Manu Padilla originates from the south of Spain. From there, he continuously sends us colorful images. In his work, he often focuses on people, but also a beautiful production from Norway reached our creative department. Our Spanish community manager Alba Vitta felt it was time to sit down with Manu for an interview to further introduce the photographer to our community and our clients.
Hola Manu, Thank you for meeting me today. Tell us, who is Manu Padilla?
I was born and raised in Almeria in May 1984. I have lived here ever since. I like having a relaxed and straightforward life, and every time I can, I escape on a trip to explore different places and cultures.
When and why did you start taking photos?
As the start for many other photographers, mine was also a family inheritance. In my childhood, I always had access to my father’s camera equipment. It was not until 2004 before I started to work on my skills and become more professional. Since 2007 I can say that I make 100% of my income off of photography.
Do you only do stock or also other photography projects?
Stock photography occupies around 30-40% of my time. I also do a lot of product photography. I work with a lot of farmers and agricultural businesses here in the south of Spain.
How did you discover stock photography, and when did you start taking commercial photos?
Towards the end of 2017, a good friend of mine told me that he was selling photographs online. I knew about these platforms, but I had no idea that everyone with a camera and computer could contribute to them. My interest in the topic grew rapidly, although only 3 years ago, there was not much information available.
I did not believe that you could earn a lot of money with stock photography, but in February 2018, when I joined a stock photography course in Madrid, I was proven wrong as I met many people who were making good money off stock and since then I put a lot of effort into it.
What is your favorite theme to photograph?
I love taking pictures of landscapes or architecture, although these are not my usual stock motifs. I like to go walking in the mountains or go on trips to big cities and capture the little moments.
And the theme you dislike the most?
I can’t stand weddings or communions – anything that has to do with events.
What is a true highlight of your stock career?
That would be the photo session that has generated the most money and continues generating income to this day. It’s a food truck shooting with 6 models having a summer party in the sunset.
What do you like the most about being a stock photographer?
Mainly that I can do what I want when I want. I can always count on doing photo sessions that I want to do and those I have motivation for. This is just a good vibe. There is no pressure from any side, and if you don’t feel like working for a month, it is ok. When you have done good work before, the photos will keep selling.
What are your future plans and goals?
I believe in the future, I will dedicate myself fully to stock photography. The income keeps increasing even though I don’t use 100% of my time for it, yet. I think if I did more and better sessions, there is a chance of further uplift.
Is there something you would like to tell photographers that want to start doing stock? And what do would you say to people who are already successful?
For those who start: do it as soon as possible, because every day that passes is a day that will make it more challenging to position yourself. 10 years ago, it was easy to grow, but now it is difficult, and you have to work very hard.
And for those who already have a career: congratulations! I can imagine how hard it is to arrive up there!