For today’s ISPWP member spotlight, we feature Mallorca, Spain wedding photographer Sandra Mañas of Sandra Mañas Boutique Photography.
Sandra Mañas Bio:
Sandra Mañas is a professional photographer based on the island of Mallorca, Spain. She graduated in Economics and worked in the investment banking industry in London for a few years, before deciding to change her life and move to Mallorca to pursue her dream to become a wedding photographer. Sandra photographs weddings from couples all over the world and enjoys being exposed to different cultures and traditions. She is a mum of two beautiful baby girls and on her spare time she likes to photograph her family, go to the beach and eat ice cream!
How did you get your start and why did you chose wedding photography as a career?
In my life there really is a before and after photography, as I turned my hobby into my career. In my previous life I was a client service manager working in an investment management firm in the City of London. I have always been arty and creative and when I was a teen I loved interior design and art history. However, where I grew up I did not see a big career in art so my practical side took the best of me and I studied Economics at the University of Barcelona. I imagined myself as a high flying executive working for a multinational company. But the very first day of my first job -working at American Express- I thought to myself: “what I am doing here?”, “I don´t like office work!” So I decided to find my real passion, which by the way, took me about 5 years to find, until I discovered photography.
How has your extensive experience in wedding photography helped you in difficult circumstances on a wedding day?
My most difficult wedding was the one I shot the day after my mother passed away. I had not slept at all that night and was devastated, but I could not find a replacement so I decided to go ahead with it. It was a sunny and beautiful day and being surrounded by happy people helped me withstand the day. It´s funny that one person´s worst day can be another person´s happiest. The bride and groom did not know my personal circumstances and they were very happy with the photos.
Tell us about some of the more unique weddings you’ve shot?
Photographing the wedding of two ladies was new to me. In Spain same sex marriage is legal, so this couple flew all the way from Australia for their wedding. At the end of the day, it all went very well and it felt natural to photograph two people in love. Also, I have always wanted to shoot a wedding on a boat. Living on an island it´s not much to ask!
What are some of your favorite local venues?
I am a wedding photographer based on the beautiful island of Mallorca, in Spain. The Mediterranean landscape and light are extraordinary so I enjoy some of the best wedding venues here. I especially love the historic house where I got married myself, Son Marroig. This house museum dates from the XVI century and overlooks the stunning cliffs on the sea. This house has a tower where legend says the last woman in the area was kidnapped by the pirates. It also boasts a small Ionic temple made of Carrara marble built specially to admire the magnificent sunset.
What advice would you give a bride who is looking for a wedding photographer?
I´d say get a photographer with a personality you like, with whom you have a good feeling and whose style you love. If he or she is over your budget, cut down on flowers or something else, but not on photography. If you are on a budget, another alternative is to leave the album for later, and order it for your first wedding anniversary. Also, don´t hire friends to shoot your wedding. I know a friend that got a friend to photograph her big day and he got all drunk so she ended up without a single photo of her and her husband together!
What’s your favorite part of the wedding day to photograph?
I always loved Fashion photography, so I love shooting the bride on her own before the ceremony. I try to do stylish poses that look natural and match the brides personality. I´d say the most challenging bit for me is posing the couple and making it look natural.
What kinds of weddings do you love to photograph?
I love to photograph small, intimate weddings, where the bride and groom are emotional, fun and collaborative.
What are your top tips for brides to help them get great photos on their wedding day?
Go with the flow. Relax. Enjoy your day. Don´t think about the wedding planning, if something does not turn out not as expected, just let go. Smile and I´ll do the rest! Also, wear comfortable shoes!
How important is it to hire an experienced wedding photographer?
In our industry experience is key. The more weddings you shoot, the more creative and technical skills you´ll have and the better you´ll become. In my career, experience has also taught me to stay calm under pressure, when flash does not fire or something goes wrong. You also learn to be imaginative and find alternative ways to achieve the result you want. I used to be quite impacient and a bit blunt with clients and over the years I have learned to deal with all kinds of brides and how to speak my mind in a calm and subtle way. I have also learned that you need to educate your client and set some limits. For example, when I was starting out, I used to say “yes” to anything a client asked. Now I know how to say “no” in a polite and professional way.
What do you find is the biggest challenge in wedding photography?
Selling myself is my biggest challenge. Also, when I started out I did not realize I would spend most of my time doing other stuff other than taking photos, such as fixing my printer, uploading photos on my blog, shopping for a new hard drive, insuring equipment, etc. Most of my time is spent away from my camera.
Do you do “destination weddings?” If so, what are your favorite destinations?
Being a Mallorca wedding photographer, most of my clients are international and come from places as far away as the US, Australia, Norway, Russia, etc to get married here. I love meeting people from different nationalities and learning their traditions.
What do you do for fun when you’re not shooting weddings?
When I am not in the studio or shooting weddings I am with my precious two little girls and with my husband, who is also a photographer. I adore dressing up my girls up and going to the park and take photos of them. I also try to find the time to go the gym to stretch out my back and neck. I have discovered a new machine that hangs me head down from my feet, like a bat, that leaves me brand new.
How would you describe your style of photography?
My style is natural, glamourous and romantic. Timeless would also be a good word to describe it, as I like photos that image well and that my clients will love for decades.
What do you offer to clients that is unique? What is your Unique Selling Proposition?
I believe each photographer is inherently unique. Even if we get inspired by other photographers or try to copy them, we will never be the same. So what is unique about me is my creative eye, my artistic abilities and my personality. I try to exceed my customer´s expectations and offer an excellent service as well.
Do you offer albums? If so, describe the albums you offer and why you think it’s important to provide albums.
The album is the client´s memories turned into art. I offer stylish coffee-table books, with a photographic cover. Ever since I started offering them they have been a huge success. I think it´s very important to offer an album nowadays since we are all storing our memories on the computer and never find the time to print copies anymore (at least to me!).
How would you describe the current state of the wedding photography industry, and where do you think wedding photography is headed in the years to come?
I think video is becoming more and more important. I have still not figured out how to do fusion because I am afraid to lose a photo moment if I am shooting video at the same time. Also, with more and more competition in our industry, fusion will help you set yourself apart.
What (or who) inspires you?
What are your views on digitally enhanced photos?
I am not a big fan of heavy Photoshop retouching. I like clean, vibrant images and I try to capture the perfect image in-camera so I don´t have to do much post processing.
Are you involved in any charitable cause?
I have been collaborating with the Vicente Ferrer Foundation for many years. The VF Foundation is a development NGO committed to improving living conditions of the most disadvantaged communities in Andhra Pradesh, India. By becoming a sponsor of a boy or girl, you help their whole communities get access to hospitals, water, schooling and help the children have a better future. I´m also setting up a series of workshops at a local furniture store for kids, with the intention to raise money for a Mallorcan foundation for kids with cancer. Ever since becoming a mum, I feel very sensitive towards children´s issues.
How do you build relatioships with the people you photograph?
Because my clients come from abroad, it´s difficult to get to know them before the wedding. I´ve had clients booking me online and only showing up on their wedding day! I always try to bring out the best in every couple by making them relaxed in front of the camera and playing the usual tricks to make them smile.
If you were an actress, what film would you have liked to star in?
I would have loved being the star of Dirty Dancing so I could have danced with Patrick Swayze!
Thanks for the interview Sandra! Use the comment section below to ask Sandra a question or leave a comment.