Santi Nuñez is a Spanish graphic designer and CGI artist turned stock photographer. Since purchasing his first camera in 2015, Santi has been consistently photographing and learning. His dedication to the craft, combined with his experience and expertise as as a CGI artist, has allowed him to quickly accelerate in the world of photography become a fully dedicated stock photography in less than two years.
Fotolia: You were a designer and you are now starting as a professional photographer. How has this change been?
Santi Nuñez: Since beginning my professional career, I’ve always been curious about advancement and how to acquire new skills. I had a moment when I realized that my job as a CGI artist did not keep me feeling motivated, and I came upon stock photography. It was a business model that grabbed me right off the bat, and without giving it much thought I made a pretty sizeable investment in getting my initial equipment to fully immerse myself into that world.
The change was gradual. This March will be my second anniversary of entering the world of stock. For the majority of that time, I was balancing my usual 40 hour work week with stock production. In December of 2016, thanks to earnings generated by the sales of my photos, I decided to dedicate myself exclusively to professional stock photography.
It was a lot of sacrifice and many, many hours in production and editing, but the sense of satisfaction in seeing your productions sold every day around the world is tremendously motivating and thrilling.
F: What are the benefits of selling your images on Fotolia?
SN: It was precisely the benefits provided by stock photography that convinced me to enter into this world. I’m one of few professional photographers who got to know photography through stock agencies first, rather than the other way around. There are few business models that can offer you a potential global market that functions 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The power to be totally creative in your productions, doing what you really like while generating income in doing so, is simply incredible.
F: What are some of the challenges you face as a stock photographer?
SN: The biggest challenge I face is the tremendous potential for improvement with each production. When I begin a session, I try to improve each step from the last time. Preproduction, production, and editing are the three fundamental steps that have to be well thought through before beginning each shoot; the first two steps being the most important for me in order for the session to really go smoothly. This last year and a half producing stock images has taught me that having prepared a proper preproduction makes the day of the session go so much more smoothly. It’s evident that having an inspired day facilitates a good end result to the session.
F: How would you describe your style (aesthetics and process)?
SN: I don’t think there’s just one concrete style that can describe my images. I’ve picked up certain habits that I can see result in better productions. The vast majority of models I work with are not professionals and many of them, when they start a session, are not particularly comfortable in front of a camera. I make sure to make them comfortable through casual conversations prior to the session, and that accounts for 70% of the success to a session. A relaxed atmosphere during a session always transmits into the images.
Another thing I attempt to do to the extent I am able is to produce images that are clean, without other distracting elements. This way I am able to proportion the relevance I want to the things displayed in the image.
F: Where do you find your inspiration?
SN: You can find your inspiration getting out on the street. Going for a walk has become an accidental method of finding the perfect location for different sessions or coming across a person who inspires me. These days we see hundreds of images marketed to us daily online and you always end up seeing a few that give you ideas for your next production. On social networks, like Instagram, you can see incredibly good work from your peers, and there’s always something to be learned.
F: You are from Spain, how does your country impact your creative style?
SN: Spain is a country that offers so many alternatives. It’s a privilege to have so many days and hours of light per year, as well as being surrounded by the sea on the peninsula and the islands, being able to choose from mountainous backdrops or big cities and small towns with great charm. All of this offers possibilities that would be unthinkable somewhere else.
F: What is your gear composed of?
SN: The gear I currently own has been growing as I advance in the world of stock photography.
In my first eight months as a photographer, I started with Nikon D610, a Tamron 24-70mm 2.8f VC lens, two hand flashes with a couple of triggers. Little by little my gear has grown – I just added a Nikon D750. I also have some different elements that help with production like LEDs, colored backgrounds, reflectors, and so on.
F: Do you have any advice for someone who is looking to get into selling his or her work on stock websites?
SN: I consider consistency to be something fundamental in this business. To trust what you are doing and to have a constant production capacity that’s of a certain quality is something vital in order to have a reasonable amount of sales.
If like me, you lack resources to contract models and/or space, having people nearby who are willing to help you, offering to pose as models or lend you space, is paramount. If I hadn’t had those friends who were willing to help me, I would never have made it, as the majority of photographic production I do requires models. I’m so thankful to everyone who has helped me along the way.
And lastly, I would say to keep the excitement in the project alive. Stock is an exercise in patience, as the competition is great, so trust your project, get excited by every production that you do, and keep growing and learning.
F: What are you excited to work on in 2017?
SN: Without a doubt, 2017 is a year of changes. I’m thinking of working with new models, new workspaces and with the goal of completing two or three productions every week. I’m even thinking mid year of beginning to do video productions!
See more of Santi’s work on Fotolia.