Getting it right is crucial to photographer Frank DiGiovanni. Whether it’s a portrait, a wedding photo, or a fine art landscape or flower, he devotes all his energy, effort, and expertise to capturing the right shot at the right moment.
“In a portrait, it’s all about getting the essence of that person,” he explains. “The moment can be fleeting. My specialty is one person, with no props, and my approach to every person is barely letting them know I am taking their picture. I want it to be authentic.”
Self-taught, Mr. DiGiovanni received his first camera when he was 11, and he was immediately captivated by this device, and what he was able to achieve with it. “I have always been visually oriented, and have good spatial relations. You have to have an eye to see the concept,” he explains.
He took photography classes in high school, and won a national scholastic award for his work, as well as a Governor’s Award for photography.
As a young photographer, Mr. DiGiovanni was grateful for the support and encouragement of professional and award-winning photographers, and took to heart the advice of one in particular: “To find the substance in my work, I had to find the substance in myself. To grow as a photographer, I had to grow as a person.”
After working for various photography firms in New Jersey, he opened his own studio at 4577 Route 27 in Kingston in 2006. “I always knew I wanted my own business, and I was very happy to open here, which is where I grew up,” notes Mr. DiGiovanni. “When I first opened, I focused on weddings and portraits, and I continue to do these. They are the best ways to make memories. I recently did a family portrait, with two grown sons and their mother, who had been ill. The mother died two months later, and it meant so much to the sons to have the portrait.”
Although not formally trained, Mr. DiGiovanni has been determined to learn all he can about photography, and spends many hours investigating new procedures and examining his own work. “I have read all the books about the theory and concept of photography, but there is nothing like the experience of going out and getting the shot. According to author Martin Gladwell, it takes 10,000 hours to become a master of what you do.”
Provided, of course, that one has the talent and skill to become an expert.
Softer and Softer
In addition to his work with weddings and portraits, Mr. DiGiovanni is now focusing more on fine art photography, including landscapes, flowers, and street scenes. “In this work, I like to find the little things that are part of the overall,” he explains.
“It may just be a very small part of the flower, for example, or a little section of a house or building. And, with fine art photography, you want to show the subject in the moment, in the light of the moment. It is often spontaneous, when I discover it — it can be so fleeting. It may be at dusk, when the light is perfect. That’s the last light of day, and it gets more and more gorgeous, softer and softer.”
Some of Mr. DiGiovanni’s fine art photographs look like paintings, since they are stretched on canvas. These have become increasingly popular with customers, and currently, 30 percent of the photos are on canvas.
Digital has become the means of choice in photography today, and Mr. DiGiovanni is an advocate of its value. “Digital is such an improvement. The answer is right in front of you. You see the photo immediately, and the quality is so much better. The main thing with digital is that it helped me to get better in leaps and bounds because I can see it so quickly, and then, if necessary, you make adjustments.”
Portrait photo sessions can last 20 minutes or more, and Mr. DiGiovanni can have color or black and white prints or digital images for clients in a few days. Digital images on line may be available in 24 to 48 hours.
“My rates are competitive,” he adds. “It’s very high quality work at very fair prices. And, I also try to work within people’s budgets.”
Mr. DiGiovanni is practical as well as creative, and strongly believes in the importance of planning ahead. “I need to have a streamlined operation, so I can think about tomorrow and deal with the constant change. My goal is to think about the next 10 years, and I already have my 5-year plan in place. And, I never want to be satisfied with what I did today. I always want to improve.”
He is very pleased that the economy has begun to take a turn for the better recently. As he says, the past eight months have been better than the past four years. Portraits are up, and weddings, commercial photos, and fine art are all up.
Continuing to capture special moments in people’s lives is Mr. DiGiovanni’s mission. “I enjoy taking the photos. For me, if I can just keep taking pictures, that is the ideal situation. I also enjoy the variety of the work, including the processing. I like to study my work, and see ways to improve. The fact that I was able to capture indelible memories for someone with a wedding or a portrait is a way of making a difference in their lives. I want the photos to be meaningful to them, and continue to tell their story.”
Mr. DiGiovanni’s is available by appointment, and he tries to accommodate customers’ schedules. (609) 924-4400. Website: www.digidg.com.