Working in Spain for 25 years, Lunamarina specializes in children and fashion photography.
Q: What’s the main difference between shooting children and adults?
A: The main difference is that most children do not understand what you want from them. Communication is the difference, so I change the communication medium and drive the shoot as a game with them. With adults, it’s a matter of knowing what you want to get, and explaining it clearly.
Q: Do you believe in the term “a masterpiece of commercial photography”? If so, could you give an example?
A: Based on my previous experience, only the number of downloads can answer this question. I would never know which image is a potential masterpiece. Some variables independent of the quality of the image or the quality of the concept may have a huge influence on how well a photograph is received. As we talk about commercial photography, it is important to note how many similar images could meet the same demand. I think the niche theory applies when determining if a photograph is a potential masterpiece.
Q: Do you remember your first professionally made photo?
A: Yes. In the beginning I had to shoot some other subjects that could not be considered my favorites. I worked for other photographers in interior design, furniture, industry, and it was an industrial area where I took my first professional steps. So working with models and fashion or lifestyle were out of my range at the beginning. Only one year later I founded my first studio and began seriously shooting people. That was more than 25 years ago.
Q: Please list the photographic equipment you work with.
A: I still have my Hasselblad film cameras, but for everyday work I use a Canon digital system, choosing a different body or lenses, depending more than anything on the weight that I can afford to carry for each project. Lighter cameras are for travel and weekends, but heavier equipment in studio and working for clients.
Q: How often do you buy new cameras and accessories, and how quickly do they become obsolete?
A: I began to buy digital stuff when it developed a full frame with 12 Mpix. That was the frontier between a logical resolution and the previous cameras. Then I went to 16 Mpix… and then came the sensor-cleaning feature… Those were big steps in the evolution and I needed to purchase them. I’m not a tech “fashion victim” at the moment, and I’m very convinced that the main difference is the sensor size. I found better results on 16 Mpix on FF than 18 Mpix APSC. Same thing with medium format compared to any 35mm. FF at the moment. I try to stay aware of the “big words” about what the future will bring with the tech development. My philosophy is to purchase when the price is logical and when the new device brings a very obvious improvement. I won’t change my camera for some new one with just 1, 2 or 4 more Mpix.
Q: How many people do you employ for assistance? Who is doing what? And who is your main and irreplaceable helper?
A: I should say that each production has its own team configuration. I always work with freelancers and do not have a basic team. The main irreplaceable helper is maybe me — it sounds weird, but I need to control everything that’s happening, and it’s better to do it myself. Also in retouching, when I have freelance retouching assistance, I spend more time explaining what I want to get from each image than doing it myself. Actually most of the “masterpieces” did go one step further, and maybe the difference came from investigating different possible solutions for image retouching… and that would never have happened if I wasn’t there “sweating the t-shirt.”
Q: Could you send us a few photos of your studio and describe the atmosphere?
A: I’m now in the process of changing my existing studio for another bigger one, because my needs are changing. In my country, people use to say “In the house of a blacksmith hangs a wooden spoon.” Translations are not always the same, but I don’t have photos of my studio before the change. I will try to remember to do that when the new studio is done. I don’t know how long it will take — I don’t think it will be soon.
Q: Are there any actions, rituals and things that help you do your job?
A: I’m don’t like doing the same kind of shoots. I change around the shooting subjects, background or location and the people. So the only thing I need to be sure of before taking the camera in my hands is what that project needs from me. Once I understood this, my ritual is done, and what remains is to work on it.
Q: Do you work every day? Can you say you have a flexible schedule or a busy schedule?
A: I have a busy schedule, but that is my fault. I work on many different kinds of projects, and stock too at the same time, and get a little stressed when too many projects overlap. But I have to deal with it: I prefer a low-profile stressed lifestyle, rather than being bored. Really, my schedule is flexible but I’m to blame for how busy it can get sometimes.
Q: How can you describe an excellent stock photo in a few words?
A: Sells, and sells, and sells! Only very, very few reach this status.
Q: Have you ever had problems, scandals, or force majeures during shooting?
A: None, and I hope it will stay that way!
Q: Do you think you have some national peculiarities in your work? Are you patriotic and do you show it?
A: That’s not easy to answer, since I cannot come out from myself and have a completely objective opinion of myself — maybe you can tell me if you see some national signs. I think more that a Mediterranean Sea influence is easy visible in some areas of my work: I love boating, sailing, the coastal areas. If I take my camera while boating, it’s obvious that’s there is some local touch to it. I do not think that further national or patriotic peculiarities are shown in my work, since I don’t feel like that myself. I love to live where I do, but I have moved from one country to another to work, or to live. I have lived for long periods in America: the States and Mexico, spending some time in Caribbean areas of Central America, and I love those areas and that influence is visible in my work, too.
Q: What does your work say about you? Is it a reflection of your life?
A: Only sometimes… but when it’s like that, the images seem to be “improved”…
Q: Could you informally describe your subjects and style?
A: I basically work with people and enjoy shooting landscapes and landmarks while traveling. I do not travel for photo shoots, but take my camera and shoot when I’m out.
Q: Are there some things that will never be in your portfolio and why so?
A: I’m not a man of big words. I can’t predict my own point of view in the future.
Q: Could you name 5 things which professional stock photographer should never do?
A: Lazy, snapshot, believe in miracles, leave the camera at home, narrow-minded.
Q: Where were you particularly pleased to see your work?
A: Maybe in foreign countries’ billboards when I’m traveling there.
Q: Do you have a professional dream?
A: Yes… a portable Smartphone-sized computer with a magic red Enter key that will simplify the work of retouching… and will be able to surprise me, for as low as $200….
Q: How do you see the world of photography, say, in 2021?
A: I’m not sure how honestly I shall or can be in my answer: I will try to be polite and honest at the same timIf we are talking about stock photography, something has to change in the next few years. I’m very sure that pros will need to see a light that now is a little twilight. Over the next few years, I do not see clearly if we keep using the same formula for stock photography. I have my own theories about how the future should be… But I think it should be better for pro contributors, or pros will stop producing, due to the massive numbers of images available in many agencies that decreases the monthly profit per image. In general I would ask for higher percentages for us… there are agencies giving us 15%, 16%, 17%, and some others giving 60%, 70%, 80%, and maybe the future will drive the business to something more like an “image property owners community.” History says that when the balance is broken for some reason, a revolution comes, and people seek balance in the opposite side that caused the crisis. If a crisis happens in stock photography, a new formula more profitable for us, the rights-owners, will happen. That’s a revolutionary point of view, but I think that still the business has not finished its own evolution.
All images © Lunamarina/Depositphotos