Doug Menuez Highlights the Potential of Production in Portugal
In the dance between commercial obligations and personal passion, photographers often find solace and inspiration in the pursuit of personal projects. Photographer and Director Doug Menuez, having spent most of his life behind the lens and professionally shooting for decades, recently embarked on a sabbatical with his wife to Portugal. In this time, Doug has had more opportunities to shoot personal projects and get to know the country and people and has opened the door to a new chapter in his photography.
Initially living in a 500 year-old “noble” manor house in a medieval village, they recently moved to an ocean view apartment in a beach town famous for having the longest left hand break in Europe. As he immersed himself in the culture, language, and landscapes, the country revealed itself in multifaceted ways. From the lively streets of Lisbon, adorned with culture and a vibrant nightlife that attracted notable personalities like John Malkovich, to the romantic cobblestone streets of wine country, each corner of Portugal became a canvas for Doug's lens.
What aspects of Portugal make it an exciting destination for shooting assignments?
Having become well-acquainted with the language, culture, and diverse topography of Portugal, I think it’s a great place to hold a shoot. The mainland itself offers a staggering variety, from historic cities like Porto to the picturesque countryside, mountains, and valleys. The Atlantic and Mediterranean coastline, featuring renowned surf towns and the world-famous waves of Nazare, adds another layer of charm. I am captivated by the sun-drenched beaches, villas, and villages of the Algarve coast. Each mile of the country offers something different, but it’s a relatively small country making moving to each region quite easy.
Logistically, how are you finding producing shoots in Portugal?
Since arriving in Portugal, I have reconnected with a long-time collaborator, European Producer Staffan Tranaeus, who has been based in Lisbon for the last 30 years. Staffan's company, Southwest Productions, has an extensive track record of producing advertising shoots, broadcast productions, documentaries, and TV features across Europe and the world. Their knowledge and network make Portugal a well-wired and accessible destination for creative projects, providing photographers with a valuable resource for seamless execution and exploration.
What are the greatest benefits of shooting in Portugal?
There are relatively low production costs here, especially compared to LA or New York. This includes talent, locations, scouting, and casting, making it an attractive destination for creative projects. Crews are experienced and professional and all the latest gear is here. Plus, with an average of 300+ sunny days a year in most locations, Portugal provides a reliable and stunning backdrop for photoshoots. The country's excellent infrastructure, pristine highways, comfortable trains and other mass transit, as well as numerous high-quality hotels, ensure smooth operations. Despite it’s ancient history and appearance, Portugal is a surprisingly high-tech country, way ahead of the US in many areas such as super high-speed internet. As an additional bonus, the warmth of the people makes the entire experience even more enjoyable.