Photographer Profile: Matteo Colombo

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

I did my first trip overseas in 1993, to New Zealand which at that time was a pretty unknown and exotic location. I took some rolls of film with an analog reflex camera, I fell instantly in love with photography even if back then I had very little knowledge about technique, so those images were just nice memories of my trip.

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

I studied electrical engineering at university, I took my degree and worked as a technical manager for many years, until 3 years ago I decided to pursue my dream, so I left a secure job and embarked on this journey. Best decision of my life!

One Foot Island, Aitutaki, Cook Islands (MR)
One Foot Island, Aitutaki, Cook Islands (MR)

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

On average I spend 4-5 months per year travelling, I normally do a 3-4 month long non-stop trip, usually to long haul countries and then a few shorter trips closer to home.

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

I love Asia in general, mostly because people are so special and welcoming, and I always find traveling in Asia a personal, enriching experience that goes beyond the sole scope of work. If I have to pick just one country, I would say Myanmar, I guess because my trip there was particularly pleasant and successful.

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

I like to use natural light whenever possible, especially for portraits, so I always carry with me a portable light reflector, which I normally prefer to use instead of flash.

Traditional mexican Mariachi group in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico (MR)
Traditional mexican Mariachi group in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico (MR)

What do you find most challenging shooting travel stock images?

Nowadays it’s becoming quite tricky to use a tripod, especially in Europe and in the United States, even in public spaces and also photographing people is becoming increasingly challenging for permissions and releases.

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

I asked the little monks in the image below, if they wanted to have a race to see who was the best runner… they enjoyed this game so much that they were running again and again! I loved the images from that series because I think they convey the spontaneity and the pure joy of the moment.

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Myanmar, Mandalay division, Bagan. Three novice monks running with red umbrellas in a walkway (MR)

 Is there somewhere you’d still love to shoot?

Randomly pick a place on this planet and very likely I would love to travel and shoot there….  if it includes a nice tropical beach even better 🙂

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

Many times and mostly because of the weather. It is particularly annoying after you have planned a photoshoot, paid for models, dresses, transportation, etc. and then you get bad weather… but it’s part of the game and I always try to change my plans to get some photos even if not the ones I planned.

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

First of all do it only if you have a big passion, then push hard to achieve what you want… hard work in the end always pays off!

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

Probably I would be stuck in my career as an engineer… I’m glad I chose another path!

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

I personally like to take photos of people, especially of locals in remote places, but I try to do a bit of everything, landscapes, cities, tourist attractions etc. My main goal is to give a complete picture of a destination and everything that contributes to it.

How do you make your images stand out?

My recipe for a successful image is: find an interesting subject, shoot it with good light and frame it with a bold composition. Easier to say than to do, sometimes when you have one ingredient you miss another one!

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France, Provence Alps Cote d’Azur, Haute Provence, Plateau of Valensole. Woman with white dress in lavender field (MR)

To see more of Matteo’s images click here

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