I flew from London to Italy recently to shoot social and editorial content for an amazing client in Tuscany. Fontelunga is a photographers dream! The owners, Paolo and Philip are the most wonderful hosts and effortlessly make you feel welcome. While photographing this gorgeous boutique hotel, I was able to experience some outstanding local restaurants and enjoyed the hotels 'home away from home' atmosphere. I can safely say that this was one of the most enjoyable and relaxed photo shoots, which over 3 full days resulted in 400 edited, high-res photographs of the hotel and destination for my clients to use as they wish. My hotel photography is often used for hotel websites, marketing, editorially (most recently in The Telegraph and Liz Earle Wellbeing magazine) and for social sharing. Here are a few photos from this fab hotel shoot...
The food in Tuscany is of course amazing and Paolo himself even bakes a different cake every morning for his guests to enjoy with a coffee in the sunshine. Cake for breakfast? Yup, Fontelunga is heaven on earth. Twice a week, Paolo and Philip host dinner for their guests, which was a great way to meet other international travellers staying at the hotel and find out which local restaurants and Tuscan delicacies they had discovered while exploring the area. Tuscany is a major foodie destination and so everyone you meet at Fontelunga is passionate about food and wine and have travelled from all over the world to soak up the Italian way of life - La dolce vita.
On our first night, Paolo took me and Robin (my partner and 2nd photographer) to a low key, local restaurant called Mengrello in Foiano della Chiana. We had porchini which was freshly picked and sitting on a stool by the kitchen door before being simply grilled. So light and fluffy! Following the porchini, I found another favourite on the menu - truffle tagliata. I was blown away! It reminded me why Tuscany is such a popular destination for foodies - the Italian's treat their ingredients with such respect! It really is the best place in the world for local, fresh, simply prepared, delicious food.
Paolo and Philip have 3 dogs, which as a dog lover myself, added to the joy of staying at this wonderful property. They are such good dogs too - super chilled and very friendly. I really enjoyed doing a few editorial portraits of the owners with their dogs and also of them both relaxing at home.
While photographing a hotel, it's important to shoot details, as well as hero shots. This gives editors more choice when deciding what to publish. I also strongly believe that the destination itself is a huge part of the story and therefore it's crucial to allocate some time to shooting the local area and points of interest that surround a hotel. I love this skyline destination shot of a distant Tuscan village at sunset, where you can just make out the church tower and Italian Cypress trees.
Every bedroom at Fontelunga is unique and has been styled with lots of love. The bedroom views are incredible, particularly as the sun comes up over the olive grove and there’s great views from the bathrooms too (we spent a bit of time trying to capture this with good angles and lighting). Down the road from the main building at Fontelunga, there are two private villas with a stunning pool. This really is the perfect Tuscan, countryside retreat for anyone wanting to get away from it all and discover some hidden foodie gems in the villages and countryside surrounding Fontelunga and Cortona.
Fontelunga very quickly became our very own home 'Under the Tuscan Sun' and several of the guests who were there while we were visiting had returned for a second visit. Fontelunga is the sort of place you want to return to again and again.
Paolo and Philip are currently working on the launch of their new property in the area - Borgo 69 Watch this space!
Andie Moore is a London based destination and lifestyle photographer writing about travel, hotels and destination weddings.