Martina Bertacchi is a talented photographer from Italy who photographs people in worlds unlike our own. Her portraits are charming and striking, focusing on the subject’s raw beauty and their surroundings. In this interview, Martina talks about her inspiration, ambitions, and the tips she’d give to aspiring portrait photographers. I hope you enjoy this eye-opening conversation!
What inspired you to start taking photographs?
I started taking pictures by chance about 6/7 years ago when I was still at school, and photography became a sort of safety valve on the days of full study. I took inspiration from the smallest things, also in the house, but mostly when I went out I really liked to capture nature, leaves, and flowers. My main source of inspiration was the Internet, sites like Flickr and Facebook have helped me a lot. I saw some photographs and I remained amazed by their beauty, so much that I wanted to start playing around with my camera and make it my own. Only much later I began to get interested in portraits.
You have many stunning photos of people. What do you look for in a model?
I love spontaneity in people. I think that in every single person there is a beauty. I consider it very important to constantly look into it, details even in the face. Sometimes the imperfection can become perfection. I prefer delicate, dreamy faces that tell something.
The subjects in your photographs are always very sharp and well-lit. What advice would you give to aspiring portrait photographers?
The advice I would give to a young aspiring portrait photographer is to not be fooled by the desire to have super expensive equipment but to also start experimenting with a simple camera, play with the lights and natural shadows. I think good post production is more important, as that is what gives meaning and feeling to your photo. Lightroom helped me a lot in the beginning.
What does your editing process consist of?
First I shoot in RAW. I find it essential to recover the lights in the background, and it’s more appropriate for the white balance. To develop the raw format I use Lightroom – as I said before, I modify the lights, use Photoshop to work on the skin, and then I play with colors, curves, tones, and contrast.
Who are your favorite artists and why?
I do not have a favorite artist. There are so many that I admire and I esteem. I prefer to quote emerging photographers that inspired me a lot, like Marta Bevacqua, Alessio Albi, Laura Zalenga, Alexandra Sophie. They represent fully the emotions, through their stories – almost fairy-tale atmospheres that fascinate me a lot.
Is there anything photography-related you wish you could tell your younger self?
I would say to always be themselves, to never give up, and never stop to create and experiment new things and to be inspired by anything that surrounds them.
Your models look very graceful and natural in your images. How do you make them feel comfortable in front of your camera?
I’m actually very shy. It happened several times to turn on the music and let myself and my models be carried by it. I always try to make them express themselves without forcing anything.
Is there a photography genre you’d like to experiment more with?
I’d like to experiment more with taking pictures indoors, with natural light, and why not also self-portraits. I find them very intimate and full of emotions.
What do you find most challenging about portrait photography?
Surely to capture the perfect moment, whatever fills my heart with joy and creates something magical and beautiful.
If a photographer approached you and asked for 3 tips, what would you tell them?
Yes, I have three pieces of advice for people who love making photography:
Let yourself be guided by your feelings and inspirations and most importantly, take the time to observe the environment in which you take pictures and always give a close look to your subject’s details in order to give value to your portraits.
You can find more of Martina’s work on her Flickr and Instagram.