It began with a vision that became an obsession. I had discovered this gorgeous Italian Villa called Villa del Balbianello
in a movie that used the villa as the backdrop for two of the main characters to fall in love. This movie’s romantic moments, though so gorgeously photographed, were so painfully written I’m ashamed to name it ( Star Wars Attack of the Clones). However, it looked so gorgeous and otherworldly that when I found out it was a real place, Lake Como instantly went on my bucket list. If I could have convinced my family that a wedding in Italy was a good idea, I wouldn’t have thought twice about having my wedding here. Naturally, when Alex and I planned our trip to Italy, Lake Como was the first place I was determined we should go, and I couldn’t get out of my head how badly I wanted a photo shoot of Alex and I at Villa del Balbianello in front of the intricately sculpted stone banister, the lake and the mountains. I searched obsessively for the perfect Lake Como wedding photographer to take some photos for us there, but couldn’t find anyone I liked with that soft, romantic, natural, scenic style that I prefer. I even contacted various film photographers I liked from around Europe seeing if anyone could travel to that area while we were there, but alas no one I liked was available. It became up to me to get the photo I wanted.
It sounds simple enough, but I was most nervous about 1) looking like an idiot taking a million selfies with a tripod and timer 2) posing myself to look the most flattering – I do not consider myself photogenic. I know many of my brides feel the same way and for this reason, making my brides look their very best is my number one priority. I wanted to hire a photographer who would do the same for us knowing that it is nearly impossible to do this for yourself except to take picture after picture and note what adjustments to make in the next one once seeing how it turned out.
When we arrived at Lake Como, I was determined to get this off my check list so we could relax the rest of the trip. I convinced Alex to take the first ferry over to the Villa del Balbianello with me the next morning so we could take advantage of the place with as few tourists as possible as well as have some nice, soft morning light. We were the only two people on the ferry to the villa (this should have given me some hint). We got off and discovered that you could get a boat taxi from the ferry stop for 15 Euro each, or walk a mile and a half. Despite my skirt and heavy equipment, we decided to walk. Halfway there we reached a gate, and were told it didn’t open until 10 AM. This gave us about an hour to kill. So much for my soft morning light! I took some selfies of us by the gate to practice posing using a timer and tripod.
Once the bells on the hills began to chime 10, the gate opened and we found it was completely worth our troubles to hike to this remote villa. The gardens were so gorgeous and looked as though they had been carefully cultivated and maintained over the centuries. We found this quiet area of the villa and the perfect lamppost to attach the GorillaPod
to. Miraculously no tourists even came near the area for a full 15 minutes or so while I worked on getting the shot right. After Alex patiently let me take about 10 shots (each of which took a few minutes as I had to run to click the shutter and run back and pose myself within the 10 second window). Yes it was a bit bright by this point, and no, the lamppost wasn’t exactly where I would have wanted it to be for the perfect shot, but despite my perfectionism I’m pretty happy with the photograph we were able to produce given our limitations.
If I had that much trouble finding a good Lake Como wedding photographer, I have to imagine that brides have the same problem! As we left on the boat, it almost killed me to see a beautiful bride and groom, being posed by their photographer in this gorgeous location in a cheesy prom pose. Now my old bucket list item has been replaced with a new one: to photograph a wedding at Villa del Balbianello.