Marta is a picture editor and shoot producer working across editorial and commercial sectors with a diverse background in arts, current affairs, entertainment, publishing, fashion, music, news, sports & travel photography. Marta is originally from Spain but grew up professionally in the UK meaning most of her clients are international and based in London. Marta is currently managing editor & producer in a startup called Front Files, fact checking Madrid travel guides and preparing an online course about Picture Research.
Hi Marta! Where in the world are you based?
How long have you been a picture editor and producer and what drew you to this industry?
In 2010 I started working as a Picture researcher with DK Travel (Penguin Random House) and a couple of years later when I joined Rough Guides I became Picture Editor and Producer and have been doing similar jobs ever since.
In Uni I studied Library Science and information research and when I moved to London in 2007 drawn by the arts & culture hub that was the city I decided to update my skills doing a Picture Research course I found at the London School of Publishing. I very much enjoyed the course and did a couple of internships afterwards in Picture Agencies and Cultural organisations, making friends and professional connections. Working along with creative professionals and pictures turned out to be my passion. The visual representation of a story, the further meaning of what we can appreciate by looking at an image and how depending on the context this can totally change the perception of the person is what attracted me the most. I truly love to research, edit and produce visual content to create outstanding results.
What does your average week look like?
Before the pandemic struck I had a constant work of working on print travel books, both doing the design, picture research and edition in the cover and interiors for DK Travel and Bradt Guides and occasional collaborations with creative content agencies such as Quill. I was super busy jumping from one project to another.
In April things changed and I had to approach new clients. This was challenging but luckily turned into success and new exciting opportunities. After a few months of no work I had the pleasure work on the factchecking for the DK Top 10 Guide to Madrid, been shortlisted on the The Dots & Pinterest collaboration for a Christmas Campaign and to start collaborating with a new platform of independent journalism called Frontfiles based in Portugal as a manager, editor & producer. I had to source new talent, give creative consultancy and editorial guidelines for both the website and online magazine.
By the end of the 2020 I teached an online course in Picture research for an Spanish academic organization called SEDIC(Spanish Society for Scientific Documentation and Information) and worked on a short term contact for The Culture Trip.
I also want to highlight that aside, I've been studying a few online courses on mainly UX/ UI Design and working on personal projects. I consider myself a creative and curious professional. and I believe it's key to never stop learning and gaining more digital skills in order to increase my opportunities in the foreseeable future.
How do you manage your work-life balance?
Doing exercise in the morning is key for my daily routine as a freelancer. I love to practice a bit of yoga/ pilates or go for a walk first thing in the morning. I've found out this really helps me for the rest of the day. I tend to have a schedule every day, checking emails, getting in touch with colleagues and potential clients, etc. Otherwise I like to enjoy my free time as much as I can when workload is low. Day escape to the Madrid Sierra (nearby mountains) and travel when possible.
I've found out that it doesn't help to be stressed out when you have no work to do. So rather than staying all day in front of the computer looking for new opportunities I try to balance searching for new gigs and practice joyful activities outside my studio.
Before Corona and after I moved from London to Madrid a few years ago I tended to go often to London and meet my regular clients which mainly are based in the UK capital. Apart from having the chance to meet my friends and enjoy the city I also thought it was very important to have those face to face gatherings every now and then. Now I tend to do that either on the phone or by email/social media. It really helps!
What’s your ideal way to spend a day off?
Doing a day escape to a nearby town, going to the countryside or park for a walk or enjoying the fun facts of living in a city (when covid was out of our lives course) such as going to the gym, doing a manicure, going to the cinema, see an exhibition or meeting some friends and family for a coffee/lunch.
What would you consider your biggest professional achievement to date?
Doing the job of two people after being in my position for just six months when I was Picture Editor at Rough Guides. I had to quickly jump into a senior role and deal successfully with having more responsibilities, managing the freelancers etc. I received excellent feedback on my performance and this made me feel happy and satisfied.
If you could go back to when you first started out, what advice would you give your younger self?
Embrace the moment and never miss any opportunities. It is very important work on your both hard and soft skills. Don't be afraid to express your ideas loud and very important to communicate with your colleagues and superiors.
What are your goals for 2021?
Keep having constant work and keep levelling up my skills. Especially, focusing on trying to get an opportunity as a UX designer within the creative/digital and tech industry. Without putting aside my main goal or dream, that is to get back into a senior role as a Photo Lead / Art Director/ producer in a publishing or media company.
Work on the second edition of the online course of Picture research for SEDIC scheduled for late September 2021. I'd also love to teach /mentoring in the future within the academic and creative industries.