Samui Wining & Dining
The Road to Perfection

Claudio Cerquetti’s amazing photographs of Samui and its properties are the result of years of passion and creativity.

48We all do it. We’re usually in a hurry to see the results. And when they're even half way good, we’re happy. There’re hardly any amongst us who don’t get pleasure from taking even mere snapshots. And these days it’s really easy to get into photography. Even phones come with cameras and cameras themselves are cheaper now than they’ve ever been. With more and more people learning the art of photography how’s it possible for a photographer to really stand out from the crowd?

Talk to Claudio Cerquetti about photography and it’s immediately easy to see he has a prime quality that’s always necessary for success. Passion. And it’s passion that’s backed up by years of practice. He’s been photographing various subjects for most of his life and he quickly learned that the best way to keep on photographing was to make it his career. On Samui he runs a very successful photography business, Fantasy at Work, which concentrates on advertising for resorts and real estate projects. He’s also been working for the Tourism Authority of Thailand in both Samui and Phuket, providing images for the main resorts and booking agencies.

To become this successful requires talent, technical skill and most important an inordinate amount of dedication. It’s this mix that sets professional photographers apart from the rest of us.

And contrary to common belief, a photograph isn’t the work of a split second. A lot of preparation is required. When Claudio is shooting houses, for example, he’s out and about even before the houses are finished. Long before, in fact. “I climb up hills and walk through the jungle and view the very first stages of villa construction,” says Claudio. “It starts right then. Our company photo archive’s full of such shots and shows the unspoiled nature of our island.” Just like a portrait painter, he feels he has to get to know his subject.

To give an example, three years ago he was doing a photo shoot for a book about Samui and climbed a hill close to what was going to be the Karma Samui development. The area had an extraordinary beauty to it but rather than just be wowed and take a few easy shots, Claudio assessed it with a professional eye. Then his technical skills came into play. “For the book I did a 180° panoramic view from the land, at sunrise, creating a photo package which also included lifestyle details.” He immediately noticed how from the position where he was standing Koh Matlang was exactly in the middle right of the panorama with an equal amount of sky and sea above and below the horizon line. He took advantage of what he saw and created a very balanced image. The ability to analyse what makes a good photograph is essential and is something that takes time to acquire. The rest of us have to make do with fumbling about and taking countless shots.

A few months ago, Claudio’s company was asked to shoot that location again. It now includes a beautiful villa, Baan Chompha. “We started to shoot the building and saw that there was something unique here, the juxtaposition of bright colors,” says Claudio. “There were just three deep tones blended together: green for the garden, blue and turquoise for the sea view and brown for the structures – it added up to what can only be described as an amazing visual ‘feeling’.”

Claudio’s analysis for the exterior paid off in good photographs. However, for the interior shooting, the daylight outside was too bright while the light in the rooms was too dark. It took more than just nifty thinking to solve this problem. “We used 32 extra micro spotlights,” says Claudio. “We boosted the light in the rooms so it matched the light from outside. This meant we could go ahead and know that the room details were as visible as the views and you could clearly see the interior design items that were displayed.”

Sometimes it really is necessary to rely on equipment and it’s part of Claudio’s job to lug around heavy accessories when needed. Meanwhile, a professional photographer must also think of the clients’ needs. As Claudio explains, “We chose to shoot with three camera units using 21 megapixel files; we often reached image sizes of several hundred megabytes. This creates more value for money for the companies we work with; after the final delivery the clients can use the images to make billboards and other extra large prints.”

By now it’s easy to see that becoming a professional photographer involves a huge amount of hard work and the ability to think technically, creatively and also from the point of view of clients. We can all learn to take better photographs if we make some efforts and the results will no doubt be pleasing, but to reach the level of the professional, it really means only one thing – making it our life’s work and passion.


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