Photographer Profile: Marco Bottigelli

When did you first become interested in photography and what sparked your interest?

I first got into photography as a pure amateur. As a traveller first, I was amazed by the possibilities that photography could put into the travel experience, and in the time it turned strong enough to become the reason itself of travelling.

What did you do in your life before shooting travel stock images?

Since the age of 23 I’ve been an IT entrepreneur, growing my own business in the computer industry for 10 years. Photography slowly grew parallel as an interest first and as a second job after, till the moment when I took the decision to fully dedicate my working life to it.

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Bagan, Mandalay region, Myanmar (Burma). Pagodas and temples with balloons at sunrise.

How many photo trips do you do in a year and how long do you spend on the road?

Nowadays I do 7-8 photo trips per year, some as personal travels and some as professional photo workshops teaching photography in location.

What have been your favourite destinations you have photographed and why?

Way earlier since photography turned into a business, I have been always fascinated by the open landscapes and the wilderness. Being based in Italy, northern Europe were logistically the perfect place to go for. And still today it’s the place where I run most of my workshops. But I also love Asia – specially the South East – for its amazing culture and out-of-time lifestyle, or Italy too which I still consider my favourite next destination when I’m on the road 🙂

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Valdorcia, Siena, Tuscany, Italy. Panoramic view of a tuscan farm on top of a hill at sunrise.

Do you have a favourite technique of piece of photographic equipment?

Equipment has always been a tool for me to bring out and use in the field, but I’m amazed too by the way the new technologies push the limits of photography over. So, I would say that my favourite piece of gear today is my D810 due to its amazing dynamic range.

What do you find most challenging shooting travel stock images?

Focusing mostly in the high end travel stock images, getting the right light is the key. I don’t see a big difference in travelling to take stock photos on my own or teaching other people how to photograph. It’s always a matter of being at the right place at the right time possibly with the right light. Creative-wise I’m truly obsessed by running after the best composition to obtain bold and crisp images with a strong subject.

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Vernazza, Cinque Terre, La Spezia, Liguria, Italy. The town and the castle at sunset.

What’s your favourite image or images, and what do you love about them?

I do not have “the favourite one”, but I have a few favourites for different reasons. One of them is the series of photographs from the fisherman of the Inle Lake in Myanmar. They remind me the effort that sometimes is needed to take the right shot. I struggled to move onto the boat, to put the lens through the net, to wait for the good light and finally to chase after the right movement of the subject. But once I got what I was there for, it made my day.

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Inle lake, Nyaungshwe township, Taunggyi district, Myanmar (Burma). Local fisherman with typical conic fishing net.

Is there somewhere you’d still love to shoot?

Getting to South Georgia and Antarctica is a childhood dream for me. I am amazed by the endless artistic opportunities such landscapes can give.

Have you had a situation where it all went wrong and you didn’t get the shots you planned?

In landscape photography this is a daily deal. You can spend hours to get to a place waiting for the good light, getting home with nothing but a wet raincoat. And in travel photography it’s quite the same story. But it’s not always a weather issue. I remember once I was travelling to northern Myanmar with a planned series of shooting in remote villages and mountains, while I ended stuck for 9 hours on a river on a private boat with a failed engine till a fishermen boat passed by and took us on-board in the middle of the night.

Is there any advice you’d give to a young person thinking of getting onto this business?

If you really want it, chase after it. Dedicate yourself to photography as much as you can, and expect a lot from yourself. Do not settle and always keep a reference to reach.

If you weren’t a photographer what would you be?

As my story tells, if I wouldn’t be a photographer I’d probably keep chasing a location-independent job that allows me to keep moving and travelling.

Do you specialize in a particular subject, geographic area or style?

Despite most of my photography production involves landscapes, seascapes, cityscapes, I love relying to a human figure in the composition to give a sense of scale and a dreamy feeling to the whole image.

I also often compose in almost-backlight conditions to enhance the colour range of the image.

Sahara desert, Morocco. Silhouette on the dunes at sunset.
Sahara desert, Morocco. Silhouette on the dunes at sunset.

How do you make your images stand out?

My favourite images all have crisp colours and a bold subject in common. To achieve it, apart from an obsessive search for the best conditions and composition in the field, I put a lot of effort too in the post production workflow to make the very best out of the field job.

To see more of Marco’s work on AWL Images click here

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