Zenfolio is essential and wonderful

- Dennis Berti

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About Dennis

Bio

Dennis Berti was born in Livorno, Italy, in 1978. He discovered the magic of photography at the age of 18 and he immediately felt in love with it. He attended basic photography courses but is mostly self taught, putting into practice techniques learned from photography books and magazines. He also improved his skills by doing photography while travelling around the world for several years. Dennis moved to Mexico in 2005 to work for a large company as a wedding photographer and has since shot more than 500 weddings. After five years he moved from Playa del Carmen to Los Cabos to start his own company. Today, Dennis is a renowned wedding photographer with a unique documentary approach, shooting all across Mexico. He's a member of ISPWP, WPJA, WPPI, Best of Wedding Photography, and Fearless Photographers. He has won more than 100 awards at wedding competitions. He also teaches photography at workshops and conferences in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Chile, Mexico, the United States, Peru, Venezuela, and Argentina.

Interview

Where is your home base? (city/state)

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

What is your photography genre/specialty? 

Documentary wedding photography and street photography

What is your most memorable image and why?

"The flying bride." I won a few contests with this image, and it went viral—a lot of websites called it one of the best photos of 2014. I was a second shooter for a wedding of a good friend of mine. The bridal party tossed the bride in the air, and I shot only one frame with my mirrorless camera.

Why did you become a photographer? What drives you to capture images and has this changed over time?

I started to take photos to tell the story around me, my family, my friends, the places I visited, and the emotions I was experiencing as teenager—in a few words, my entire life. And this has not changed after 20 years. That's why I call myself a documentary wedding photographer. I like to tell real stories.

Do you have any personal rituals to help you get ready for a shoot? What are they?

I always shoot by instinct. On the wedding day, for example, I spend time looking at fine art photography, street photography, fashion—everything that is not wedding photography—for inspiration. This helps me get better wedding photographs. I also try to eat light before a wedding!

What are the top 5 things you can’t live without while on a shoot?

  1. I bring a backup camera with me (just in case)
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  2. I always shoot with sunglasses. I can't work outdoors without them.

  3. Water. I drink a lot during a wedding day. To concentrate I need to be hydrated
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  4. A quick snack. I'm a skinny guy, but I eat a lot, especially when I work hard
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  5. Super comfortable shoes. These are mandatory to to able to move like a ninja
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How do you regain your inspiration if you hit a creative rut?

I practice calm and patience. On the wedding day I'm always stressed by the timeline because it creates so much pressure. But it's not my client’s fault if I need to run to capture everything; they just want great photos no matter what. I prefer to take one great photo instead than five average photos. That's why it is important to breathe, think, and analyze what you have around you. There is always a solution.

Who or what has been the biggest influence on your journey as a photographer?

In the first stage of my career, I was influenced by Helmut Newton and Herb Ritts. Then I discovered Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, Elliott Erwitt, and W. Eugene Smith. Lately I'm inspired by Alex Webb, Richard Koci Hernandez, Alain Laboile, Trent Parke, and Nils Jorgensen as well as other emerging street photographers.

If you could share just one tip with aspiring photographers, what would it be?

I subscribe to the 10,000 hour rule. The inspiration exists, but it has to find you working (as Picasso said). You should always experiment, observe a lot, and discover what really moves you. Practice is the key. Every day shoot at least one image, or many images, to get the one you love. You must do it every day, no matter what. If you have passion for photography, it's not just an exercise; it's a lifestyle.

What are the top three Zenfolio features essential to helping you run your business?

  1. The way I can customize my own galleries. It's amazing how many options you have with Zenfolio.
  2. The ability to share clients' favorites. I always ask them for their favorite images. With this info I am able to select images for albums, and I often need to share the gallery with others (wedding planners, vendors, etc.). It's incredible, fast, professional and intuitive. I love it.
  3. How easy it is to access any of my photos from my previous events using the Zenfolio app. This is great for meetings, when clients ask for a reference, or when they are curious to see something special. It only takes seconds to find what you want. You can also set up the To-Go-List gallery to watch it offline with no need to use your data.

If you could second shoot with any photographer (dead or alive) who would it be and why?

Alex Webb, without a doubt. Fortunately he's still alive, so I still have a chance.

How has the photography world changed since you turned pro?

It changed a lot—the approach, the purpose, the number of people involved, and the technique. Twenty years ago when I started there were far fewer prophotographers than now. The competition now is huge, so to stand out from the crowd you need to be original, to be real, and to tell stories with an unique point of view. The innovations and the technical improvements have also changed, for the better. You can compare it to listening to vinyl versus watching a Blu-ray DVD playing on a 4K LED TV. I believe the secret is being yourself using the technology to improve your work.

What one piece of software besides Zenfolio do you consider to be vital in your workflow?

Photo Mechanic. It's a must. I can't cull the photos without it.

For me, Zenfolio is essential and wonderful.