Discovering photography through her Kodak camera at the age of twelve, Jimena San Miguel of Volvoreta went on to pursue a career in fashion photography. Jimena mixes the editorial with the creative in her work and draws on her detail-oriented nature as well as her eye for colour and lighting. With a passion for film photography, Volvoreta travels worldwide to capture weddings.
What would you like couples to know about your business?
As a fashion photographer for 16 years, I shoot with an editorial feel and am known for my elegant photos. I put together mood boards for my couples without losing the natural feel of the day.
Volvoreta is a creative studio that also relies heavily on analogue work. Shooting on film evokes the past: it’s nostalgic and the super 8 films remind us of a family legacy and the black and white movies of years gone by. Now that we’re in the digital era, it provides a great contrast and we can appreciate it's imperfections. And the future? We think it will be a hybrid between analogue and digital.
We are looking to create a product that recovers the essence of analogue (without digital filters that imitate it), and that shows it is not made solely by a machine but rather by people directing it, wanting to touch the life of the viewer. A photo & video that touches the emotions and the relationships among its protagonists (the couple, family, friends).
To achieve that we want to direct it from the beginning with an audience who will appreciate it.
Where are you based?
We are based in Spain.
Do you travel for weddings?
I love getting to know new people, discover new cultures and explore new places. It refreshes my creativity and helps me renew my perspective. I travel all over the world. The more personal a place is for the couple, the more I love the destination.
How would you describe your style?
My mother is a fashion designer, so we could say I was born among wedding dresses! I studied fine arts and have held positions including creative director at fashion magazines. All of this has influenced my style and my way of understanding photography. I am passionate about art, cinema and art direction. I am very detail-oriented and have an eye for colour and lighting. I delight in capturing the bright side of a person with a radiant, clean aesthetic. I like mixing editorial with creative styles.
I base my photography on getting to know the people who are the subjects in the photos. I love their timidity, their daring spirit, or sweetness - and love it when my couples can feel at ease with me. I want that feel like they can be truly themselves: authentic and unique. That for me is the meaning of beauty.
I describe my style as something familiar, something emotive, but from an editorial point of view. The first thing I do, is to understand who the people I have in front of me are, what their vision of aesthetics is and how I can surprise them. If you take a picture of someone special to them, that's fine, but if you take a portrait that has sensitivity, you're going to move them.
What is your most memorable career moment?
In my career I have had very exciting moments: being the sole photographer and videographer of Rafa Nadal and Maria Francisca's wedding, being on the cover of a magazine, shooting the wedding of German royalty or of an Oscar-winning Hollywood cinematographer. These are incredible moments in the career of a professional however, my most memorable moment is always the one that hasn't come yet. It makes the thrill of making your passion your job never end.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by art and my family. Art because many times we focus on execution, but you have to invest time in art and creativity. I'm inspired by studying film and seeing exhibitions in every city I go to. I'm a big fan of art and innovative people who trusted their instinct. How Tarantino expresses emotions through a single scene, how Ghiberti changed art thanks to the Gates of Paradise that took nearly 30 years to complete - or how Steven Meisel shot 100 fashion editorials in 1993. You have to be surrounded by art to know what message you want to convey to the viewer.
My family also inspires me and teaches me that a small gesture moves a whole heart. Love is the change. I love to have long conversations with my parents and see how they lived, what was important in their life, what they have learned. And that inspires me to make memories in analogue, to work on what will be a future memory, that truth, that imperfection in the image that brings you closer to the person.
What motivates you to do what you do?
I decided to take the responsibility of wanting to help highlight the wedding industry and put it on the same creative level as fashion or advertising. It motivates me to know that it is a sector to be discovered and that there is still a lot to be done. You can make art out of weddings and that is my mission.
How would you describe your working style?
I love to invest a lot of time with my couples. We talk at least three times before a wedding through video calls. I listen to how they are, what relationship they have with each other and who their beloved people are. Then I give them a creative test that they love, to know their tastes, and we think of ideas for photographs at their wedding. I talk to the wedding planner to see how I can add to make their project look as good as possible. And on the day of the wedding, we get to know and get close to their most important people, them, their friends. On the wedding day, we want to be part of their circle.
Do you shoot digitally, on film or both?
We do both, but we usually have very creative couples who value the analogue part more and more.
Do you have custom packages according to individual needs?
Every wedding is different, and there are usually multi-day weddings with different needs. It is important that each couple feels unique - because they are.
What is a favourite product or service that you offer and why?
My favorite is the analogue photography pack, because of what I mentioned before. I think we are now in an era where perfection and beauty, filters, Instagram and perfect lives shine. But I think it's much more fun and happy to work on the beauty of imperfection, naturalness and truth.
Where would you love to travel to for work?
The most important thing is that the couples are somehow connected to the creative world. And there, they take all the planes they need, because traveling is always wonderful.
Who is your dream client?
People who truly appreciate human, handmade, professionalism and art. A client willing to take a risk. Who wants to be natural and open his heart to us.
What is your advice to couples getting married?
To invest in having a wedding planner who will help them fulfill their dreams and exceed their expectations. To be honest with what they want. If they are not comfortable with a lot of people, have an intimate wedding. If they want to escape a very formal ceremony, get married in a place that means something. They should invest in the memories they want to have and study very well the professionals that will be part of their team.