500px Spotlight with Sara Zanini

Photo Stories

At 500px amazing photography is at our core, but these photos would not be possible without the talented people behind the lens. The 500px Spotlight series highlights the global and diverse photographers that are part of the 500px Community.

This week we are excited to introduce you to landscape photographer, Sara Zanini.

Hi Sara, please introduce yourself.

My name is Sara Zanini, and I’m a landscape photographer with a recent passion for aerial photography. Through aerial photography, I have found the possibility of infinite points of view that allow me to recreate, in the moment of the shot, the emotions that I myself feel in front of the infinite world and nature.

What is your earliest or favorite memory with a camera? This can be when you were behind the lens, or someone else that instilled its importance in you.

I have two moments. The first was just after shooting when I looked at the shots to see if I had done a good job or not. And the second, more fun, is when I used an analog or snapshot camera for the magic of the moment that comes when you develop the photo.


Belief in colors by Sara Zanini on 500px.com

How did you decide to specialize in travel photography, and why did you lean towards capturing places?

My first passion is travel, probably inherited from my mother, who also always took photographs. I also really like taking pictures of people, but since I lack the time to prepare, and since portraiture requires a different approach, I photograph places a lot more. I do not rule out a move into street photography.

In one of your blog posts, you say how you “always enjoyed assisting in planning before leaving for a new adventure”. What elements of preparing do you enjoy, and do you consider extra important as a photographer?

It is important to consider whether the place you are going is cold or hot, what itinerary you want to prepare, and assess the technical-practical aspects (i.e., how often I can load the car, or the drone which has a very short autonomy). I also plan the times when I will be in certain places, such as sunrise and sunset.


Labirinto di Arianna by Sara Zanini on 500px.com

What tips would you give to other photographers looking to complement their portfolios with a blog, and how have you found it beneficial?

Complementing a portfolio with a travel blog requires a lot of patience and work. I would therefore consider it as another job—it should only be done for pleasure, and not for convenience, because it is very very demanding.

It hasn’t brought me any benefits, but it has maybe captured other people’s interests that are more travel-oriented, widening my niche.


Bled by Sara Zanini on 500px.com

When you look to frame a shot, what elements do you always consider?

Trivially the light, and I follow the basic rules such as diagonals, the rule of thirds, and I try to make my shot personal. If I am photographing popular places, I try to give my different and unique subjective point of view.

Do you have a favorite location to travel to? And if so, what is it about this place that makes you enjoy photographing it?

I have no preference of location to photograph, putting my hobby of travel before photography. I think all landscapes have charm and are potential locations, the whole world is to be photographed. However, if I have to express a preference, and being fascinated by geometry, especially city geometry, I would say that the shapes of urban contexts are the preferred locations.


La Spezia Harbour by Sara Zanini on 500px.com

If you face a creative rut do you have a specific strategy to help get yourself back on track?

I do online research to find places that pique my interest, using Google Earth.

As a travel photographer, what are your top three must-have items for expeditions? Can you tell us in order of importance and why this gear is so valuable when photographing a place?

Definitely in first place is the drone (DJI Mavic 2 Pro), because I’m trying to specialize in aerial photography. Secondly, is the PhotoPills app, which allows me to plan my routine according to the conditions of the location I’m in. Thirdly, which until recently was my camera (Canon 6DII), is now the Lomography Instant Square Glass, because I’m moving a bit more towards analog.


Gangi by Sara Zanini on 500px.com

What is your favorite image on your 500px profile and why?

The photo of the Torbiere del Sebino (Sebino peat bogs), because of its geometric composition of the reeds, and because the result matched my initial idea for the shot.


Torbiere del Sebino by Sara Zanini on 500px.com

Do you have any exciting new projects in the works that you feel comfortable sharing with the 500px community?

The next project is to photograph the lighthouses of the European oceanic coast in analog and collect them in a book (perhaps in collaboration with Lomography).

Check out past 500px Spotlights:
Teddy Tavan
Ash Camas
Aleksandra Lemke
Priscilla Ong
Dom Piat
Amel Herzi
Seth Macey
Edward Grant
Andrés López
Dannie Brown
Roberto Di Patrizi
Michal Zahornacky

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