The beauty of photography is the ever-changing nature of one’s work. However, there will always be those shots which will be constant favourites, at least until the next shot. What is the backstage to these photographers’ favourite shots,asks Christina Goggi.

Edward Lansink

The photo: The contrast between the calm water and serene setting and the restless gondolas struck a chord with me.

Inspiration: Venice can be very busy, especially around Piazza San Marco. Having spent a couple of days roaming around and having made up my mind the previous night to get up to catch the sunrise at around 5:40am, I was amazed to find the square deserted, except for one groggy Dutch guy with a camera: me.

Although the Bridge of Sighs was my primary target, I usually make it a point to look behind me every time I see something that tickles my curiosity and I’m happy I did that once again. The tranquillity of the scene combined with the motion of the gondolas was an interesting opportunity.

Technique: I brought along an ND filter and a remote trigger and set up my camera on a weighed down tripod, trying a few different angles and taking a few shots at different shutter speeds. In the end the winning formula was ISO 50, f22 at 30s and 17mm on a full frame sensor.

Why is this your favourite photo? The time and effort paid off and taught me a couple of things I’d wanted to pick up. It also fitted perfectly with my state of mind at the time.

Is there anything you’d change about it? I’d probably take more shots at different phases of sunrise to try and capture more of the colour in the clouds.

Elisa von Brockdorff

The photo: It shows a little haphazard world I created out of random items. It alludes to a return to childhood and allowing oneself to be more free and imaginative.

Inspiration: There are elements inspired by artist Yayoi Kusama, especially the use of polka dots. However, it’s also a development of my previous work. In other images I have staged, I used mundane objects and attempted to challenge their typical function. Previously I focused on singular items – for this photo, I grouped more items together and shot them.

Technique: I gathered a lot of items together and played around with them until I was pleased with the composition. Then I cleaned up the image in post-processing to make it look as polished as possible. The settings were f6.3, 1/160 (ISO 500).

Why is this your favourite photo? There are other works that are important to me – however I chose this one as it’s one of my latest works and is currently being exhibited at Lily Agius Gallery, Sliema.

Is there anything you’d change about it? I would perhaps attach an item or two to the background, to have more of a flow between the floor and the backdrop.

Tonio Lombardi

The photo: This photo was taken during a two-day shoot with local band Airport Impressions, shot as part of their promotional campaign for their latest album, Mariette.

Inspiration: This image was inspired by a prerelease version of Mariette. I drew inspiration from a mix of vintage and folk ideas and my obsession with old cinemas.

Technique: This shot was taken in a 16-seat, old home cinema. The owner, a cinema buff, kindly let us use this location to produce a few shots for the band. The main subject and guitarist of the band, Johann, is wearing an old military uniform. It was shot in very dim light on a Canon EOS 5D MKIII at 12800 ISO at a shutter speed of 1/125 seconds at f2.8. I also used a very dim fill light to get a nice light on the subject’s face and the light in the background is actually the light from the cinema’s projector. The very high ISO produces grain which is very suitable for this kind of photo.

Why is this your favourite photo? It really encompasses the band and their music’s image. When shooting bands, you have to get into their music to deliver images which match what the band is trying to express.

Is there anything you’d change about it? Not really.

Francesca Aquilina

The photo: This image of a baby girl experiencing her first Christmas is probably one of my favourite shots: it stands out from the rest because it represents what I love about photography: capturing the essence of human joy.

Inspiration: I wanted to capture the young child discovering the mystery of Christmas while leaving the subject expressing her natural emotions. However, when the subject is a baby, you just have to be patient and ready to capture the right moment.

Technique: I got down on the floor so that I could be at the same level as the child, sharp and on time. I framed the image in such a way to get a great composition, put up the ISO in order to shoot in natural lighting and added some interesting Christmas colourful lighting at the back. Holding my camera steadily, we took a number of shots, and I say “we” because her mother had an important role to keep the baby safe and entertained. I shot this particular image with ISO 2000, aperture f2.8, shutter speed 1/80 and ambient lighting.

Why is this favourite photo? It somehow looks different and Christmas brings great memories.

Is there anything you’d change about it? Anything I would change would make it different and I believe it would lose its unique composition.

Therese Debono

The photo: The chance element and unplanned circumstances make street photography my favourite genre. I have been documenting this part of Sliema for the past year now. There is always something happening at this corner and the seated man is the fulcrum. He’s there nearly every day and I photograph the place even if he isn’t there. In this shot, I like how things came about. There isn’t any posing and none of the people were there because I made them. The man is never too happy to be photographed so having him look at me in the picture while everyone else is oblivious is the best thing for this composition.

Inspiration: I get a thrill when I click the shutter at the right moment: in this case, I clicked just as the man looked at me. For me people stop being people and I simply use them to tie up a whole composition together to narrate a story.

Technique: My compact Leica is less visible so I can easily be disguised as a tourist taking random pictures. There is no planning in street photography. You have to be aware of your surroundings and prepared to shoot. I shoot on manual settings with my compact so reading the light naturally is very important. You don’t have much time to adjust settings: it’s either the settings or you miss the shot. Also, waiting for the right moment can mean that the moment will never come: you have to accept that and move on. The way I shot this image is simple. My camera was already in my hand while I was walking. From a distance I could see the two older women chatting and the man sitting down at the usual place. I passed by, stopped to shoot and moved on.

Why is it your favourite photo? This is currently my favourite photo, but soon the next image I shoot will be my favourite.

Is there anything you would change about it? I would maybe play a bit with this image in post-production to tone down the highlights at the back and ideally there would have been no car parked in front. However for me, this image is just as I wanted it to be: real.

Joseph Caruana

The photo: This photo shows the Milky Way as seen from Dwejra, Gozo. It represents the idea of home. In the mostly empty cosmos, groups of billions of suns are separated by huge distances. One of these congregations constitutes our own galaxy, the Milky Way, of which our own sun is an ordinary star among billions.

Inspiration: Despite our smallness as a species, we have come such a long way in our quest to gain a deeper understanding of our place in the cosmos.

Technique: I made some very quick checks to determine where the Milky Way would set on this particular day, knowing that I would be in Malta around that time. I also confirmed that there would be no moon in the sky, as otherwise the stars’ visibility would have been compromised. Once on site, I mounted the camera on a tripod, chose a wide-angle lens (using a focal length of 14mm), opened up the lens’s aperture to its widest setting (f2.8) to gather as much light as possible, ramped up the camera sensor’s sensitivity (ISO 3200) and exposed for 20 seconds.

Why is this your favourite photo? I don’t think I have an absolute favourite photo. Rather, I have a set of favourites among every genre that I’ve covered. I chose this picture, however, because I think it’s important to show people how beautiful the night sky would look if we were to preserve its darkness. There are three simple steps that would make a huge difference, such as implementing lighting fixtures which direct their light downwards, switching off unnecessary lighting after a certain time, and ensuring that protected night sky heritage areas, such as Dwejra, are preserved by enforcing existing regulations which prohibit the use of artificial lighting in such places.

Dwejra at nightfall has a special place in my heart. I wish more people would appreciate its beauty.

Is there anything you’d change about it? The composition could have been stronger. I didn’t have much time before the brightest part of the Milky Way started setting below the horizon, so I was mainly concerned with recording it before it was too late. I will certainly be trying this again next time I’m in Malta.

Christina Goggi is a content marketing and SEO professional by day and a photography enthusiast by night. For more of her work visit

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us