Paul Di Giacomo is a photographer based in Quebec City who creates colorful portraiture. We had the opportunity to interview him and learn more about his process!
Painting the Whole Picture with Lensbaby
Artist Interview with Paul Di Giacomo
Q: When did you start taking photographs and what made you continue?
A: I started taking photography seriously when I bought my first DSLR, a used Canon Rebel XTi back 2008. I was lucky enough to be surrounded by a lot of artistically minded friends and my first photoshoots were very creative, experimenting right away with things like long exposures and light painting. So photography scratched my artistic itch, and to this day is the reason I still enjoy it, even through the more corporate gigs.
Q: Which is your favorite Lensbaby lens/gear and why?
A: I particularly enjoy using the Omni system, especially with the crystal attachments. I used to shoot through glasses to get a similar effect. But I often use a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens and it can be quite cumbersome holding a camera with such a big lens with one hand while trying to frame up a picture and while using the other hand to hold a glass. The Omni system frees up my hands and makes composing my shots so much easier with easily repeatable results.
Q: What tips do you have for beginners just learning how to use OMNI?
A: I tend to get the best results with the Omni system by having a bunch of backlight, whether it be natural or artificial lighting. Basically anything from a simple desk lamp to RGB LED panels, from off camera strobes to the actual sun. Massive amounts of backlighting makes the crystals and other elements flare up, adding texture and depth to the image. If ever the image becomes too busy, it’s super easy just to reposition whatever you’re shooting through on the omni system. Also, a somewhat telephoto lens with a wide aperture is ideal too, in most instances.
Q: What professional photographers have influenced your work, and how do you incorporate their techniques into your photographs?
A: I’m lucky enough to to have a lot of friends who are professional photographers, (Etienne Dionne, Marc Antoine Jean, Alexis B.C.) so I get most of my inspiration from them. As far as famous photographers, while I’m amazed by the versatility and technical prowess of Karl Taylor, I’m really inspired by the moodiness and ambiance of Eric Giovon’s work. His images are often dark and hazy, yet colourful. With him, the feeling of an image seems more important than the technically perfect image. So that’s what I strive to incorporate more into my own work: feeling.
Q: What is the most difficult part of being a photographer?
A: Balancing the artistic endeavours with the business and corporate side. I try to make every gig I take on inspiring to me personally, but sometimes bills just have to get paid. Photography for me is an art and working with people who don’t see it that way can be trying sometimes.
Q: What is your favorite subject to photograph?
A: I’m a people person. I love taking pictures of people, especially people who enjoy having their picture taken and who get in on the creative process. To share that passion for creating stunning images is a joy. However, whenever I feel like some alone time, I do enjoy taking long walks and snapping some pics of urban architecture.
Q: What is the most rewarding part of being a photographer?
A: Seeing an image in your head, working out the logistics on how to achieve it logistically in real life, going out and actually getting the image. It doesn’t always work out, but when it does, it’s so satisfying!
Q: How do you bring the best out of your models? What tips do you have?
A: I have a lot of experience in front of the camera, good and bad, so I can often relate to how they’re feeling. So when I tell them about the experiences I had, it seems to bring a level of trust because they know I understand the sometimes awkward feeling of staring down a lens. But more than that, I find it important to take the time to talk to them before the shoot, get to know them a little bit. All the posing tips and tricks are secondary to establishing a bond, common ground and a good working relationship.
Paul Di Giacomo
I’m a photographer and videographer from Quebec City. I was a professional musician for years and always had photography as a hobby. As a musician, I spent most of my time in front of the camera, but I really enjoyed watching the work other photographers and videographers would do during our shoots with my various bands. Soon enough, I started doing my own photography professionally and eventually made the leap to video as well.