Simantov International has the absolute pleasure of working closely with Gianni Candido, celebrity portrait photographer who answered a few questions about what makes a great photoshoot, his inspiration, background and importantly, how he curates such beautiful work.

What is your philosophy of a Portrait photo shoot ?

It’s a mix of photo journalism and portrait. Photo journalism because I really love to work in a very discrete way, without disturbing the model’s energy, it’s own nature. Portrait because I really try to discover the essence of the person, what lies behind the surface.

Why do you work so closely?

My visual culture is based on movies, I have a university degree in screenplay analysis and writing. The framing is the way of directing the viewer’s point of view, it’s by nature narrative. I always try to show some hidden parts inside the model, its sensibility. It’s beyond material reality. I am chasing emotions, something deeper inside the person.

What is a successful photograph for you?

The emotion within, its capacity to unveil some unknown part of the model, the deepness of a character, inside of him. My prefered images are the ones that carry a strong message, a strong point of view. The ones that have the potential to invite the viewer to a inner journey. I really love the open stories as much as I love the open images, the ones that allow you to tell your own interpretation, your own sense.

The face as A SUBJECT

A close-up portrait can sounds quite simple and austere as the center of attention is well known and can seems quite repetitive. Nevertheless, as your session unfold, you quickly realize that the real « thing » is hidden. You will have to chase it through the session by dealing with the model, trying to feel him as comfortable as possible to create the confidence for showing his essence, his true nature. Each face is some kind of cartography of the model’s energies, his character. Through the years, its energy is materializing on its face. It’s especially true for people of 40 and beyond.


Eyes are sometimes called the window to the soul. To me, they really are. They are the most intimate part of the human and an access to the inner realm of the person, his essence. Taking portraits implies several subtle eyes processes, firstly between the model and the photographer. Secondly between the photograph, the model and the public.

Color vs. Black and white

I really love the black and white universality and in temporality. Color can be very distracting and so removing it get create more focus on aesthetic or human elements, moving the viewer’s focus on the lines, composition, texture. From my point of view, color version will be used if it add something meaningful to the image. A black and white close-up portrait is stronger from an artistic point of view, it add more impact.