"Heading In" • Photo by Michael Petrizzo

“Heading In” • Photo by Michael Petrizzo (available at shop.capecodlife.com)

From Passion to Profession: Photographer Michael Petrizzo takes his talent to the next level

Michael Petrizzo hasn’t followed the traditional path to becoming a photographer. Instead, Petrizzo turned a hobby into his profession, but only after spending more than 30 years in a wildly different field.

Focused on making his siding, window and roofing company in Connecticut a success, Petrizzo had only enough time for photography to be a hobby. It wasn’t until he closed his company, after 32 years, and moved into his Falmouth summer home that Petrizzo began to actively pursue a career in photography.

Petrizzo wanted to be as successful in photography as he had been in his previous business, but he realized that his self-teaching was limiting him. “I was missing that professional quality in my landscapes and portraits,” he explains.

It was after a suggestion from his kids that Petrizzo started to upload his photos to a photo competition site called Digital Image Café. However, Petrizzo’s work just didn’t have the same quality that the winning images did. But, he says, “because I was devoting so much time to observing the work that others submitted, I began to see where I needed to get to, and based on what I was observing I started to get better.”

Eventually, Petrizzo won. The most successful of his submissions was a landscape titled “A Cold Winter’s Night,” which won Photo of the Quarter. The scene was shot in Connecticut after a fresh snowfall, and the bluish tone of the photograph highlighted the lone house on the property.

For winning Photo of the Quarter, Petrizzo won a subscription to KelbyOne, which offered videos on Photoshop and other photo-editing programs. These tutorials were key to Petrizzo mastering his skills in photography and being able to start selling and profiting from his passion.

Since then, Petrizzo has won numerous awards for photographic excellence from the Professional Photographers Association of Massachusetts.

He still considers landscapes and portraits to be his favorite subjects, citing Nobska Lighthouse in Woods Hole as one of his favorite places to shoot on Cape. But when Petrizzo tires of the typical Cape imagery and the “boats and harbors get stale,” he contrasts his water scenes with desert. Having a daughter, son-in-law, mother-in-law and three grandchildren who all live in Arizona, Petrizzo will travel there to capture gorgeous shots of the deserts, valleys and cacti, which “refresh” him.

Upon his return to Massachusetts, the scenic beauty of Cape Cod is as inspirational to him as it was when he started. “That’s what’s fun about photography,” Petrizzo says.

Michael Petrizzo Fine Art Productions  shop.capecodlife.com