Hola chicos! Guess what? Last month, Klaud9 invited Kike Arnaiz, another amazing Spanish photographer to come and help them with their latest inspirational projects. He brought lots of amazingly creative ideas & insights, plus helped Klaud9 to increase their database of visual content. While he was here, Kike also participated in the following face-to-face interview, in order to share with you his journey as a content creator. Discover more about his experience in fashion photography, his passion for travels and his nomad way of living!
Hello Kike, where are you from? Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Aranda de Duero, Spain, and then I spent a few years living between Madrid and Barcelona.
How did you become a stock photographer?
I have taken many turns until I dedicated myself to stock photography. The main reason I became a stock photographer happened after working as a fashion photographer. Back then, I realised about the freedom of not working for anyone: no brands, no compromises. Just being able to do what I want and when I want.
How would you describe your style?
I love nature and I think it is reflected in my photos. Even when I’m working in a city, I try to make the images look as fresh and natural as possible.
Where do you find creative photography/videography ideas?
I find creative ideas mainly when I go to the cinema. Every time I see a good movie I leave the room with thousands of ideas and desires. I have this “bad habit” (to call it somehow) when watching a movie to pay too much attention to the light, the color, the composition and the visual storytelling. In the end, I usually don’t even know what’s really happening in the movie.
Also, in terms of lighting, I am very inspired by paintings.
What do you think about the stock photography industry?
I think it is a comfortable and a profitable industry for both: brands and creatives. I think that the present and the future of commercial and advertising photography are based on the stock photography market.
On your Instagram, we can see many photos of models, sensual women. Do you work with professional models? How do you manage to collaborate with so many of them? Do you sell a lot of these photos?
For a few years, fashion photography has been a great passion for me. Not because of the fashion industry, but because of the creative freedom of editing images. That’s why I devoted a great part of my time to create fashion photographs, with professional models from worldwide agencies.
With my portfolio, it has been easy for me to work with professional models, although today I enjoy working with all kinds of people.
What camera and other equipment do you use?
I have two Sony cameras, the a7r ii for photography, and the a6500 for video. Nevertheless, my equipment is very small. I just have glasses but no lighting equipment, as I do not have a house. I only have a backpack, so I have to fit everything in there.
How did you begin your career in the creative industry? Were you first a videographer or a photographer?
I have always played in music bands. Because we had a small budget, I was the one in charge of producing videos, logos, and all other visual content. So I started following video courses, and I liked it so much that I decided to study cinema at the Creative Media in Madrid, with the intention of becoming a photography director. During my studies, I discovered photography more thoroughly, and I realised the creative freedom that it brings me as an author compared to cinema. Thus, I studied a master of fashion photography and that’s how everything started.
What do you like more: photo shooting or video shooting? Why?
I love to create, no matter how many frames per second. If I can play with light and tell a story, I am happy whether it is photo or videography. I love both things equally, although for professional reasons I spend more time doing photography.
If we’re not mistaken, videographers can make more money than photographers. Why do you still spend your time doing both?
Because I do not care about money, I just want to enjoy doing what I do. If I was searching a job to earn money, I would not dedicate myself to photography.
You seem to master both photography and videography. People out there usually master only one of them and it’s in a specific genre (e.g. landscape, portrait, wedding). Do you have tips for photographers & videographers to be able to become multitalented like you?
It is possible that being multi-tasking is in my genes and that I do it without noticing it. I have never been settled for doing only one thing. I always want to learn, to live new things … but that is not always good. Doing a thousand things means that you don’t have a specialisation. Sometimes, if you want to succeed, it is better to specialise in one thing and be the best at it.
Do you consider yourself as a stock photographer/ stock videographer or do you like more when you’re shooting by request?
I like the concept “Image Maker” or content creator.
Yes, I dedicate most of my time to stock, but I also do personal, artistic works, and on-demand content.
What makes your creation (photo & video) unique compared to others?
Being unique today is very complicated. Although thanks to this, we have many influencers to feed our ideas. I try in my personal work to avoid following trends and what everybody is doing. I just do what I want with no intention of pleasing someone.
You are a photographer and a nomad/ traveler at the same time. How do you organise your work and trips?
I let myself drift through the wind… – One day I decided to sell all my things, get rid of my fixed expenses such as home renting and let myself go, without any commitment. This means, I go where I want and I do what I want. If the weather is cold and I feel like going to the beach, then I’ll go to a warmer place and I organise sessions there. If I get tired of the beach and want to go to the North Pole, why not? I have nothing holding me back.
How do you overcome the challenge, when visiting a country for the first time and not knowing anyone? For example, when you shoot photos/videos you need models, assistants, and clients; how do you find them? Does the strategy differ in each country?
It is not as simple as when you live in a city where you already have your contacts (you know many models, locations, etc). But today, it is very easy to communicate and find people anywhere through social networks. Many allow you to search by location, such as Instagram. In just a few clicks you end up finding lots of people. I find this way of living better than being in one single city because you always change locations and meet new people and different ways of working. You can also stop people on the street and ask to shoot photos of them. I’ve taken pictures of people I met in hostels, buses or even in the jungle!
How many times per year do you move to another country?
As I have no responsibility, I just move when my body asks me, or when an interesting adventure arises. We are in March, and this year I’ve already been to five countries. However, I could suddenly fall in love with one place and stay there for a few months. I do not have written rules.
Where is your favourite place / country to shoot photos & videos?
I have seen thousands of places thanks to this way of living. Choose only one country would be a sin. Northern lights in Scandinavia, deserts in Morocco, waterfalls in North America, islands in Thailand …
You are also a musician… Can you tell us more about it?
When I was 5 years old, I started playing the piano and at 13 the guitar which became my main instrument. I played the guitar in several music bands (Inner Shell, Mirada de Angel, Valgrind and Sigilus). I also studied violin a few years ago, but I have never developed it thoroughly. With my bands, we did many concerts and I have recorded five studio albums with all of them. I love composing and creating, especially metal and rock, but today I’m very focused on jazz. Unfortunately, when I started traveling, I had to put the music behind as I don’t have enough time to be part of a band. It is one of the things that I miss the most…
How many countries have you lived in so far? Do you have a plan to settle one day? If yes, in which country? 🙂
To live / to be settled for long seasons only in Spain and the United States (New York), because today I live approximately in one country per month. Surely one day I will settle down. It is always good to rest, but I believe that the spirit of knowing, moving and keeping the body inspired and in continuous learning will remain.
I could not tell you in which country, but through my travels, I’ve realized that we live very well in Spain. And that it is one of the most beautiful and comfortable countries I know.
What do you think about stock videography? Can marketers shift from video production to video creation/editing using available footage?
Stock video is more complicated to create and production takes more time and money. But future is in motion, so you have to adapt to it.
Could you describe your videography style?
I think my style is influenced by fashion films and video clips. I would not know how to name it, I just think that my photographs are coming alive.
How did you find out about / start working with Klaud9?
Last year I worked for Klaud9 through my main distribution agency called Addictive, from Spain. A short time later, a fellow photographer named Santi Nuñez told me about his experience working with Klaud9 in Singapore. As I was already in Malaysia, I did not hesitate to spend a couple of weeks in Singapore creating content for K9.
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