I met Carlo and Fabiana in 2008. They moved from Italy to London and we connected at a London Calling Photographers group meeting that Carlo had just started up. It was a group that I was introduced to that discussed photography, held fortnightly critiques and arranged photography meetups.
We have stayed in touch and I regularly follow their work on flickr and have had the opportunity to assist both Carlo and Fabiana (Faby) on a few fashion shoots too!
Carlo is very open with his style and his vision and always willing to give advice and guidance. He describes his thoughts and shares his work with us on flickr and through his blog.
I hope you enjoy this interview with both Carlo and Faby. Thank you both for taking the time to respond to my questions!
They are both expecting a baby in the next few weeks and wanted to say congratulations to you both here and wish you all the best in the future!!
Interview: Carlo & Fabiana Nicora – The Round Peg
Can you tell us a bit more about yourself, what bought you both to London from Italy and what kind of photography you shoot?
London was a choice of life. We did not mingle with some part of the Italian culture and we needed new fuel for our lives. Back then the camera was just a point and shoot: London has been able to bring out the photographers in us. Our interest in photography has always been focused on people and our first step into photography was through Street Photography, my passion. From there it has been a continuous development process moving from the natural light, candid street to the flash fashion shoots. Currently we mainly focus on edgy fashion editorials (we love contrasts and a bit of controversy in our photos) and on the side we specialised in boudoir photography.
I met you and Fabiana 2 years ago at London Calling Photographers Meetup group. Can you tell us a bit more about why you started the group?
All the groups that we found in London were very technical and they were like old circles. We were looking for people who were not scared of sharing, with a wider mentality about the internet and photography. London Calling Photographers is like that, an incredible environment with fantastic people.
Carlo, you are also a project manager as well as a photographer. How do you balance both these roles and what advice do you have for other photographers balancing two jobs?
As a fabulous photographer once told me “there are no magic bullets, you need to work hard”. Photography is my passion and I combine it with my good organisational skills. During the day I work to pay the rent and when I get home I start planning photo shoots, editing, post processing, networking, learning or simply… photographing. You have to be ready to commit time and efforts in the time everybody else uses to relax. You have to love it!
Can you describe a typical shoot, set up, gear etc and how you plan and execute a shoot?
I think that there are no “typical shoot” as everyone is different and one of a kind. Let’s say that we try to plan every session with care: people involved, ideas, clothes, story. We are not fanatical about gears and, despite few personal preferences on the type of lenses to use, we tend to remain as flexible as possible to adapt to every situation and make the most out of it. Both Fabiana and I shoot with Canon 5D Mk II and while she is more into a lens like the 24-70mm f/2.8 I’d rather use prime lenses like the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 and the Canon 85mm f/1.8. Despite our preferences, though, we think that a camera or a lens if just a tool.
Can you explain the lighting in this shot?
We absolutely adore venetian blinds. With a simple flash outside them you can create a fantastic result. In this shot we placed a bare speed light outside the blinds and nothing else; the strong angle (the light is placed practically on the side of the models) creates strong shadows on them and projects their shadows on the wall, mixing everything with the shadows coming from the blinds!
Your lighting in your work is always very dramatic. How do you light your subjects. Do you mainly use natural light or flash or a mixture of both?
As for our gear, we also make a choice of light taken on location, when we can evaluate what works best. We like high contrasts, hard lights and strong shadows. When using natural light we generally love shooting against the sun, using a reflector to light our subjects, while with flash we love to use a beauty dish, normally gridded, to give a strong light on our subjects.
One important thing to notice is that we rarely use more than one light for our subjects: we like to keep it simple.
Can you share an image you have shot recently that you love and that you can share with us?
We want to share with you an image we haven’t published yet, so you have something brand new! This is the perfect example of our work: test, learn and do it again over and over again. Our style is not extremely polished, not from a lighting perspective (we don’t like using five lights on our subjects) or from a post processing one (we like the realism, not the “made in photoshop” mark). Despite this, we do things we are not used to, we experiment with more lights and styles we are not normally used to. This is a “Beauty Shoot” that has something more. It was fabulous playing with the model and make up artist to create something that goes a little bit away from our standards, but that remains, in a certain way, different.
Where do you feel your creativity comes from? Do you and Fabiana have very different styles to photography?
Our creativity comes from everywhere. An image, a story, a moment. We generally have two different approaches and despite the share of the main theme, we produce different things. The real strength is that our separate visions perfectly concur to a final one we display as “The Round Peg”.
How do you make your subjects relax in front of camera? What are the key ingredients for a successful shoot when working with others?
We focus very much on our work ethics. We want to create a relaxed and fun environment when we work. We don’t shout, we don’t get angry but we always promote a positive approach for our team. These are the ingredients we use to keep everyone in the team happy, and this is great to make our subjects more at ease. Then it is just us, husband and wife, easy going and honest. It works for us!
You are very much involved in social media – facebook, twitter, blogging … Why is this important to you and how does it help your business?
We think that social media is one of the keys for our business. Our strategy for becoming known is more focussed online than in print. We believe in having our name out there where everyone can see our work with one click, we believe that our work ethic is one of the things that make us stand out from many others, and we are not scared of bringing it forward in twitter, facebook, our blogs… and in face to face conversation of course.
What do you like to shoot that isn’t on your website The Round Peg?
Fabiana likes interior design and she would love doing more of it, while from my perspective I think I am shooting what I love and if in the future I will find something else I like to photograph, I will certainly bring it inside!
I mainly shoot weddings and portraiture. Have you ever shot a wedding before and what was your experience.
We have done quite few weddings and it is one of the sub-brands we have and we keep very well separated from our editorial works. I have to admit that shooting a wedding is harder than many people think, but capturing the “moments” is something amazing!
What does the next year hold for you?
Many things. First and foremost our first child and then some big steps we have been working on in this fantastic 2010. One of our collaborators is used to say that 2010 is the year “The Round Peg is going places” and I am ready to bet that the 2011 has many more successes awaiting us.
What is the one piece of advice you have for up and coming photographers?
Take your camera, bring it everywhere and shoot what you like, as much as you can. Be the center of your team and remember that if you really want to do it, you can!
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Thank you Carlo and Fabiana for the interview!
You can check out their website here: The Round Peg
Stay tuned for more interviews …
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