Simona Tortolano is a wedding videographer with a passion for capturing intimate moments in special and unique ways. Her films perfectly encapsulate both the raw emotion of every special moment on the day and the romantic atmosphere from the ceremony to the reception and everything in between.
Simona sets the scene for her wedding films with landscape footage, some of which is captured by a drone, and a calming, unobtrusive audio backdrop that allows the beauty of every frame to shine. She uses birdsong and classical music in conjunction with candid footage of the guests, the bridal party, and the happy couple themselves to create an almost fairytale-like viewing experience.
Her films do not often follow a chronological structure. Instead, she uses reception footage to supplement the opening scenes and create a dream-like aura. We asked Simona about her work, signature style and planning vs intuition.
The Magic of Florence
Florence and the surrounding country, and Tuscany as well, of course, is the perfect blending of art, nature, beauty, and tranquillity. It also has international appeal. I think it’s a perfect place to raise a family and start a life. I have always been in love with Tuscany. It’s home for me.
Documentary Filmmaking Roots
Documentary cinema was actually my first love! I have always enjoyed being able to observe and tell stories about real lives and people. I think I love the approach of observing without interference. My first film was a little documentary about the memories of the Second World War, told by my grandmother. I also shot a documentary about the monks living in Venice on the island of San Lazzaro degli Armeni, but it was very hard to make a living with. So it was more of a passion but not a realistic career path for me.
First Steps in Wedding Videography
I chose to concentrate on weddings because it’s the closest thing to documentary filmmaking. I prefer real life to set life, which I had experience with when I worked in the fashion industry. I love emotions and that I am able to show them in my films. Love, reality, and happy couples are the perfect subjects for me. It also makes me happy simply to make others happy!
I’d say my style is a fusion of creative and emotional documentary filmmaking. I also like to think that nostalgia plays a role in my work. If you put all of that together, then you have my signature style. It’s hard for me to define my own style but I’d say that this is as close as I can get to defining it.
Planning vs Intuition & Feeling the Emotion
I never have set plans or scene ideas in my head for a wedding. If I do, it feels forced and I won’t be happy with the end result. It’s better to let the day and the emotions guide you. I always cry during the vows, and I think this emotional connection is important.
I love the shooting day itself, especially if it requires a journey to reach the location. It inspires me so much to have two or three days immersed in the area and this helps me imagine and communicate a very intimate message in my films.
To capture love there must be love there to capture. I can see it in the small, personal gestures or in the couple’s eyes. I can see the love in the smallest details and capturing them on film is a gift. I want my films to be timeless. If a wedding video captures the essence of the day and of the couple, and if it reflects real love and emotion, then it becomes timeless.