This week we will be taking an in-depth look at some work I did for a client back in early April. I usually reserve to blog for personal work and thoughts and let the portfolio on the main site speak for itself but this job was just so much fun that I feel it deserves a bit more of a look here.
The client was Luxury Africa, inbound tour operator who deal in destination management for the seriously high-end tourist. They wanted photos of their luxury fleet of Land Rovers which transport clients in style, whiskey in-hand, from safari to spa. The shoot would take place across multiple days and locations centred around Cape Town and the surrounding area where Luxury Africa’s headquarters are based.
Here we have a shoot taking place at La Residence, a beautiful set of luxury suites and villas nestled in the Franschhoek valley just outside Cape Town. Part of the Royal Portfolio of hotels. This place is seriously beyond expectations.
We were warmly welcomed with drinks and more or less given the run of the place as we captured their beautiful grounds for the brochure we were creating. Food soon followed and kept coming as we shot throughout the afternoon.
The main part of out shoot was capturing our models enjoying themselves in the splendid surroundings that Luxury Africa would take clients to. This was hardly a challenge at all from a subject directing point of view as the models couldn’t help but have a great time here.
What was a challenge was capturing all that beauty under the harsh African sun. It was bright! And hot! Especially if you are dragging around bags of heavy camera equipment everywhere. But I’m glad we did as we needed much of that equipment as we shaded our models from the sun and then built up a more flattering light on them from my location lighting flash kit.
We captured just a couple of the activities you might get up to while visiting this amazing hotel. Strolling through the beautiful grounds was actually an interesting exercise in synchronising leg positions with my shutter finger.
We moved around the hotel & grounds and got some great shots, met the amazing & friendly staff, and were generally treated like royalty as I frantically tried to get all the shots we needed while taking it all in.
At the end of the day I’m sure our models had an amazing time and so did I. Definitely added a stay at this hotel for real to my dream list. I’m thinking this would make a great eventual honeymoon spot.
Next we have shots of the ‘LA’ fleet at various beautiful destinations around Cape Town. An early morning, sunrise shoot at Chapman’s Peak was worth getting up a 4am for. We had a lot of crazy scheduling to get the best light and fit in all the locations we needed. Many nights we didn’t finish shooting until 1am and I was editing until 3am! Then sleep in a bit and back to it for another go.
We had tight deadlines and crazy turn arounds on the final images. We were often working with large composite files to combine all the lighting elements we needed and had to get it all done each day in time to send to the big bossman, my good friend Patrick, who was out meeting with clients in the US and needed images to show them each day.
We had a couple of shoots at the beautiful V&A Waterfront which is both a great destination as well as a place to launch a helicopter tour of the coast from. This was my first time getting to photograph a helicopter and it was a lot of fun! Next time we’ll get it in the air!
We also made sure to head up Signal Hill to Lion’s Head nature reserve where we got some seriously amazing shots across Cape Town, Table Mountain & the coast.
Again we found that lighting was needed to lift up the shadows caused by the harsh sun and we had the added challenge of not being able to setup lights as the narrow road to the top we were parked on couldn’t be closed.
But we managed to work around it all, finding unique but pleasing angles to shoot the car and backdrop from that didn’t leave me in the middle of the road, and moving the lights in and out quickly, guerrilla style.
And of course we had to return at night for the glow of those city lights. Totally worth staying up late yet another night for.
Finally, we had to do a couple of hero shots of the cars themselves. There are a load more shots we pulled of in just a few short days that I don’t have time to share here, variations on the theme. More beauty, more luxury, more good times.
This is the first time I’d worked in South Africa and what fun it was. A dream client who were at once both easy-going and fun to work with even as we had a demanding schedule and were always racing against the clock. We pulled it off together and I can’t wait to go back for the next shoot. I’m sure I’ll be telling you about it before too long.