I came across Dario’s work when my wife told me that she had a photographer following her on twitter. Since then i’ve been following Dario’s tweets and blog posts with great interest. There is actually quite a bit involved in food photography.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I’m italian, 38 y.o , my life revolves around food and photography; I travelled through Oz for the first time 6 years ago, with a backpack and a bus ticket, like many others; I was looking for new inspirations and I found them : I loved Australia so much that I came back, 6 months later, got myself a job, a wife and two kids… just to make sure they didn’t send me back home eh, eh.
What made you get into photography?
Photography has always been a hobby of mine, it’s how I record the places I visit and the people I meet along the way; before I decided to make it my trade I’ve actually worked as a professional chef for 15 years in Europe and Australia ( I’ve also owned and run a restaurant, in Italy, for 5 years ) – so photography was also a way, in the beginning, to catalogue old and new recipes; and that’s how, food and photography, came together in my life. Then, about 2 years ago, my partner got me my first DSLR ( a Nikon D80 ) for my birthday and that’s when I got really into it; before I had never heard of such things as shutter speed or aperture and let alone lighting… a whole new world started to unveil to my eyes.
How did you get started?
I took a Camera Craft 1 course at the ACP in Sydney and I started to browse the web like a maniac; I was still working as a chef during the day, but every free time was a chance to go get some photos done; I’ve got thousands of shots of the same subject ( my partner ) in every possible ( and impossible ) pose; and I took the camera to work everyday – some days even the tripod.
What sort of photography do you mainly do?
I specialize in food photography and I also do a bit of work as a stylist; I’ve shot a couple of wedding and some events, but food is my thing – and drinks of course.
What gear are you using?
At the moment I shoot with a Nikon D700, a set of Profoto D1 strobes, pocket wizards and various light modifiers; and I have quite a big collection of mirrors of different sizes that I use to add an accent light on the hero food.
Whats your favourite lens and why?
It’s a Sigma 105 mm f 2.8 ; I use it 80% of time and I love it because I can use just like a ” normal ” lens , but it’s a macro and gives me the possibility to get really close to the food and create very interesting compositions.
How are you marketing yourself?
I invest a lot of time writing posts for my Blog and I am quite active on the social medias, especially on Twitter which has proved to be an amazing source of opportunities in more than one occasion. I have never spent a cent in advertising my business; just only recently I am experimenting with a small campaign on Face Book ( I have a budget of $ 8 a day ).
Whats your favourite photo you have taken?
It’s difficult to choose one, but I’ll go for the Pomegranate Still Life, because it was a 5 minutes job, done with a very simple 1 light set up and a hand painted backdrop; I’m always happy when I can get a great photo with home made props and less than 5 dollars worth of produce.
Advice for new photographers looking to go pro?
Go for it, do what you like and believe in yourself; it’s a very difficult career to break into and it’s yourself that you have to convince when things are not going the way you’d want them to go. It takes time and passion; if you’ve got these two things, money will not be as much of a problem in the beginning – but it will come a time when you’ll have to take a bet and invest some money , so save up, budget and prioritize.
I’ve never assisted another photographer but that would be the right way to get started – I just didn’t have the time.