Luca Santilli, an Italian Contributor who is rapidly approaching emerald ranking on Fotolia, is a self-taught photographer who truly epitomises the entrepreneurial freedom the stock industry allows. But that’s not all – as Luca explains, the fun him and his family get from taking part in photo shoots is an added bonus! Over to you Luca…..

pescatore in riva al fiume

Let me introduce myself: My name is Luca, I’m 37 years old and I’ve always lived in Milan. I’m married to Barbara and we have two beautiful children. Barbara and the babies are my top models and, as you can see from looking at my portfolio, I have portraits of them in a every single place and pose…

Business team
I began taking pictures for Microstock in 2008 just for fun, thanks to a friend of mine, a photographer too, who introduced me to this world. Before then, my shots were all about hockey, the sport that I have always loved and followed.
So, without any equipment, Barbara and I started our first steps in to this world using what we had at home, an example? I learned to use the light of the chandelier or the natural light that came through the window, instead of a real flash. Then, slowly, we have improved on both the subjects and types of photos as well as the equipment: I’ve changed the camera, bought a more professional one, and my first flash. This was the beginning of the adventure. My professionals “elinchrom” flash that I bought a year ago were very important to improve the quality of my shots as well as my Canon 7D, which in my mind is best camera for me.

windmill in holland

It is hard to say what is or if I have my own style. I definitely like the simplicity of the pictures I take, especially when I do still life. I make photos on a 360° range, from food to people, from objects to sports. Surely, photographing sporting events is something that really excites me, as well as taking portraits. I don’t think there is something in particular that made my photos so popular, with the exception of a thorough investigation of what could be an interesting subjects for customers, that is key.

caramelle more e lamponi

I could define myself as the classic self-taught photographer, I’ve never read a book of photography or participated in courses. I just joined Fotolia, back in 2008, and saw it as a school, looking for advice and helps on the forum. The continuous rejections, helped me to grow and over time, things have improved considerably. If I look at my first shots done, they really make me  smile, because they are really far away from what I’m able to do now. Understanding what customers are looking for in the world of Microstock and improving my equipment has allowed me to get shots more and more relative to them, and that is reflected in the choice they’re making. If, at first, my purpose was  just to make Fotolia accept my photos, now I’m focused on what and how to shoot best a subject. It ‘s very important to find topics that can reach a customer’s interest.

giovane coppia in crociera

I generally shoot food so, when I create the set, I always try to make each ingredient attractive, even those less succulent such as broccoli. It has to be colorful and inviting. When I see the picture it has to make me drool. . Most probably, this is what attracts buyers to choose one of my photos. During summer holidays, I was in Emilia Romagna with my family and everywhere I look, I found my photos of flat bread on display .. stalls, restaurants and bars, all of them used the exact same picture to attract tourists to stop and eat their offerings. At that moment I felt great and, from now on, this is my drive.

homemade bread


Photos that I love the most are those made to my family (my wife and children) because, in those moments, I shared with them my passion and it is also fun to create photo sets. As soon as my daughter Alessandra sees a camera, she poses; she enjoys modelling for her dad and I have to say that together we can create beautiful shots. Her shots have so much success that we can count hundreds of download.

beautiful little girl with painted face

One of the places I have loved shooting the most were the Norwegian Fjords: amazing places, an untouched nature that fascinates you and leaves you breathless. I particularly like Paris, you can find something interesting to portray on each corner and, simply walking on the streets, you can feel its magical atmosphere. I was also very impressed by Amsterdam and its canals, as well as all the Dutch countryside with windmills and its fields of tulips. In the future, I would love to photograph the lavender fields of Provence in France or the northern lights in Northern Europe.


It may seem absurd, but it feel  strange to me, when someone calls me a “photographer”. This is because, despite my excellent results in the world of Microstock, it is a great passion of mine that works around my real job. I’m in fact employed in a shipping company and for 8 hours a day I’m far from home and from my camera and my lens. Fortunately, my job leaves me the afternoon off and I don’t miss the opportunity to prepare new sets and produce new images in order to keep updated my portfolio.

We’d like to give a big thanks to Luca for sharing an insight into his Fotolia portfolio. For more of his work check out his Fotolia portfolio.