Shooting at Lake Como, Italy

Hey all,

I’m fortunate that I have some friends visiting from the UK for the weekend. I suggested we go up to Lake Como, which is only 1-hour train ride from Milan.

 

como

These mini-trips, including bike trips in Italy, serve me a great opportunity to combine some relaxing leisure time with shooting for stock & fine art. In this post I’ll explain why I shot what I shot and where I’ll submit them to ensure that they hopefully will be downloaded regularly.


Arriving in Como

Leaving behind the humid and hot city of Milan, arriving in Como was a delight as the air was clear and crisp as it rained overnight…the best conditions for photography! It was only my second time in Como so still a bit of an adventure and lot’s of new places to experience.

Como rail
Wasted no time and as soon as I arrived I captured an editorial image of the train station and some passengers. Easy shot and off with a bang!

Next, headed along the promenade to take in the scenery.

Frame of boat on pier posts at Como in Lake Como, Italy
Used the poles on the water as a frame. No logos and people around so it’ll be accepted as a commercial image. I’ll be submitting this one to micros.

A blonde bombshell photobombs my scene!

Right when I was taking some images of the centre of Como with a telescope in the foreground, a blonde bombshell decides to lie down and relax close to me! Whether she did so purposely or not so I could take some shots of her I don’t know but I managed to anyway (keeping in mind that her boyfriend/husband may be nearby).

I managed to get some nice shots of her from the side and behind and maybe maybe maybe [UPDATE: they were all accepted] these will be accepted as commercial images as her face isn’t visible. I previously wrote an article on taking pictures of people and how to still get them accepted as commercial – check it out here with this link. 

blonde bombshell
One horizontal with plenty of copy space and bright colours. If accepted as a commercial image, I feel it’s a premium image.
blonde bombshell-6
One vertical, also keeping in mind to leave lots of copy space at the top. The iconic dome of Como is visible in the background with a nice bokeh effect thanks to my F2.8 lens. This image has a higher chance of being accepted commercially as the other one above imo

House-hunting for my retirement

I found a perfect house which I’ll make an offer in a few decades when the world has gone to shit and I just wanna chill out next to the lake, with hopefully a good internet connection.

Lake Como, Lombardy, small alpine house on Italian Lakes
I’d love to come back here in the winter if/when there’s snow! Again, this image may require a property release…I’ll still submit it and hope for the best. Notice again how I left plenty of copy space on the left side, also bright and vibrant is key to make it show up nicely on those thumbnails for buyers. I’ve submitted this image exclusively to Robert Harding, a premium travel stock-agency

Chillin’ in Bellagio

The real and authentic Bellagio is located a 30-minute boat’s ride away from the city of Como. It’s a cute touristy town and since I was there on a Friday afternoon it wasn’t so busy and managed to capture the following postcard scene without many people.

Bellagio, Italy
I invested a good 30 minutes to clone out and blur enough of the scene that it should be accepted as a commercial image. I believe this is a premium image and have duly submitted it to Robert Harding
stock-photo-bellagio-italy-taken-on-may-picturesque-small-town-street-view-in-bellagio-lake-como-283183643
From my previous visit, awful weather and overcrowded, but I still manage to have 20 downloads earning me just over $20, not bad for an editorial snapshot, so I expect much more with the above!

Next, we went to the tip of the Bellagio peninsula. I love panos and I did one capturing 5 shots with the intention of stitching them together later in Lightroom – here’s the result:

Lake Como panorama
I recommend to include something in the foreground to add depth to an image

On the way back to the centre of town, I saw someone with their feet up on the terrace. Not too sure what to make of this image and whether it has stock potential but I took it anyway and I’ll think about it!

feet
That’s going to be me soon at the alpine house next to the lake!

Golden Hour!

By the time we were going to catch another ferry across the lake to Varenna, the sun was setting and producing some spectacular effects. I was happy to snap away while my friends enjoyed a drink at a terrace.

bar scene-2
Beautiful soft golden hour light. This will be submitted as a premium image to Robert Harding . Hopefully this will be licensed commercially as I ensured that everybody was in a silhouette!
park bench at sunset
A mixture of a fine art photo and stock photo. I’ll be submitting this one to Arcangel Images, a specialist niche agency that licenses images for covers of books

Taking the boat across the lake

While taking the boat across I didn’t bother so much with shots of the colourful architecture of Bellagio as the ones I shot on my last trip didn’t sell at all as there’s probably too much competition as it’s such a popular tourist destination.

Therefore, I was looking for something special and unique to make it stand out.

Tourists Bellagio
Perhaps this shot of some tourists on the ferry and a nice sunset in the background – a quick search suggests that this editorial image is unique and travel to Italy continues to be a popular trend
Clouds casting god rays on a diffused silhouette of Lake Como, Italy
I got Steve Heap’s advice and turned the background into a fine art print!

 

Images of the town of Varenna across the lake are also extremely popular, but I managed to include a small airplane within the frame, thus making it more unique than the competition. I’ll still submit at to micros as it’s generic and should get some repeat downloads!

Varenna, Italy
Approaching the lakeside town of Varenna

At Varenna

Arriving at Varenna, the light was just perfect! Along another promenade, I managed to fine some nice spots:

Walk of love in Varenna, Italy overlooking Lake Como
Probably my best shot of the day, my friends were included in the frame at the end of the tunnel of love, with the quaint city of Varenna on the side + plenty of copy space. This is a premium premium premium image and I’ll submit to the Robert Harding as Rights-Managed

I found some beautiful frames to shoot into for my fine art collections

 

Sunset

I didn’t have my tripod with me but managed to learn my camera against a railing for a long-ish exposure of the sunset setting with some boats on the foreground.

sunset lake como
Still not sure what to make of it, a little fine art, a little stock and where to submit…any thoughts?

That’s it folks – what a perfect day at Lake Como. Hope I brought some positive energies to your day and looking forward to some comments!

Alex

 

 

12 Comments

  1. Interesting post. I’d be interested to see if Robert Harding accepts some of the shots though. I’m not sure the terrace shot is very interesting and I think the boat rail across all the tourist faces definitely spoils that shot. You could crop it for a great photo of the mountains! The one with the tunnel of love is very nice though! I’m not convinced that waiting for the occasional “big” sale is worthwhile though – time will tell of course, but I’m less sure it is a good strategy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m at a bit of a conundrum in regards to Robert Harding and RM at alamy. Even though I haven’t got any sales with RH (which would def have occurred at micros), it’s too early at a stage for me to give up on the strategy. I have the figure of 500 images in mind over one year. If nothing substantial comes out of it then I’ll adop the RF everywhere strategy which is safer and guarantees returns. Perhaps I’m being stubborn but I need to stick with it!

      As for arcangel images, I’m already at 500 images and it’s been more than a year so I need to start considering other options!

      I do love the tunnel of love, RH Will take it for sure!

      Like

      1. Hi Alex, I really like the cropped version of the sun’s rays coming over the mountain.
        You’re doing lots of great work lately. Looking forward to seeing more of it.

        Like

  2. It looks like a beautiful area and you captured some great images for stock – both micro and mid range – and fine art.

    Would that editorial image of the train really sell? It doesn’t seem well lit but I don’t know how much that matters for editorial photos.

    I think your last sunset photo would be a great fine art photo.

    Like

    1. Nope, she ignored me but there were a lot of clicking sounds so she must have sensed something going on haha, but was weird that she went purposely into the frame. Anyway, happy that SS has accepted them and they’re pending with Fotolia.

      “Would that editorial image of the train really sell?”

      It’s not the greatest of shots as deep shadows, although if I put in the search engine “como, train, station”, there aren’t many of those similar images around, which for a lack of choice buyers may just go for my image. I may rework it a bit and brighten it up as it does look a bit too dark. I do like the passengers there on the platform leaving the train, makes it more interesting than just the train and station.

      My post popular train pic is this one:

      https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/london-uk-april-7-2016-inside-409457578?src=blkrhVxjxeLMPnV-fbKm8A-3-14

      It’s been downloaded 18 times and has earned me about $10.

      “I think your last sunset photo would be a great fine art photo.”

      I agree! Sunsets are really tricky in stock as there’s just too many of them.

      Alex

      Liked by 1 person

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