Ibiza living: Sofia Gomez Fonzo – Lifestyle photography
Today’s modern forms of communication and marketing require much more than a stiff formal photo and a logo to promote your brand – you’ve got to think about online marketing ideas for website content, ongoing Instagram, Twitter and Facebook posts, plus the traditional press releases, magazine pitches and more. Creating sets of unique lifestyle photography for these channels come naturally to Ibiza photographer Sofia Gomez Fonzo, who initially learned to create images that are well-planned, yet appear spontaneous for these formats as in-house photographer for White Ibiza for many years.
From Yogis suspended on jetties over Sailnas, and masseuses flowing in action to chefs flipping pans over a hot flame and jewellery designers deep in the creation process – Sofia has shot them all. Lifestyle photography is a unique niche here in Ibiza – creating a series of brand based images that capture the ‘real life’ feeling of a brand or identity, with the quality and ambience of a professional editorial or ad campaigns. “I love shooting real people doing real things, looking the way they really look,” Sofia explains of her love for this style of work.
“What I love about living and working in Ibiza after all these years is seeing people live their lives the way they want to – being their most authentic selves,” Sofia says. “There’s a very different way of living here – you can choose a more spiritual life, you can be into the clubbing or you can be a beach person, but it’s not like when you’re living in a city and feel like you have to be a city person, living the city life. What appeals to me most is shooting people living the way that makes them happiest.”
Interestingly, Sofia notes that many of her clients – who are living their Ibiza lives authentically – also tap into their interests and personalities to create their own businesses, loving what they do and doing what they love. “Many people don’t realise they need a complete set of images to present their business,” explains Sofia. “I like to go behind the scenes with them, show another perspective of their lifestyle. People don’t just buy into Ibiza brands these days, they also buy into the lifestyles of the people behind them.”
Getting to know her clients and their motivation is important to Sofia in order to capture the very best images possible – be it a set of photos for Instagram use, action shots for a website or personal portraits for branding. Getting inside the mind of her client to understand their brand vision is important to her, as is understanding what their potential clients wish to see through various channels. Often she will endeavour to sample the services of her clients before setting up the shoot, taking a holistic approach to the project.
Sofia specialises in capturing stunning images for more spiritual lines of work, such as meditation, Reiki, yogis and masseuses – with a natural affinity for capture the essence of her esoteric subject for the viewer. “Many times these are really abstract things,” she explains. “I try to understand them and capture the emotional feeling through the physical posing as best I can.”
In terms of posing, a photoshoot with Sofia is less like a stiff ‘point, shoot and smile’ experience, as she prefers to act like an observer as her clients go about their business. It is these more natural images that truly show the nature of a person – be it laidback, casual images, fast action shots, or guests going about their business in hotels, restaurants, spas and more. Sofia can also arrange for models to be supplied in place of customers for such shoots, whether they are receiving a facial treatment, lounging in a restaurant or drinking on the beach – the results are still natural and beautiful.
Of course, shooting ‘real people’ as opposed to models does indeed come with its challenges – namely that real subjects often don’t feel naturally at ease behind the camera. Sofia’s warm personality, genuine interest in your work and laidback style allows her subjects to loosen up – and she’ll always involve them in the image selection on the day, comparing and constrasting as they go along and creating mood boards to agree on a vision. “I like to engage them and make them feel part of the process,” she says. “It’s important for me to capture their true essence.” In addition to the behind the scenes images or action shots, Sofia can also capture the essential headshots one needs, or set up team photos for bigger companies or corporations.
Lifestyle photography doesn’t always have to be about businesses either – Sofia is also often enlisted by groups of friends or families who’d like a photographer in the background capturing their Ibiza holiday memories on camera. “It doesn’t always have to be for publication,” she explains. “I can be around, subtly in the background, while you do your thing – go to the beach, a party, having a family event – and afterwards you receive a series of images that are less posed, more natural, beautiful and magazine editorial style.” Well worth actually printing out and framing rather than the usual blurred iPhone selfies we are all guilty of taking!