A day with… Mario Sierra in a production of Mujer Hoy.
A few weeks ago we were invited from Mario Sierra’s studio to spend a day with him and his team during a fashion production. In case many of you do not know Mario Sierra, let me tell you that he is one of the most important fashion photographers in Spain, working for most of the magazines on the national scene, portraying both advertising issues, celebrities, as well as the aforementioned fashion.
The production to which we were invited was for the magazine Mujer Hoy (recently published) with four of the most important young models of the last Madrid Fashion Week (Carla Crombie, Madeleine Hjort, Denise Sommers and Marta Español). Mario is surrounded by a team that works with him on a day-to-day basis, from a head of public relations, assistants, retoucher, etc… We could clearly see all of this during the photo shoot, how they work together and in a very organized way.
The first of the details that I could notice is in the treatment of the components of the study towards the models and especially Mario. as you well know the models are a very important part of the final shots, and that is why making them participate in what you want to achieve is a more than important task, as I told you in one of the articles published on tips for dealing with models. That is why, before everything started to get under way, all the models were already very clear about what their mission was, as well as their attitude before the camera.
The attitude of the models before the camera is always paramount
The team of makeup artists, hairdressers and stylists were a part very important within a session like these, and even more so makeup due to the importance of light. All details are important and none were left in the air. Remember that we explain all this very well in the first sections of our Workflow Special, in which everything has to be very well managed and prepared. In this case, and as it is an important publication, together with Mario and the other team, always there was a person from the magazine that he consulted with the photographer all the details that could arise, and that he was the person in charge of giving him the first guidelines on how to approach the session (despite the fact that everything had been discussed a few days before).
When everything was ready and the set ready for the photos, the models got in position and the session went smoothly. One of the parts of the workflow consisted of shooting the photos and later viewing them on a computer that was located next to it. In it you could do a first visualization and a light touch of lights and color (if necessary), to later send them to the retoucher and start editing. In this case, the production did not require the latter so quickly, so it was not carried out.
The consultation between the editorial team and the photographer should always be fluid
Mario throughout the session was very detailed with the models, as well as with the people of their team and with the people of the magazine, making it clear that teamwork is something very important for the final result to be the desired one. One of the things that I noticed the most was that most of the time was spent on have everything controlled to the millimeter, and oddly enough, the minimum time was for the taking of the photographs. His Hasselblad remained on a studio tripod and hardly any attention was paid to it except for the moment of the shots. It is at times like these that one has to realize that being a photographer, and more so in fashion and professional advertising, is not only showing that you know how to use the camera, but knowing how to control everything around you (including camera and photographic material of course).
The attitude of the models towards the work was exceptional and their professionalism was very noticeable, but at all times they knew that they were due to what the photographer himself ordered, and it was clear that Mario made it clear that everything had to go through him. Remember as I have always told you, a photographer must not only be but also appear to be. In this section Mario shows the tables he has, how well he handles situations, and he seems to function like a fish in water. This, without a doubt, is one of the main values to become a good photographer.
Interview with Mario Sierra
After this, Mario answered some questions I asked him, especially thinking about the people who want to become what he is today:
SamaGame – Did it cost you a lot to start in photography? How were your beginnings?
The truth is that it was difficult because I was working with my father and I didn’t like the job at all. Photography was a world that attracted me and I decided to embark on an adventure. I got into a school where I attended courses thanks to working as an assistant there, and as a result of that I managed to learn quite a few fundamentals of photography.
After this, I set up a black and white photography laboratory, in which I positiveized other photographers. The money I earned was invested in material and also in carrying out exchanges to improve my book. Later I entered an agency doing tests, and when I had a good book I began to move it.
Do you think the equipment is important to get good photographs?
The equipment can give you more quality but really the tool is the camera and it is the one that does the photography, without it you cannot carry out your work but it is not necessary to have the best equipment at all. What is true is that depending on the client and the work, one type of equipment or another may be required, but many times it is not because of the quality itself, but because of other types of factors.
Good equipment helps, but it never makes you a better photographer
Have you always done fashion and advertising photography?
Yes, I think one should try to focus on one style and not do everything. One of the factors is that if you try to do everything, you will never be able to improve as quickly as possible and another is that you can give an unprofessional impression.
What do you consider essential in a good fashion photography?
The girl has to always be beautiful, she is the one who is going to sell you the photography and therefore knowing how to direct it is another important aspect.
Lately there has been a lot of information about legislative attempts to limit and/or regulate retouching. Are you in favor of regulation?
No, as long as the retouching is good. I think that retouching in fashion photography always has to be there, but there are tremendous barbarities that make you put your hands in your head. Despite everything, I don’t believe in regulation.
What advice would you give to people who want to work in this world or reach a higher level?
Be very detailed, have a lot of confidence in what you do and put a lot of effort into what you do. Things don’t always come when you want them to, and all of that, together with patience, are essential things. Another important aspect is to see many fashion photos, not stop looking at photos to follow trends, poses, lights used, etc…
Thank you very much for everything Mario and we hope that everything goes as it has until now
Thank you and I hope that everything that happened has served you
Good treatment with models is an important point
To finish I would like to tell you that professionalism in fashion is achieved based on a lot of effort and sacrifice, and in the work of Mario Sierra it is seen. His determination to reach his goal is seen in his photographs, but above all when he takes them together with everything that encompasses him. In addition, all this professionalism is evident in the workshops that he gives in his studio on fashion photography, an excellent opportunity to learn big and small things about how to work.
If many of you are in the process of becoming professionals, know that everything I have told you that I saw in the session is more than essential. And above all, never believe the best and keep working to improve is another factor that will help us.
Website | mario sierra
Photographs | Rodrigo Rivas
In SamaGame | Special Workflow