given me to document such an incredible time in their life is immense. Thank you SO much Nikola and Nicolas.
If you’re getting married and are considering doing an engagement shoot in Italy or beyond, I would love to hear from you or answer any question you might have on the experience.
Tour company: Cave Di Marmo Tours
See more pics on LOVE STORIES
A few frames from my one on one mentoring session this week! A full day learning experience where we covered everything from inspiration to workflow and editing.
More info on EDUCATION.
"Elisabetta was like one of those friends you go to when you feel down - you get back home feeling like all your problems have vanished. As my day with her ended, I realised that her passion transmitted feelings, emotions and a drive within me that I cannot find the words to describe. I will never forget the counsel, her reassuring smile and her kindness as she took me through her world. All I want to do now is shoot, apply everything I've learnt, change the way I see things, or even better, add more depth to the way I view things so I can shoot even better images. A simple thank you would never be enough. Being able to enter Elisabetta's world for a day has been like a precious gift."
Sometimes it’s important to go beyond the boundaries of our commissioned work to reconnect with our artistic side, find inspiration in the unusual and create beauty for the sake of beauty. That’s why a few months ago I decided to do a competition to offer one couple a love shoot. It wasn’t going to be the usual stroll in the city’s most famous landmarks. This shoot had to transcend the obvious clichés and go deep and intimate.
On a Sunday in March I finally met the winners of my competition, Riccardo and Noemi, an Italian couple who met in Urbino while at university. Noemi loves Florence and its romantic and artistic style, so when she heard that the couple shoot would be done at Soprarno, one of Florence most eclectic and artistic boutique hotels, she jumped at the opportunity to have images of the two together that would portray them in a place so close to their heart.
I’m so grateful to Riccardo and Noemi for letting me capture images of themselves that are so intimate. As a photographer, I find that my camera allows me to enter a private, personal realm that you could never enter without. It’s a small eye peering into an intimate situation that gives you the opportunity to capture deep, unspoken emotions. Riccardo and Noemi have allowed my camera to do just that - authentically.
If you’re a couple considering the idea of doing a love, couple or engagement shoot, these are some of my tips for you:
Look for affinity. On the day of the shoot, your photographer will enter a space (both physical and emotional) that is usually reserved only for your closest friends and family. It’s important, therefore, that you feel 100% connected to them so you know you’ll feel comfortable as their camera enters that space. So as you go through photographers, follow them on their social channels and get to know their personality as expressed through things like their insta stories. Look for things that make you feel close and connected to them - that affinity is what will allow you to relax in front of their camera.
Decide what kind of shots you’ll be comfortable with. Have a look at a photographer’s couple shoots and allow yourself to be transported in that setting. This will allow you to decide what kind of images you will feel most comfortable shooting, and those you won’t. If you feel most of the images are not for you, then chances are, you won’t feel at ease in front of the camera and this will affect the outcome of the shoot.
Prepare for it. Choosing the attire for your couple shoot will mentally prepare you to express your personality, not just through the posing, which should hopefully come fairly natural when you’re madly in love, but also through a look that really speaks of you and makes you feel like yourself. Noemi and Riccardo, for instance, spent some time looking at images of the venue and realised that they wanted to wear clothes that felt complementary (by bringing in simplicity to a very eclectic space) to the style of the hotel.
Ask the photographer’s input. We have pretty much seen it all, so when it comes to giving you advice on things such as location, what activities we could do for your shoot, what props and outfits you should bring, chances are, we will have plenty of tips to give you. We know what works and what doesn’t, what gets our couples to relax, or what kind of outfits work better, so do feel free to ask our recommendation and we’ll always be happy to help, because we know that ultimately those images will stay with you for a long time, so we want the experience to feel just right.
I hope you’re loving Noemi and Riccardo’s shoot as much as I do, and I hope my advice will come in handy at some point. I’m grateful to this beautiful couple for the chance they’ve given me to go behind the scenes of their love and capture that intimate side that very few get to see.
If you’re considering doing a love or an engagement shoot in Italy or beyond, I would love to hear from you.
Full gallery on LOVE STORIES, intimate couple shoot in the streets of Florence.
On March this year I had the opportunity of experiencing a side of Florence I had never experienced before. This world of guest-houses that are perfectly designed to make your stay feel like an extravagant version of your home life feels new and surreal to me. How can you possibly feel at home while staying in a centuries old palace, with painted ceilings and in-room bath tabs?
It turns out, it is possible. And Betty Soldi is the woman that made this magical experience possible for me when she offered me the opportunity to stay at her boutique hotels SoprArno Suites and Ad Astra, located in the Oltrarno area of Florence, on the occasion of one of Pitti’s Taste events.
So magical that last week I decided to spend my birthday in Florence at Soprarno with my better half, Marco.
Now, this is definitely my dream place.
SOPRARNO SUITES’ STYLE
There is something incredibly unique about SoprArno. Perhaps it’s the way industrial-meets-classic-meets-eclectic. The intimate 11 rooms are all furnished with the most unique decor elements - up-cycled and reclaimed pieces, found in markets and auctions, beautifully adorn rooms that would have otherwise felt just like any other hotel in Florence - opulent and “seen-it-all-before”. Except, there is nothing quite that classical about this boutique hotel - something that made my stay intriguing… I love the way reality is intertwined with mystery, so staying at SoprArno, a place where every room has its own style and where every piece of decor comes from an unknown past, was a real treat for me.
The beauty of Soprarno doesn’t end in the rooms, its library or kitchen… Because its owners, Betty and Matteo also own a delightful shop / workshop - AndCompany, a place where you can buy reclaimed furniture, lamps, industrial pieces and antiques, but also a creative space where you get to enjoy Betty’s craftsmanship and calligraphy skills applied to her own products - from tea cups to clothes, personalised cards and paper crafts.
AndCompany is a place where magic happens…
If you’re thinking of going to Florence, SoprArno and Ad Astra are definitely at the top of my recommended places.
Experience the magic… I promise you that you won’t be disappointed.