Photographer Insight: Mandy Zieren

Photographer Insight: Mandy Zieren

Mandy is one of our favourite surf photographers. She also placed as a runner up in the 2015 Ocean & Earth Surf Photographer Search with 3 stunning shots including the fave of perfect Pipeline. Mandy has come off the back of a successful professional bodyboarding career and now finds solace in the waves shooting the ideals that make her the happiest. 

Her images and angles are unique and flawless. We love her work and hope you enjoy it too.

Mandy ZierenI grew up in Avalon, Australia in the late 80’s and 90’s and was surrounded by the best surfers the world had ever seen. The names that took over the surf magazines and title lists like Tom Carroll, Martin Potter, Barton Lynch, Rob Bain, Pam Burridge and many more surfers who were all at the peak of there surfing careers at the time. They lived and surfed my local breaks and had a really strong influence on me as a child.

It all seemed pretty normal at the time but now I look back on those days I realise how privileged I was to have grown up watching these guy’s and girls live out their dreams as professional surfers. I really believe if I didn’t have those influences as a child I would never have known that it was truly possible to follow a career in surfing and surf photography. It was there in front of my eyes every day so I knew how real it was. It paved the way for me (and many others of course) to chase waves around the world, and that’s what I did for 15 years, competing and travelling on the World Bodyboard Tour.

After completing photography at school it was only natural for me to document every country and contest I ever visited as part of my professional bodyboard career. Photography was a second passion to surfing as a kid and it’s quite remarkable that the two very things I loved the most as a child have panned out to literally be my life and my Job.

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I’m really fortunate to have, and continue to live out my dreams. That’s why it’s so important to focus our energy and thoughts in positive ways and directions, because we as humans are so powerful and the things we think and dream really do become our reality. We need to stay focused on the positive and steer our our paths in appositive direction. I know it sounds cleche but it’s the simple truth. There will be bumps in the road and unexpected curve balls along the way, but it’s what we do with them that counts and helps us progress to the next level.

How It All Started

I was never much of a talker when I was young, even today I never feel like I need to talk much, preferring to observe and take things in so, I feel like my photography is my way of vocally expressing myself. Maybe thats the power and emotion coming out it’s in my photographs and work.

Fave Location

If I had a to choose a a favourite place to shoot it would be in warm tropical waters over reef break with crystal clear water. Who doesn’t want that as there Dream spot!?

In The Bag

  • 2 Canon camera bodies
  • GoPro
  • 6 lenses including;
    • fish eye 2x 50mm
    • 100-400mm 24-70mm
    • 17-40mm
  • 3x camera batteries 7 battery chargers
  • stacks of memory cards

*Shooting Weddings as well as Surf I need a bit variety with lenses in my bag.

Mandy Zieren

Clare Bevilacqua at Backdoor, Photo by Mandy Zieren


The Money Shot

A favourite shot of mine is definitely the first photo that I ever got published back in 2009 with Curl Magazine. (PICTURED ABOVE) I had been over in Hawaii and decided not to enter the Pipe contest, instead deciding to focus on taking photos instead.

It was my first time taking photos on a reef break and it just so happened to be out at Pipe. I didn’t really think about it until I got caught on the inside a few times, on some bigger days and learnt some water safety lessons really fast.

I only had a fish eye lens so had to sit in really tight in the impact zone. This one day I paddled out at Back Door on a smaller day with Clair Bevilacqua. (who knows this wave better than most Women I’ve seen out there) We had so much fun connecting so many barrels and underwater shots it was one of the most memorable surfs based purely on stoke and fun we had out there. I got this photo and a few others published from this Hawaii trip. My editing skills back then weren’t too crash hot and if I remember correctly I used iPhoto to edit. Not my most technical shot but certainly the most memorable. I remember the excitement around the day in the water and the day I opened the magazine and saw my photo. Truly priceless.

Mandy Zieren
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