© Francesco Tonelli
If the kitchen is considered the heart of a home, then photographer Francesco Tonelli must be feeling the love: his 3,200-square-foot studio boasts two side-by-side kitchens. He added the second kitchen after he moved into the Union City, New Jersey, living-and-working space a year ago because it allows his team to produce more food for shoots. Plus, it provides extra stove space for lunch. “We always make it a point to sit down to a home-cooked meal to break up the day and recharge our energy,” Tonelli says. “For me, being able to offer my clients and crew good quality meals … helps create an experience that is consistent with the core focus of my photography business, which is food.”
The two kitchens are open, facing out toward a client sitting area. In the same space, separated by V-flats, is a permanent set with a Cambo camera stand and two cameras. Tonelli shoots with either a Canon EOS-1D X or Nikon D800E tethered to an iMac computer. The oversize room is lined on three sides with windows that overlook the Hudson River, providing gorgeous views of the West Side of Manhattan.
Since he has a separate living area in the same space as his studio, Tonelli often starts the day before anyone else arrives—which is fine by him, since he feels most productive in the morning. He’s got a private bathroom directly connected to his bedroom, as well as two bathrooms reserved for guests—one for men, and one for women. There is a room designated specifically for client meetings and for use when privacy is needed during phone calls. Tonelli’s retouching room is equipped with three iMacs and “a working storage system based on two Pegasus R6 [units] by Promise Technology and backups on Drobo 5D [units],” he explains.
There are a number of rooms in the back of Tonelli’s studio that are dedicated to storing things like dry ingredients, extra refrigerators and freezers, props, surfaces and photographic equipment, including the Profoto D1 Air monolights and ProTungsten Air continuous lights he often uses on shoots. Having all of these things on hand is one of the key reasons the photographer likes to have his own studio. Tonelli explains, “My work is very personal and detail oriented. I rely on many tools, equipment and ingredients that are not practical to transport on location. Here I [have] almost anything to troubleshoot any small challenge that a shoot might present.”
Francesco Tonelli Studio Shots