Elisabetta Marzetti is a worldwide wedding photographer who works in the most beautiful places on the planet like Lake Como, Venice, Dolomites, Tuscany, Paris and many others. Her photos have an impeccable style and a unique fashion touch. Thanks to her experience in fashion photography, Elisabetta can make every bride feel like a supermodel on a magazine cover, if that’s what she wants. But in the end all couples want her to capture their moment of true happiness and pure love — and they think this is the best wedding gift they can receive. We talked to Elisabetta about her work which allows people to time travel, her home of inspiration in La Marche and, of course, love she has seen in different countries and cultures.
— You began your career as a runway and fashion photographer. Why did you start fashion photography and how did you change your main interest to weddings?
— It began with mere curiosity and then turned to sheer fascination. There is no girl who doesn't love fashion, right? I was curious to see what fashion is like backstage, how the dynamics of a show feel both behind the curtain and on the front row. All those beautiful creations that hang on the rails transforming into a complete look can be intoxicating to shoot. Soon streetwear became a sort of addiction, and then, because fashion experts always watch who does what and most importantly how they do it, I was asked to shoot collections and editorials. Changing into wedding photography may seem easy after all this, like turning on a switch, but it wasn’t. I just felt I had to do something more personal and equally creative, so I gave up everything to create my own photography brand. I still shoot fashion though. It's a love that never fades.
— Does your experience in fashion help you to shoot weddings? Do you think some of your wedding works also feature a touch of fashion?
Significantly! You see when shooting fashion you're all about the client's vision, but also movement, action, the spark that the designer tries to convey. And, of course, about lots of details that need to be clearly shown. All of my weddings have a touch of fashion to them just because of this sublime training. My photography is a means to convey the soft yet empowering feeling of being loved and loving someone. So you will find instances where action takes over, featuring dances, laughs and candid moments, but also portraits that convey the elegance of a bride's personality, the fine nuances of a couple's style and choices. I view all the brides and grooms I photograph as muses.
— What is your main focus in your work?
There's this notion that there must be one thing to focus on when we photograph. But there is not one sole focus, rather a thousand miniscule ones that come together to create the big picture. So I focus on absolutely everything that goes on in these moments. The lighting, the ambiance, the framing, the style, the focus, the energy, the things that are meaningful to each different couple, the nods... I could go on forever, really.
— Do you have any plans or goals you want to achieve in your wedding photography? Is there something that motivates you to grow?
— Growth for the sake of growth is no good in my books. I always find ways to keep being inspired and in touch with my craft no matter what I do. I always look for new ways to fill my imagery with beauty in all its forms, be it the fashion aspect, with shootings, editorials and new projects, I want to keep moving. Among my next "goals" let's say is to venture forth to new destinations. I've always wanted to visit Asia and document weddings there. Every culture in the world has so much beauty to discover and I wish to be part of the world, understanding what it's made of, love is universal but it's also as microcosmic as it is macrocosmic. I guess this is what I'd love to explore further.
— You have seen so many different weddings in different countries, and every couple is unique, I guess. But what can you say about the relationships between a bride and groom — are they different or does love always look and feel the same?
— The short answer is yes and no. All people love no matter what their country or origin is. All people exhibit this love in public or in private, but as each culture is different the photographer gets to view the endless nuances and undertones love has. No single relationship I've ever photographed looked or felt the same as any other: different cultures, gestures, religions, diverse ways of expressing emotions or in some cases letting emotions flow freely for the first time, the status of the couple having changed to married. What strikes me every time is that their eyes sparkle. Sometimes the sparkle is shy like a will o' the wisp at dawn, others it's like the shine of a chandelier, but it's always present. This is the most comforting thing, to understand that magic exists in humans and that we are all vulnerable to at least one person on the planet.
— In one of your Instagram posts I see touching feedback written by one of your couples: «thank you for giving us the most wonderful wedding gift, the gift of eternal memory». Do you agree that this is the best wedding gift?
— This is such a beautiful question! Well, let me start by saying that preserving memory is one of the most important reasons why I do what I do. Photography evolved just because humans felt the need to go beyond, and "paint with light" what they felt was so important to them. I don't know if this is the "best wedding gift" but perhaps it's one of the deepest ones as it allows you to return to the original feelings of that day. Along the years we may change, but each time we look at the photographs of major events we find the way back and for at least a while we become that same person again. Vicariously, we time travel.
— You really appreciate great locations and interior design. As a photographer who has worked in beautiful places like the famous Villa Balbiano and the best french chateaus, could you please tell us your favourite wedding locations?
— It's true, my clients have exquisite taste in choosing their wedding locations. I love everything about design and architecture and how transformative they can be as a backdrop to their photographs or to the original feeling one gets out of celebrating. Venues that come with a vast history also carry an old-world romantic sentiment which rubs off as soon as one steps foot there, whether they are the bride, the groom, a guest, or the photographer, making them instantly feel a part of something bigger. That said, I can't say I have a specific preference among Lake Como villas, French Chateaux, Amalfi Coast estates or any other venue across the globe. Each has its own story and I'm always appreciative of the amount of curation and research my clients go through to select the one to best represent their style.
— Could you please tell us about your E/M Studio in Le Marche— what is it for you?
— My studio is a creative home, a den for new ideas and where many beautiful things come out of. It is at the Studio I design artisanal photography products, meet with creators, and take some time to ground myself. During lockdown it was also the place where I spent hours creatively studying, producing and planning my next steps. As soon as it was over everything was set in motion and I think it was because I got to center myself so easily there.
— On your website you sell art prints with your photos and donate 20% of your income from it to the Childrens’ Leukemia Association. How did you come up with this idea?
— For me, the idea to establish a print shop for this began with a very dear person whose condition allowed me a look into the life and needs of someone who suffers with Leukemia. Unlike the photography I'm offering at the print shop, the picture was not calm and collected. To counterbalance hardship with beauty I thought of creating something to ease it. My world is visual, one where love does magnificent things. Expanding the gratitude was something I felt I had to do. Children ARE the future so the CLA seemed the most appropriate choice.
— From your point of view, what makes a wedding shot beautiful?
Usually the first thing we look at when we view a wedding photograph is the faces of the people in it, we detect the smiles and their eyes, and then details fall into place, textures, backdrop, lighting of course, fabrics, fashion, statement, anything really. To make a beautiful wedding shot one needs to bring all of these elements together, and then into perspective but to make the shot actually matter, they should convey the feelings. A single movement, an angle, the action, a look, the softness, the "nowness", even the unimaginable can significantly alter the way an image is perceived. So to sum this all up in one sentence, what makes a wedding shot beautiful is the way the photographer sees everything a microcosm is composed of and applies it to one single shot.