Annalaura PretaroliGo to places you have an attraction for, it is fundamental to be inspired!
Annalaura Pretaroli was born in Italy and even as a child she was fascinated by the powerful images of the 80s. This was encouraged by her family who also had a creative background, with an appreciation for fashion and the arts. At first, she created stories through pictures by photographing her Barbies and by the time she was 12, she was turning her friends into living dolls, dressing them up in her mother's clothes to shoot fashion shows.
She was brought up to be independent from an early age, enjoying a lot of freedom as well as travelling her parents. In her early teens she ventured off on her own, to explore other areas of the world. During this time, she also explored her love for photography, collecting inspiration from images of her travels, which she hoped would never end.
When she returned home, it was then she realised that this is where her career would lead - photography.
Annalaura Pretaroli - ...go to places you have an attraction for, it is fundamental to be inspired!
RICOH GR III // ISO 100 // Exposure Time: 1/1600 Sec. // Aperture: F5.6
After a successful law degree, Annalaura decided to move to London to study photography at Central Saint Martins. Following her studies, she started her freelance career in 2015 as an assistant to Tim Bret Day, first as a photographer for modelling agencies and then for magazines, focusing on portraits, flowers, architecture and "everything that is full of life".
When Annalaura is not shooting in the studio, she loves to experience nature - especially plants and flowers. By combining this with photography, in 2018 she won an award for International Garden Photographer of the Year, a global competition organised by the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew.
Fast forward to 2022 when RICOH held a GR Cities event - #shootGR_London to meet with local GR community. We met many photographers here and one of them was Annalaura.
We found out about her experience with shooting portraits and following the event she even decided to buy the GR IIIx.
During the event, the majority of the attendees were men, so Annalaura was clearly in the minority. This is representative of the photographers that use our cameras, but we are always looking for ways to engage more with female photographers. So we were pleased to see that when we checked her Instagram, she was using the #ricoh_gr_women hashtags. Looking through the images it highlights the value of the female perspective, capturing real emotions in the images, where typically we would see a focus on technical and linear compositions.
We then decided to reach out to Annalaura to see if she would be interested in helping us run a photoshoot to test the GR IIIx for its ability to shoot portraits. We also invited some of the other photographers from the #shootGR_London event and the day went really well.
As we mentioned before, Annalaura shoots portraits, but she’s also interested in flower photography. With this approach she looks for the beauty that’s all around us, drawing us away from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, bringing our focus back to the nature’s gifts. This highlights the fact that the GR offers a of potential to be used in genres other than street photography.
As Annalaura uses her camera to cover a wide range of subjects, we thought we’d ask her a few questions to see what motivates her as a photographer ...
l: RICOH GR III // ISO 200 // Exposure Time: 1/40 Sec. // Aperture: F2.8 // Exposure compensation: +0,3 EV -
m: RICOH GR III // ISO 200 // Exposure Time: 1/400 Sec. // Aperture: F5.6
r: RICOH GR III // ISO 200 // Exposure Time: 1/400 Sec. // Aperture: F5.6
Ricoh Imaging: We noticed that you share a lot of plant images on your profile, how did you first become interested in this as a subject?
Annalaura Pretaroli: I’ve always had a passion for plants and flowers, as I grew up in a house with a garden, but I had the chance to shoot more botanical pictures when I moved to London and decided in particular to live in Kew village, right next to the Royal Botanic Gardens: it was the perfect spot for having all the flowers I could dream of within reach.
RICOH GR III // ISO 100 // Exposure Time: 1/1600 Sec. // Aperture: F5.6 // Exposure compensation: +1,3 EV
RI: When we think of macro shots of plants, the assumption is generally that such shots also require larger equipment with a lot of effort. Now you often use a GR. Which model and which accessories do you use for your shots?
AP: I use the Ricoh GR III, it has a superb macro function! The camera itself is so versatile and manageable that can be used effortlessly to capture both close ups of flowers and wider scenes. I tend not to use traditional accessories, I like instead to make up my own equipment, like pieces of broken glass to create customised creative effects. I like experimenting and since the Ricoh is so lightweight, I can hold tools with my left hand.
l: RICOH GR IIIx // ISO 1600 // Exposure Time: 1/100 Sec. // Aperture: F16
m: RICOH GR III // ISO 200 // Exposure Time: 1/100 Sec. // Aperture: F2.8
r: RICOH GR III // ISO 200 // Exposure Time: 1/200 Sec. // Aperture: F3.5
RI: Why did you choose the GR instead of using a DSLR for your botanical work?
AP: In my opinion, pictures are all about capturing a very specific moment. The GR fits in my pocket and I bring it along almost everyday. Having the camera at hand allows me to shoot what I see around me exactly when I see it, without the hassle of carrying heavier equipment.
RICOH GR IIIx // ISO 320 // Exposure Time: 1/640 Sec. // Aperture: F16
RI: What settings do you prefer, and do you have a particular technique that you use when taking your photos?
AP: I usually shoot in Raw, standard mode. Sometimes I’ve chosen High Contrast Black and White: I find the mode options very useful to get an idea of what is possible to achieve, an image can be totally transformed if shot in a monochromatic range.
RICOH GR III // ISO 200 // Exposure Time: 1/40 Sec. // Aperture: F2.8 // Exposure compensation: +0,3 EV
l: RICOH GR III // ISO 100 // Exposure Time: 1/160 Sec. // Aperture: F3.2
r: RICOH GR III // ISO 400 // Exposure Time: 1/40 Sec. // Aperture: F8
RI: What difference does post-processing on the computer make, or, are your images so out of the camera?
AP: Most of my images don’t need much editing, nevertheless I like some degree of perfection and I love working in post production, so I try to adjust the image in a way that can better represent my vision, increasing saturation - contrast - some sharpness at times, or removing unwanted debris from a petal, for example.
RICOH GR IIIx // ISO 200 // Exposure Time: 1/125 Sec. // Aperture: F2.8
RI: We hope that GR photographers will be inspired by your images and will want to take a closer look at the local parks and gardens. Do you have any tips on how they should best approach the subject?
AP: My advice is to go to places you have an attraction for: it is fundamental to be inspired! Then, take your time to stop and frame what catches your eye naturally: colours, shapes, light, possibly all of them at once!
Annalaura, thank you very much for the interview and the many tips.
l: RICOH GR IIIx // ISO 400 // Exposure Time: 1/40 Sec. // Aperture: F2.8
m: RICOH GR IIIx // ISO 400 // Exposure Time: 1/40 Sec. // Aperture: F2.8
r: RICOH GR IIIx // ISO 400 // Exposure Time: 1/40 Sec. // Aperture: F2.8
l: RICOH GR III // ISO 100 // Exposure Time: 1/250 Sec. // Aperture: F4
m: RICOH GR III // ISO 200 // Exposure Time: 1/250 Sec. // Aperture: F4
r: RICOH GR III // ISO 200 // Exposure Time: 1/160 Sec. // Aperture: F3.2
We would be happy to find more pictures with the hashtag "#ricoh_gr_nature" or #ricoh_gr_women in the future. But also don't forget to use the GR City hashtags for your home city, such as #shootGR_London, #shootGR_Berlin, #shootGR_Paris or #shootGR_Rome so we can find an feature your work.