If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well – that’s what Martí Sans Gallardo decided when he was disappointed by pictures taken of his cooking. He decided to take his own pictures, and is now one of the growing numbers of self-taught contributors on Fotolia.

We asked him to tell us the ingredients that make a successful photographer…

Croissant and doughnut mixture being held by a girl

Fotolia: Hi, Martí, can you introduce yourself, where you’re based, and explain how you started selling photos on Fotolia?

Martí Sans Gallardo: I studied cooking and pastry for five years and due to the terrible results of the pictures I took of my dishes I resolved to learn photography.

I started watching videos, reading blogs and websites, until one day a friend of mine asked me to take pictures of the dishes at his restaurant.

After that, to make a profit using my images and to keep learning, I started uploading them to Fotolia in 2011.

Fo: How would you describe your photographic style? What has influenced and shaped it?

MSG: I never know how to describe my style, but I’d say I feel comfortable with images that appear natural.

What shaped my style more than anything was my training as a cook, as I always try to take consistent photos and not put things into them just because they’re pretty.

Lots of photographers have influenced me, and even more still do, but some of my favorite ones are Francesco TonelliRob Grimm, and Ditte Isager (don’t miss her wonderful pictures for NOMA restaurant).

Raw strozzapreti pasta texture

Raw strozzapreti pasta texture

Fo: What is it about your photos do you think that has made them so popular?

MSG: Well, I always try to shoot useful images and not just pretty ones. I focus on the potential uses of my photos and shoot them according to what I think will be most practical to Fotolia buyers.

Fo: Has your photographic style developed since you started in the stock industry? If so, how?

MSG: A lot! The stock industry has made me grow as a photographer and has given me new points of view of the profession. It has taught me to make the most of every element available to make it profitable.

Fo: What, in your view, are the key ingredients to creating a fantastic photograph?

MSG: I would say there are three basic ingredients for a good photograph of food:

  1. Concept - Without it your picture won’t stand out among others.
  2. Technique - Technique is vital for a high quality product, including lighting, composition, post-production etc.
  3. Production - Good props, nice locations, and taking care of details – all key to a good shot.

Fo: What is your favorite Fotolia portfolio photo and why?

MSG: Maybe my favorite series, although it is not my best seller, is pasta on yellow background. I like the idea of the yellow pasta on a yellow background with a simple, smooth lighting.

Cook putting oregano on raw pizza

Fo: What piece of photographic equipment is most important to you?

MSG: Besides my camera, my tripod. I think tripods are essential to take good pictures. It gives you time to think, and to improve your composition.

After trying all sorts of simple tripods, I now use a Manfrotto 028 which I absolutely love.

Mussels on stirfried tomato sauce

Mussels on stirfried tomato sauce

Fo: Do you prepare all the dishes in your photos or do you use a food stylist?

MSG: I always cook myself. It makes the process slower but I prefer to do things my own way.Fo: That’s great – thank you very much, Martí!

Thank you so much to Marti for answering our questions. You can see more great pictures and images on his Fotolia portfolio, on his websitehis Facebook pageTwitter feed, and Instagram site.

If you’d  like to be interviewed for this blog send an email to dinah.hillsdon@fotolia.com – we’d love to hear from you!