Meet Marcos Sanchez, a big guy with a distinguishably well - groomed beard, colorful tattoos, and with an outstanding wedding photography style. His clients describe him not as a simple photographer at their event, but as a guest with a camera. He’s very discreet and careful in his actions, almost like a ninja. Since “honesty” is the highest form of intimacy, Marcos has developed a strategy to flawlessly depict that in his photographs. He is a big advocate of capturing raw, real emotions. Keep reading to find out how he has mastered the spontaneous shots, what inspires him and other bits and bobs that are hiding within his positive and goofy personality.
Marcos talking about honesty and real emotions:
Honesty is important and is the first step into being a good photographer. You have to be honest with yourself, which means knowing who you are and where you are and not trying to be someone else. We're in a world where it's difficult to isolate yourself and not be influenced by what others are doing. It's easy to see other photographers work and want to do something similar because you like it, even in a subconscious way. But each one of us is unique and our personalities affect the way we shoot. You'll never be able to do something the same way as others. That's why it's important to be honest and focus on how you see the world and try to create your own path. That also reflects on your work. Often we try to recreate with our couples photos we've seen, and that way we're imposing our ideas on what they have to do and how they should behave. Being honest to your clients is letting them be themselves. When you give them space to be natural - real emotions happen. Sure, sometimes they need a push, and we can help create the right environment for that. Keeping them warm, choosing the right place for the shooting, even putting the right music on. We can help them relax and be themselves. Then, be prepared - that’s when the real stuff starts happening!
1. Marcos, when you’re not taking photos, you travel. What countries are on your list to visit next? And to which place you’d come back again and again?
Traveling is one of the things I enjoy most and I've visited many countries, but not as many as I'd like! I have Mexico, Peru and Burma on my list of countries I want to visit next. And one of my favorite places is Thailand. I've traveled through it a couple of times and though it's a very touristy place, it's easy to avoid the masses and see the rural Thailand. People are incredibly nice and the food is just perfect.
2. Do you have some special “rituals” that put you in the right mood for an upcoming wedding shoot?
Not really, but when I feel a bit tired or not focused, I go through the work of photographers I like - to get inspired. Mostly photojournalists and lifestyle photographers. I also have a Pinterest board where I keep photos I find on the internet that I like, and it's an easy way to scroll through lots of cool pics quickly and get into a creative mindset.
3. Give us one good tip for snapping honest and natural pictures.
Just relax, and let them be themselves! Our clients are real people, not models. They're not used to pose, they’re always nervous and don't know what you want from them. I feel the best way to get natural pictures is by letting them be themselves and behave how they would behave if they were alone. Yeah, you can put them into situations, going for a walk, cuddle on the sofa, climb a mountain, whatever you want, but poses break the mood. So instead of making them pose much, just give them something to do.
4. How do you stay poised between “unrehearsed” snapshots versus pre-planned shots?
I never pre-plan a shoot unless it's a model shoot. If it's a real couple, I might have a few shots in mind that I want to get, but I don't get crazy about it. I like to take a walk, chat a bit with them, let them relax, make them laugh. That’s when they are themselves, I just take pictures while all that is happening.
5. Do you tend to repeat some moments throughout a shoot? For instance, if the couple exchanges a hasty in love look – do you ask them to do it for a second time?
Usually not, I feel giving too much directions kills the mood, I don't want them to feel they're models in a photoshoot, just that they're having a good time. I'd rather create a moment where that happens naturally instead of making them do something forced.
6. How do you deal with “anxious” couples, those that cannot relax and act natural with a camera pointing at them?
Sometimes it's a matter of time, of giving them space and not getting too close at the beginning. With time they relax a bit and you can get more natural shots. But if they're really shy, the best thing is give their minds something to do so they're not worrying about how they look. Make them walk, climb, jump, tickle each other, play small games or just be silly and say silly jokes. A genuine smile always looks good.
7. What is the right formula for shooting close-ups, entering into the couple’s personal space, and nevertheless remaining candid?
There's no right formula as everything depends on your personality. A shy photographer will have a different approach than an outgoing one. I won't shoot close-ups right from the start, I'll give them time to relax a bit and get comfortable in front of the camera, but I'm entering their personal space right from the moment we meet. I greet them with a hug, touch them and talk to them as I talk to my friends. There, I can see how they react and also create a more personal relationship so when I get to the close-ups part, they're comfortable with me being close. However, since I'm very outgoing and playful, that won't work if the couple is shy and not comfortable talking to strangers. You need to embrace who you are and find your way.
8. Is it imperial to have an emotional connection with the couple during/before shooting?
I don't think it is imperial to everyone, but it sure is to me. From the first contact with them, usually by email, I'm very friendly and that sets the tone of how the relationship with me is going to be. With every conversation we have, I get to know more about them, so even if we don't see each other in person until the day of the shooting, when we finally meet the relationship is already relaxed and friendly, and we have a connection. In fact, it's easy for me to make connections with people quickly and make them feel at ease, so that's definitely an advantage.
9. Do you believe that photography is therapeutic?
Sure, photography is therapeutic in many ways. As a photographer, you're faced with many challenges. The more you work, you develop a sense of self confidence in your own work and your abilities that lets you go and try something new. Even if you're doubting you can do it. So it helps you be more confident in your own value.
Also being a social photographer forces you to interact with people, it's part of your job. So it can help you overcome your fear of social interaction. It forces you to approach strangers and talk to them and make a connection. It has helped me become more confident in dealing with people.
And last, photography is also a creative craft and a way of expressing your own feelings through your work. It can help in dealing with stuff that you can't express any other way.
10. If not Photography, which profession would you have chosen?
Mmm, I'd love to be a vet, I love animals!
11. What are you working towards as a photographer? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I love traveling and shooting in new places. It's exciting going somewhere new. It fuels my creativity. So my goal is to shoot anywhere I can. I don't really like to make plans as they can change quickly, so who knows what I'll be doing in 5 years! Maybe I'll be a vet in a remote town in rural Thailand!
Cats or dogs? Cats!
Black & white or color? Mmm, I love B&W though try not to use it much, otherwise I'd shoot everything in B&W!
Thai or Italian? Pizza is hard to beat, but Thai food...can I have a green curry pizza?
Early bird or night owl? Night owl for sure.
Freckles or dimples? Freckles!
Mountains or beach? Mountains. I love winter and the cold and the forests.
We hope this warm and open hearted interview encouraged you to always try and strive for honesty and just being yourself in any situation or work environment. Just be your own true self, let go of all the labels, stories, baggage and prejudices. Uncover your truly beautiful nature and smile - as Marcos mentioned, a real smile always looks good!