Mara Saiz Gomis

A model wearing a bright yellow wide-brimmed floppy hat and yellow eyeshadow looks directly at the camera, in a portrait taken on a Canon EOS R5 by Mara Saiz Gomis.

"With this photo I simply wanted to pay homage to the colour yellow," says fine art photographer and Canon Ambassador Mara Saiz Gomis. "For years, I hardly used it in my work as it was a colour I often associated with bad luck. In this photo I vindicate the colour yellow as a source of joy and light." Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon RF 50mm F1.2L USM lens at 1/125 sec, f/2 and ISO 200. © Mara Saiz Gomis

"My photographs transmit from the eyes to the heart," says fine art photographer Mara Saiz Gomis. "It is a photograph from the inside out, from the soul to the skin."

Mara's career has been as much about self-discovery and compassion – for herself and others – as it has about finessing her craft and individual style, best described as vibrant, feminine and sometimes ethereal. Confident in their potential to transform lives, she creates images that enable people to see themselves through the eyes of others, free from any of their own negative or distorted views.

Born in Madrid but raised in Castilla-La Mancha, a rural region of Spain famous for its arts and crafts, Mara was a creative child who enjoyed singing and painting. Her happy childhood in the countryside inspired a love of nature and flowers, and this pastoral idyll manifests in her imagery – always beautiful and alluring, suggesting a place of sanctuary.

Her parents' divorce, when Mara was a teenager, proved to be a pivotal moment. Her mother gave her a compact camera, which she would take to every event, party or trip. "I had not yet discovered the artistic side of photography, but it was my tool to capture beautiful moments in my life," she recalls. "I loved to do my friends' hair and make-up and used the camera to take before and after photos of them, just to make them look pretty and to boost their self-esteem." That was the start of what would become Mara's unique style and approach.

A headshot of Canon Ambassador Mara Saiz Gomis holding a Canon camera.
Location: Madrid, Spain

Specialist areas: Portraiture, fine art photography

Favourite kit: Canon EOS R5
Canon RF 50mm F1.2L USM
A self-portrait, taken on a Canon EOS R, of fine art photographer Mara Saiz Gomis posing against a black background and holding a bunch of flowers to her face.

"These self-portraits, entitled Prisma Woman, represent the thousand faces or facets of the human being," explains Mara. "How depending on the moment or situation in our life, we show or use different faces like masks." Taken on a Canon EOS R with a Canon RF 50mm F1.2L USM lens at 1/125 sec, f/4 and ISO 100. © Mara Saiz Gomis

A self-portrait, taken on a Canon EOS R, of fine art photographer Mara Saiz Gomis posing against a black background and holding a bunch of flowers to her chest.

"I start from the premise that we can be many things all at the same time," says Mara. Taken on a Canon EOS R with a Canon RF 50mm F1.2L USM lens at 1/125 sec, f/4 and ISO 100. © Mara Saiz Gomis

Mara's first foray into anything close to professional photography came when she was asked to photograph her then husband's band. Unboxing a Canon EOS 400D on the tour bus, Mara recalls studying the instruction manual. "It was like a whole new world opening up for me," she explains. Although she didn't find band photography particularly fulfilling, on returning home Mara knew she wanted to keep learning and researching. "I was living quite far from friends and family, so I was practising on my own, and that's where I discovered the true magic of photography – the self-portrait."

Mara developed a special appreciation for the self-portrait while going through her divorce in 2017, and this continued through the Covid-19 pandemic. The self-portrait allowed Mara great introspection. "I found a beautiful and revealing solitude that I had not known before," she says. "The process helped to heal my heart."

A portrait of a woman in a floral dress and with blooms in her hair standing amidst a sea of flowers, taken by fine art photographer Mara Saiz Gomis.

"In my photography, I work a lot with the simile of a woman being like a flower," explains Mara. "This photo represents that moment when a woman becomes aware that after the wintering of her soul, she has bloomed again." Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III (now succeeded by the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV) with a Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM lens at 1/1250 sec, f/2.8 and ISO 100. © Mara Saiz Gomis

Model: Alba Mirayo

On realising the potential of photography and that it could be more than just a hobby, Mara enrolled on a photography course to learn about lighting and editing. However, much of what she's learned has been self-taught. "Despite some training, my knowledge comes from experience and experimentation, using myself as the model," she explains.

She expresses a level of caution when discussing photographers she admires, preferring to forge her own path. "I'm afraid they could become too much of an influence on my own work," she says.

How do you prepare for a portrait photoshoot?

"For sessions with individuals, models or even self-portraits, I allow everything to take shape depending on how I feel that day. Before photographing someone, I need to know several things about their personality. I have a small preliminary questionnaire that brings me closer to someone's way of viewing the world. I need to be in some way connected to my model so that the session can flow, and we are both in the same mood."

Colour is clearly an important force in your work, what does this mean to you?

"It's the most important characteristic of my work. I can't conceive life without colour. In fact, it is very difficult for me to work with black and white photography. I think the world is already too grey, so I want my photos to convey how I see it. Or better, how I would like it to be. My childhood bubble of happiness, surrounded by wheat, poppies, sunflowers, saffron and daisies, and oblivious to all the problems of the adults around me, can be seen in my photos."

How does photography help those with self-esteem and self-discovery?

"We tend to be very self-critical and unkind to ourselves. With my photography, I aim for people to see themselves anew. When we dare to see ourselves with a new perspective, from the outside, we see ourselves in the most real and, usually, most beautiful way. It's sometimes about re-educating the way we look at ourselves. It's about looking at each other with love and respect, valuing our entire history and giving thanks for all the emotional and external scars that have made us what we are today."

One thing I know

Mara Saiz Gomis

"If you're an artist, you really need to reflect on who you are and what you represent. I would love for all portrait photographers to know how important it is to know how to look at themselves, especially when working in this field. In the end, if you don't know how to see yourself, how do you intend to see others?"



Mara Saiz Gomis' kitbag

The key kit that the pros use to take their photographs

Canon Ambassador Mara Saiz Gomis' kitbag containing a Canon camera, lenses and accessories.


Canon EOS R5

Capture 45MP photos at up to 20fps as well as 12-bit 8K RAW video with this full-frame mirrorless camera. "I love the EOS R5," says Mara. "The image stabilisation, the wide dynamic range, and the eye detection is great, so I can focus on the composing and let the camera do the rest. The EVF is so close to what my eye sees, and silent shooting is also a huge benefit, as I can build a relationship with my models and not be interrupted."

Canon EOS R

This 30.3MP full-frame mirrorless camera was the first with the RF mount. With 4K video recording, Dual Pixel AF and Canon Log, as well as a fully articulating 3.15-inch touchscreen, it offers a lot for both stills and video.


Canon RF 50mm F1.2L USM

Offering excellent clarity and sharpness, this lens is highly capable in very low light and delivers first-rate optical performance. "The 50mm is my favourite lens," says Mara. "I can only describe it as honest and sincere – it most reflects what I really see. It's currently the lens I use most because it highlights the subject above all else."

Canon RF 35mm F1.8 MACRO IS STM

A fast aperture 35mm f/1.8 MACRO lens for wide-angle perspective, close focusing and with Hybrid IS. "It's so light to carry and it's a really brilliant lens which never lets me down," Mara says. "It's the only lens I take with me when I travel. I use it a lot for self-portraits in landscapes and urban environments because of its wide angle."

Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

The tight depth of field paired with a high-precision focus ring is fantastic for portraiture, helping photographers achieve excellent bokeh and soft skin tones. "The 85mm lens is the one that gives me special results, more dreamlike and far from life's harsh realities," says Mara. "I love using it when I want to invite you to dream, as if you're entering a painting."


Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS R

This adapter enables EF-S and EF lenses to be used seamlessly with EOS R System cameras. "I use it when I really want a particular EF lens paired with my EOS R," says Mara. "The EF lenses work with speed and I've even noticed an improvement in focusing accuracy."

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