Last Updated on 02/12/2016 by Chris Gampat
All images by Stefano Santucci. Used with permission.
Stefano Santucci lives in the middle of Tuscany in Florence. He’s a destination wedding and visual storytelling photographer. “My style — and my objective — is simple: every shot must tell a true story. Nothing less.” he says in his pitch email to the Phoblographer.
Stefano is inspired by love stories, romance novels, forgotten objects, etc. To that end, it makes so much sense that he’s a wedding photographer. But a part of it is also the culture of the Studio where photographer Lucrezia Cosso works. “In my veins flows Italian, Argentine, Irish, Spanish, Lebanese and French blood. I like to think at me as a citizen of the world. Indeed my best friend is Japanese.”
He’s always on the search for what he says is authenticity in images. Part of that has made him very niche. “In my business I am deliberately small and I want stay in this way: I prefer to work for quality rather than quantity and to keep the artistic control over all my projects.” he says. “I offer photo services and own a small print lab I’m very proud of.”
Phoblographer: Talk to us about how you got into photography.
Stefano: Photography for me was like a hobby, or better, a therapy. I loved to just take a walk with my camera through the street of Florence. In 2011 I made also a street project: one picture a day for an entire year. What I wanted to show was real life, real moments. A vision through people’s life.
Phoblographer: What made you want to get into wedding photography?
Stefano: A friend of mine asked me to take some pictures during his wedding in 2012. I never looked at that business before and I agreed to try. I just loved it.
Phoblographer: Tell us the story of your first wedding that you photographed. What would you have done different in retrospect?
Stefano: It was the wedding of a close friend, I was the second shooter. My friend just told me: do what you think is great. I don’t want traditional pictures, I don’t want a boring event. Just enjoy, have fun and give me your best shots.
I realized that being in a special events like that was very natural to me. And I wanted to learn more. I studied a bit the market and tried to put something different.
I would have the occasion to shoot more portraits that day. I love the portrait moment and I love to try to interpret the couple. This is our key, putting ourself, our style, our ideas, for them.
Phoblographer: Lots of your work seems to be about specific placement of lighting, capturing intimate details and moments, and seems to really focus a lot on natural/ambient light. What photographers have influenced you and your work, and how do you feel that they’ve helped shape you?
Stefano: We are very focused on details, they tells a story as well, and we want to be storytellers. Always.
We love natural light. We want to create the magic with the elements we have and capture the nature and the honesty of our couples.
Photographers that always influenced me have been Cinzia Bruschini e Lelia Scarfiotti. Two women, a better sensibility. But I’m also influenced by stories, songs, good bw movies. Or even old and forgotten pictures.
Phoblographer: What about your creative vision and your work do you feel makes your work very unique?
Stefano: I think that as a photographer I have to reflect myself in my business, my identity and follow naturally who my clients are. I want them to be proud of all pictures, I want my couples to recognize themselves in the pictures. I would never picture in a romantic way a person who is not. I want to follow the natural personality of my client and being inspired by their stories. The stories are always in the middle, and this is the power that inspire us.
Phoblographer: Let’s talk business, how much time do you spend shooting vs doing all the business stuff? Editing, meeting clients, etc all takes a lot of time.
Stefano: In this job 30-40% is shooting, the remaining is editing, mailing, meetings, brainstorming with my business partner Lucrezia, schedule timing, reading, exhibitions, museum etc. It’s a very intese work with a lot of preparations. But it’s a passion, so it’s easy.
Phoblographer: How do you ensure that your business have enough money to live through slow seasons?
Stefano: We are destination wedding photographers but also shoot fashion, or events. In the winter period we organize some editorial and work for the new collections of some fashion brands. Or even sometimes personal projects.