Our 500px community has no shortage of talented, acclaimed photographers whose work have made the pages (and covers) of renowned magazines, have gone viral across the Internet, and have won prestigious awards around the world. But what we find more interesting are the up-and-coming photographers on the verge of stardom, thanks to their fresh, new approach to capturing images. For example, there’s a new wave of young portrait photographers in Rome whose exceptional works are proof that they’re on their way to success—Ciro Galluccio, Chiara Lombardi, Federico Sciuca, and Miriana Pinna. And they’re all just under 30 years old! What’s even more inspiring is they have organized themselves into a community, a sure-fire way to expand their personal and professional network. Recently, they took over the500px Snapchat to capture their Roma Meetup photowalk — and it’s one of the popular galleries on 500px so far. Talk about squad goals! So we’ve decided to feature each one of these rising photographers, so you can put them — and their personal tips and tricks — on your radar.

First up, meet Ciro Galluccio, a graphic design student from Rome who is in love with portrait photography. He started taking pictures four years ago, when one of his friends convinced him to take up photography lessons. He wanted to express his own feelings, but also to capture the beauty of the people around him. Scroll down, and get inspired with the first of our four exclusive interviews.

Walk to the sun by Ciro Galluccio on 500px.com

Catching fireflies by Ciro Galluccio on 500px.com

Where do you find inspiration in your work?
I’m addicted to eyes. I could spend hours looking at people’s eyes. Over the years, I’ve gotten inspired by great people, like photographer Tim Walker and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki. Amazing artists and my friends are always a great source of inspiration. A lot of ideas in my work come from movies, books, and music.

Le Jardin des Oranges by Ciro Galluccio on 500px.com


Protect by Ciro Galluccio on 500px.com

How do you choose your portrait subjects, and how do you approach a relationship with your models?
Usually, I choose my models from my own imagination. If I can see him or her in one of the movies I construct in my mind, I know how to find the right one! The first thing I see in people are their eyes. I love to shoot beautiful eyes. I also focus on body shapes and hair. First, I contact the person, then I show him or her my portfolio, and I ask for help. If they agree, we work together. I don’t like to take control of every aspect of the photo shoot. TO me, a good picture is created out of a collaboration between the photographer and the model. We collaborate on a moodboard to find the right mood, poses, lighting, and locations. But first, coffee! The best way to get to know each other and to develop a closer, friendly relationship is to have coffee together before you start shooting.

Boy by Ciro Galluccio on 500px.com

Yihong by Ciro Galluccio on 500px.com

How do you develop an idea for a photo?
Usually, I work on a moodboard with the model. First, we collect material that can help me focus on the topic and themes of my photo. Then, I think a lot about the poses and the composition. I don’t think too much about the framing and the lighting. I usually leave those to my own instinct during the actual photo shoot.

Baciami by Ciro Galluccio on 500px.com

Let’s talk about location. How do you go about finding the right one?
If a place makes me go “Wow!”, then it’s a very good location. I usually search the web to find locations. But the best thing to do is scout for them. Go walk and travel around your own city. Think about the time of day you want to shoot. Maybe the morning will not be good for the lighting, but consider shooting in locations during sunset or evening. Just try and look at specific characteristics of a place, something that people can’t see by just looking. Then use your own imagination to make it better.

Astrale by Ciro Galluccio on 500px.com

View from Chains Bridge by Ciro Galluccio on 500px.com

What makes good photo?
Always believe on your idea. Never have fear. If you have a different idea for a photo, don’t be shy with other people to fight for it.

Rewind by Ciro Galluccio on 500px.com

What can we find in your camera bag?
I have a Nikon D5100. I always use my two favorite lenses — a Nikon 50mm f/1.4 and a Nikon 20mm f/2.8. I would love to get a full-frame camera to improve my photos’ quality and a couple of fixed lenses. My dream is to have a Nikon D810 with a 35mm and an 85mm. It’s the best equipment for taking portraits.

Moonlight by Ciro Galluccio on 500px.com

How much post-processing is important to you?
Post-production is one of the main steps in my workflow. I use it to fix the limits of camera, because it’s not a full frame. I usually work on color balancing, tonal values, RGB curves, and hue/saturation on channels. I also use techniques like Dodge and Burn, and other similar tools.

Callback by Ciro Galluccio on 500px.com

How do you choose titles for your photos?
I love to play with words. I use different languages, and give space to my own creativity. Titles can explain what the image hides.

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Ciro Galluccio on 500px.com

What’s the story behind this photo?
As I mentioned earlier, I love getting inspiration from movies and books. For this photo, I was inspired by the film, “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” directed by Tom Tykwer and based on a novel by Patrick Süskind. The romantic mood of the picture is drawn from the models’ poses and from the stunning location we found for our #romameetup16, where me and other amazing photographers toured Rome. The contrast between the natural light coming from windows and the artificial light from the old lanterns in the location really helped me. To enhance the image, I post-processed it by giving the lights a cyan tone and the shadows a yellow/red tone. Then, I used Dodge and Burn to make the shadows and lights stand out. It was important that the models’ expression and pose were at work in this picture, and that’s why I want to thank them for doing an amazing job!


To see more of his striking work, follow Ciro Galluccio on 500px and Instagram.