When you're constantly looking into a camera, it can be difficult to experience the essence of a place as you're travelling. For Italian landscape photographer, Lorenzo Nadalini, this feeling is something that he actively works towards achieving each and every time that he heads out for photography.
Well-accomplished in guiding tours in the north of Italy and surrounds, Lorenzo has dedicated his life to teaching others with a passion for photography. This month, we sat down with Lorenzo to talk about his workshops, creative process and how to capture the essence of a location in your photos.
Hello Lorenzo! Tell us a little bit about your background. How and when did you become interested in photography?
Hey Serena, thanks for this interview. Well, my interest in photography started when I was a child. My parents had two old film cameras and I enjoyed capturing everything around. I attended some photography classes at primary school, in which I learned the basics, then I kept shooting.
When I was 20 years old, I had the chance to start travelling and to visit many new places. In the meantime, I graduated in Business and Economics, then worked for some years as advisor.
One day, some years ago now, I decided that I wanted to work as full time photographer and here I am! :)
You have guided many professional photography workshops in Italy. What draws you to the places where you have workshops and what do you feel is the most challenging aspect of being a professional landscape photography guide?
Yes, I have been running many workshops, photo tours and private tours in Italy and Europe every year for many years now. What I really enjoy is sharing my experiences and my point of view on landscape photography. I also like to talk about technique, gear and processing.
There are so many beautiful places to discover and the most challenging aspect is understand and also accept nature and weather conditions as they are, as well as what they can offer that day. We’re always on the lookout for perfect conditions and when it comes to making a choice among different spots to visit, I try to predict where there are better chances of finding the best light possible.
There are so many beautiful places to discover. Photo by: 'Lorenzo Nadalini'.
How much preparation do you put into guiding each tour?
There are countless factors that can change the field. That’s why I put a lot of time into planning and research before each tour. Even if I am running a tour in places I have already visited many times.
What is a typical day on a photography workshop like?
Everything begins very early in the morning, in order to capture the soft light at blue hour and when the sun rises. Then it’s time for breakfast and for photography classes, or for transfers to other locations. During transfer, I usually have a tasty lunch with the group and look for epic light conditions along the road. Even cloudy conditions may end up being amazing as well.
Then it’s time for sunset, blue hour and dinner. Of course, if I’m travelling to the Arctic regions, then the period when day turns into night is the time for chasing Northern Lights and clear skies.
Look around, even under your feet while you are walking, in order to find the best compositions. Photo by: 'Lorenzo Nadalini'.
The light and composition in your images are striking. What do you look for when you are scouting an area for photographs and what makes you decide where to stop for photographs?
Thanks, I really appreciate that. I always look around: under my feet when I’m walking but also in the distance, looking for shapes, colours and elements that can tell me about the place where I am. I stop and mount my tripod only when I find something that communicates to me a kind of harmony between all the elements. I try to tell a story of that day in every picture.
What is your creative process when you go out on your own, not when you are teaching workshops: do you normally have an idea in mind or do you simply take it as it comes and let yourself be surprised by what happens?
It’s a very nice question and often guests ask me about the same topic. Sometimes, when I take the photo, I already know what I want to get in processing and when I start editing, it’s pretty straightforward as I follow my workflow quite instinctively.
In other cases, I experiment or try something new without knowing exactly what I want. Sometimes, it works and I feel really excited, especially if I have found a variation of my style or a new mood. But it also happens that I close everything and I start from zero days later.
Try to experiment with your photography. Photo by: 'Lorenzo Nadalini'.
What is your workflow? Do you tend to achieve most of your image in camera and then work very little in post, or do you spend a long time enhancing the image afterwards?
I try to capture the light as best as I can, trying to get the most in camera. But I also spend time in post processing as well. Every scene is different and it really depends on the image.
Do you feel your work echoes the work of those landscape photographers who have gone before you or do you think your work stands on its own?
For sure I have my favourite photographers and artists - both of the past and modern.
I don’t know if my works stand on their own, I have my own style. I am very happy when people tell me that my images are recognisable among others, but every day I just try to give my small contribution to photography.
Try to capture the light as best as you can. Photo by: 'Lorenzo Nadalini'.
Your photography is renowned for being local to the area where you live. How do you capture the essence of your country in your photos and what advice would you give to people who want to explore their own area?
I try to choose the best time of the year to find the right colours and conditions and I look for simple compositions. The advice I would give is the same I give to myself: don’t stop at a first glance but at the same time, trust in that first look…
For someone just finding they have a passion for photography, what would you say is the best thing for them to focus on from the very beginning?
In my opinion, the most important thing is learning to look at the scene. Point the lens at what is truly important and emotional inside that scene.
Wait for the right moment and conditions. Photo by: 'Lorenzo Nadalini'.
What is one very valuable lesson that you think every landscape photographer needs to learn?
At the beginning, it’s important to wait for the right moment for the right conditions (that are not just at sunrise and sunset time). Secondly, that you can’t change the weather and that in principle, every kind of weather condition has a lot to offer in terms of photography.
Follow in Lorenzo's footsteps capturing the beautiful surrounds of Italy! Check out our range of international photo tours and photography workshops.