After many, many years as a photographer, I’m still fascinated by magic that happens behind the camera of every breathtaking shot. This is uniquely possible when all the elements come together in harmony – the light, camera, lens, cables, equipment, with the beauty in the foreground and the action in the background. Join me behind the camera on some of my favorite photoshoots.
1. Book Divina Bugatti for the Italian Publisher Franco Maria Ricci. 1992
The backstage for Divina Bugatti at Museé National del l’Automobile in Mulhouse, Alsace.
Before taking this picture I changed the position of the lights to hide my “professional secrets.” At that time is was uncommon to share information.
Read more: Divina Bugatti: Behind a Shooting for a Great Book >
Years later I shot the Bugattis again with the same lighting and style. Continue reading to learn more.
2. Repro of Pisanello’s Painting Saint George and the Princess. Verona Santa Anastasia 2005
Hasselblad Microstep at a height of 47 feet
I noticed that at a specific hour, the natural light was perfect on the right hand side but the center and left were in the shadow. After approximately half an hour, it was perfect at the centre and so on. So I shot this in five takes, with a one hour of lag. I planned to shoot in microstep mode, at 16 shots in order to obtain 88Mp shots. Initially this seemed unattainable because of the absolute stability required by this shooting mode, where the slightest hint of micro vibration would have produced an unusable, pixelated file. read more >
Camera: Hasselblad 528MS in Microstep/88MP Mode – Lens: Hasselblad 80mm
3. Front Page Pictures for Avenger Catalog. Bassano 2005
Challenging the possibilities offered by the system
I have been working with Manfrotto for over twenty-five years. It has always been an important client, especially as an important brand for many photographers. This project for Avenger, a brand of Manfrotto, required the pictures to be backlit with the products on a white, glossy, reflective surface. This kind of lighting, however, was less than ideal for black and steel objects with no transparencies.
Camera: Hasselblad 528MS in Multi Shot mode – Lens: Hasselblad 80mm
4. Hi-Res Repro of Leonardo da Vinci Drawings. Biblioteca Reale Torino
Hasselblad high resolution
I used various Hasselblad digital backs with the “multishot” or “microstep” settings, with very high resolutions up 88 Mp which turned out to be of key importance in serving exceptional results. This was not just a pointless display of power, but necessary to capture every last detail. The lens used is a 120mm macro, extraordinary and capable of supporting unbelievable resolutions. The multishot reproduction allows for very loyal color, without interpolation. For this reason, the natural sharpness, without the use of a mask, is incredible and shows every single shade.
Hasselblad H528MS – Lens:Hasselblad 120mm
The drawings of Leonardo da Vinci in High Resolution >
5. FMR Art Magazine. The Raft of the Medusa. Louvre, Paris. 2008
Musée du Louvre. Paris. The Raft of the Medusa, by Theodore Gericault.
I was introduced to the Louvre by Italian publisher Franco Maria Ricci. His Art Magazine was probably one of the most prestigious art magazine in the world, so they closed this room for four hours just for me. This was a lot considering that Da Vinci’s, “Gioconda” is kept in the next room.
At first I was really disheartened as the situation was very difficult. The Museum Director gave me strict limits regarding strobe power. Additional problems were created by the huge skylights that added reflections to the painting.
Hasselblad H39MS – Lens:Hasselblad 8omm
6. Manfrotto Ad Campaign. Bassano del Grappa, 2009
In fall 2009 Manfrotto, world-leader in photo and video professional support, launched a corporate adv campaign on its brand, featuring the Manfrotto logo, and the company’s flagship products. The agency chosen for the job was the Italian Claim Advertising, and I was called in to capture the flagship products. The session took place at Francesco Parolin Studios at Bassano del Grappa.
Camera: Hasselblad 528MS in Multishot mode. Lens: 80mm + Tilt&Shift Adapter
How to Shoot technical Products >
7. FMR Art Magazine. The Iron Masterpieces of Palazzo Madama. Torino 2008
After many, many years as a photographer, I’m still fascinated by magic that happens behind the camera of every breathtaking shot. This is uniquely possible when all the elements come together in harmony – the light, camera, lens, cables, equipment, with the beauty in the foreground and the action in the background.
Camera: Hasselblad 528MS – Lenses: Hasselblad 120mm Macro
8. Gitzo Athena Electronic Head. 360° Presentation. 2009
It’s not easy to set the lights for a 360° presentation. You must set up the lights, rotate the subject, tweak the lights, rotate again, tweak the lights again until you find a setting that works properly for all the steps.
Camera: Olympus EP2 + Leica 50 Summicron
9. Book: Antonio Canova. L’invenzione della Bellezza. Gypsoteca Canova, Possagno 2008
From the beginning to the end of this photoshoot I had goose bumps, in awe of the beauty of the sculptures all around me, and the equally stunning location. The Possagno Sculpture Gallery, which holds all the original master copies of Canova’s sculptures, was redesigned by famous Italian architect Carlo Scarpa in a beautiful natural setting.
This is the only one of my books that I don’t have a copy of. The retail price of the book was €100.000/$115.000. Sixteen copies were printed, eight were donated to the heads of state at the G8 meeting, the other eight sold.
Camera: Hasselblad 528MS in Micro Step / 88MP mode – Lens. Hasselblad 120 macro
10. Art Book: St Michael Archangel Abbey in Formis. Capua 2010
Most of the pictures were taken from 15 to 35ft high.
I shot remotely using the Gitzo Athena Motorized Head
Camera: Hasselblad 528MS – Lenses: Hasselblad 80mm and 120mm Macro
11. Fine Art Print. Raphael’s Madonna della Seggiola. Palazzo Pitti Florence 2013
During this project, I worked for hours with goosebumps. The room was full of iconic masterpieces. The big problems here were the huge, thick frame which created a shadow on the painting as well as the thick glass which also happened to be not perfectly transparent.
Camera: Hasselblad 50MS in four shots mode. Lens: Hasselblad HC Macro f/4 120mm
12. Art Book. Minimal Micro Set. Milano 2010
I love this picture. This is by far my smallest set. The funny thing is that for this customer I usually work in luxury location.
Camera: Hasselblad 50MS in four shots mode. Lens: Hasselblad HC Macro f/4 120mm
13. The Bugatti Centennial Meeting. Castiglione della Pescaia, 2009
Extract of the article by Susanne Schmitt from Victor by Hasselblad Magazine
Who ever said immaculately lit, majestic looking photographs of luxurious automobiles could only be achieved in a studio? Roberto Bigano, Italian photographer specializing in seemingly insurmountable challenges, proves the opposite true.
At the great Bugatti centennial gathering in Castiglione della Pescaia in Tuscany, Bigano and his team set about creating glamorous, studio-like images of the most beautiful and indulgent Bugattis ever built.
Using an H3DII-39MS multi-shot camera, the shoot took place right before the eyes of the many Bugatti fans beside the main entrance of Hotel Roccamare in the middle of the Tuscan countryside.
Bugatti Type 40. Owner Andrea Frascari.
Hasselblad 39DMS. Lens: Hasselblad Zoom Wide 50-110mm f/3.5
Read more about Bugatti professional photoshoot
The Bugatti Sessions for Victor by Hasselblad >
Shooting Cars on Location >
Roberto Bigano. The Bugatti Portfolio – Victor by Hasselblad >
Download the hi-res pdf and watch it in double page view mode >
Francesco and Andrea checking the stuff before leaving.
My Equipment for the Bugatti Shooting
1 Manfrotto 475B – Photo tripod
1 Manfrotto 410 – Geared Head
1 Manfrotto 547B – Video Tripod
1 Manfrotto 701HDV – Video Head
1 Manfrotto MBAG100 – Tripod bag
1 Manfrotto 269HDB-3U – Look out tripod-stand
3 Manfrotto 1004BAC – Black Alu Air Cushioned Stackable stand
4 Manfrotto 003 – Backlite Base
4 Manfrotto 156BLB – Black Alu Low Mini Pro Stand
4 Manfrotto 001B – Black Alu Nano Stand
1 Avenger A0010 – Steel Baby Stand
1 Manfrotto 022 G-PESO – Counterweight
1 Manfrotto 023 L-PESO – Counterweight
1 Manfrotto G300 – Sand Bag
2 Avenger A2016D – C-Stand 16 Detachable
1 Avenger A2022D – C-Stand 16 Detachable
3 Avenger D200 – Grip Head
2 Avenger D250 . Gag Gobo
2 Avenger D500 – 20″ Extension Grip Arm
2 Avenger D520 – 40″ Extension Grip Arm
1 Avenger I1010 – Meat Axe Flag 30×36″/75x90cm . Black Cloth
1 Avenger I1021 – Cutter 18×48″/46x120cm . Black Cloth
1 Avenger I1031 – Floppy Cutter 24×72″/60x182cm . Black Cloth
1 Avenger Modular Frame Set – 20×20 – 6,10×6,10 mt
6 Avenger tubes 4×4, 122×122 – with balancing accessories for background
4 Avenger A3043CS – Overhead steel stand 43 with bracked wheels
4 Manfrotto 143N – Magic Arm
9 Manfrotto 035 – Super Clamp
4 Manfrotto 386B – Nano Clamp
8 Manfrotto 271 – Panel Clamp
2 Manfrotto 171 – Mini clamp
8 Manfrotto 013 – Adapter Spigot
8 Arri Junior 1000 – Fresnel Spot Light
2 Lastolite foldable panels
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