Volvo – around the world in 30 days

Published May 17th, 2013

The Volvo C30 shoot was a great experience – a lot of fun and a lot of hard work. It was also typical of how shoots have evolved since photography went digital.

These days you often go to locations just to shoot a backplate, with the object – or vehicle in this case – added later in the studio. I guess it illustrates how important good backplates are when it comes to the CGI polishing work in the studio.

Volvo C30 around the world

The brief was to shoot the latest Volvo C30 in exotic locations around the world. Problem was most of the models had yet to roll off the production line plus to transport a fleet of C30 around the planet would have been prohibitively expensive. So the idea was to shoot the backplates and then fit CGI cars from data supplied by Volvo into the backplates that we shot on the different locations.

To give the job an edge we had only 3 weeks’ notice for the 4 weeks shooting in 6 locations, from the US and South America to Europe and the Far East.

London-based ...

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Bentley, Breitling and the cloak and dagger wor...

Published April 23rd, 2013

Bentley was one of those dream jobs that come round every so often. You do the shoot, the client likes it; you do another, their client likes it.

The shoot leads to other jobs and the spin off can last several years. As I say, a dream job.

With the launch of the Contintental GT 9 years ago, Bentley wanted a worldwide splash on the new model. Problem was it didn’t exist.

Actually, this isn’t unusual. Companies tend to piece together prototype designs and then ask me to shoot them prior to a big launch. So I end up shooting patched up models, then bring them to life afterwards through post shoot CGI work.

The Bentley job was very cloak and dagger. We went to Crewe in northern England and photographed the prototype. It was built on scaffold poles. A shell built around a load of RSJs. They simply bolted the car to it.

Given the secrecy surrounding the car, ironically someone sneaked out pictures of it the morning we arrived. All hell let loose as the company sought to uncover what the ...

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Pan Head Billy – the High Plain’s Drifter

Published July 31st, 2012

This is Pan Head Billy, a larger than life character, sitting astride his Harley on a dried-up salt lake bed a few miles outside Wendover, a small gambling town straddling Utah and California.

Not a lot happens in Wendover.

I had been shooting a Ford Fusion campaign in LA and after wrapping that shoot I decided to head out cross county for a road trip to capture landscapes for CGI back plates. Just driving from one state to the next, with the aim of passing through the Bonneville Salt Flats at some point (a great location – different every time).

After several days travelling and many back plates later we arrived. Out of nowhere I spotted 1000-odd bikers – seriously heavy characters – doing speed trials across a salt bed. They had diesel bikes, electric bikes, everything; if it had two wheels you could do the time trial, it was fantastic.

In the middle of all the hubbub was this dishevelled looking Pan Head Harley, we just had to find the rider!

This larger than life guy, Pan Hea ...

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Isuzu D-MAX: Rough tough toys for rough tough boys

Published July 26th, 2012

The Isuzu shoot is one of my recent jobs. A month or so ago in early summer.

The brief was tough trucks for tough times. Driven by tough guys who chew gum and get their hands dirty.

So I wanted to capture a scene that was mean, moody and brittle. The appalling rain and flooding – ironically – really helped to shape it. So we donned our raincoats and headed off to rural Worcestershire, which spends half the year under water.

Isuzu first approached me 10 years ago to shoot their TF pickup ad campaign. We then shot another series of pictures for a second campaign 5 years later, and this is now the third series of truck ads Isuzu has asked us to shoot. So a good tip for all you budding commercial photographers – think of the long game. It pays!

For this shoot we chose sets that would bring out the toughness of the D-MAX, the new incarnation of the truck: the idea was to cover off the building trade, the farming trade and the hard core building trade, which are large industrial constr ...

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Mars Ice Cream - A little bit tasty

Published July 20th, 2012

Mars Ice Cream photo shoot at Hove sea front.

One of my few non-automotive shoots, but oddly built around the image of a very imaginative, chocolate shaped car. It also won me an award. So I’m proud of that.

I was commissioned to produce two campaign ads for Mars Ice Cream. Simple job and not far from home. Just down the motorway on the south coast.

The basic idea was to make ice creams trendy for kids on the beach. It was meant to be a bit sexy, a bit raunchy. As always, the clients didn’t want it to be as sexy or raunchy as the guys in the agency wanted it to be. The client wanted a simple “hello boys” approach, so it had to be watered down and what you see is the middle ground.

I was sent the layouts by the agency, but it was when I saw the car designs by a student at the Royal College of Art that I knew we had a uniquely different job on our hands.

For the right effect, we wanted bright, direct sunlight; you need an ice-cream-type feel to the shot, which is hard light. So you ...

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