5 minutes with — Francesco Spighi

Francesco Spighi is a wedding photographer from Florence, Italy. We had his attention for a few minutes to share a bit more about himself and what he does.


WUN: So for those who don’t know who you are, who is Francesco Spighi?

Francesco: I’m an Italian photographer living in Florence, just turned 40 years old. I’m pretty lucky to live here, because I can go right outside my house and shoot a beautiful destination wedding.

I started with photography back in 2009, when my wife got pregnant, because we wanted to have memories of our kids.

Before that I used to be an engineer and worked as that for about ten years before I quit my previous job. I really liked the team I was working with, but I was more in love with photography.

During 2012, I second shot for another photographer. We worked out a deal that I could do this with them for free if I could use the pictures for my portfolio of my new website. After that, I started my business in 2013.

I try to make something different and to start in a different way, because I’m not so in love with Italian weddings, I feel they are more about what you need to do and less about feelings. It was also that idea I had about my own wedding as we got married in 2008.

It worked out well, so in the end of 2013, I increased my prices for people getting married in Italy. In 2014, I quit my full time job for a part-time one.

Then at the end of 2015, in October, I was fired because my boss understood that my mind was in a different place all the time, so he made that choice for me.

My parents spent a lot of time and money to give me a good degree and I was having a 10-year career on my shoulder with good pay. So it was a tough decision to make, when you have two kids to support. It’s hard to quit a really good job like that.

WUN: So he actually helped you by kicking you out and forcing you to go full time.

Francesco: Yeah, yeah. Probably, I would never have done this otherwise. He did really help me.

Or, we will have to see in the future if that was the case. But, right now I’m a really happy person. Everything is going great and I think it’s priceless to be happy.

WUN: So what is it you are looking for in your work?

Francesco: So what I really like about this job, is that it permits me to connect with my clients.  I really like to break the ice and that they can feel they don’t care about me around them and they can really be themselves.

So photography is not my main goal. My main goal is to put them so at ease with me, that I can see them as they are. That is beauty to me and the great pleasure of this job.

So what I look for, is to have people look natural. I try to be far from everything that’s trendy, everything that’s mainstream.

I try to not follow all those photography groups out there, because they can easily put in your mind that this year, you need to do this. But all you need to do is get your own stuff done.

So I don’t need to show what everybody shows, but rather to show them as they are.

WUN: So you want to create a situation where you feel that they can be themselves and show who they really are?

Francesco: Yeah, exactly. But without using all those techniques you can read about, on how to connect. Such as ”Tell her about the first moment you thought she was the right one for you” or  ”tell him something that makes her smile”. ”Tell him something romantic you thought the first time…” – that kind of stuff. It doesn’t work for me because you’re creating and kind of controlling a situation, where they are expecting and waiting for direction and you wait to shoot something that you created.

I try to put them so at ease that I don’t need to create something. It’s just about them and they are connected to each other.

WUN: Do you have any ideas or techniques or ways of doing this?

Francesco: It’s just the way I am. I don’t have a bunch of great tips. I’m really easy-going and easy to have around and usually I just walk around talking most of the time and sometimes shoot a few photos.

One of the first videos I saw, when starting out, was about the photographer Peter Lindbergh. It was great because you could see the connection he created with his models. There is something really intimate between the photographer and his models. So I discovered that when he get that kind of shot, with more than just looking straight into the camera. You see, that glance is for him, personally. It’s not just for the camera. It is because of the connection he has with them.

So, I thought that the bigger part of his work is actually without the camera in his hand. I felt like he’s doing 95 percent of his job before to gets the camera from his bag.

WUN: Yeah, right.

Francesco: I’m not trying to put myself on that same level. But what I try to do is just to put them so at ease that they are not afraid to have me and my camera around them.

What I usually say to them is that I’m like a doctor. I see all this stuff everyday, all year long. So like for the doctor, they can ”go naked” in front of me. They don’t have to be shy. They can show me who they truly are. Does that make sense to you?

WUN: Yeah, it does. I think it’s a good way of finding why you do it. Not just, I like taking pictures. But you have an idea what you want to create and why you want to do it. So that reflects in your images.

Francesco: Yeah, exactly. I have an idea and I feel that when my customers recognise themselves in the picture they do not want to be anything different.

They should not feel pressured by what they show me. It must feel that it’s more about the people and not about my ego.

WUN: All right. So thank you for taking the time to talk to us.

Francesco: You’re welcome. It was great, really.

You can find Francesco online here: Website & Instagram

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