Lighting leather.....

I am fortunate enough to do a variety of product photography in my studio, from bottles to art the variety can be endless and often great fun. This was certainly the case with our friends from Totes who make a fantastic range of handcrafted leather bags and engaged us to help them create a variety of images for their website.

Check out the lighting setup used on a styled handbag as well as some of the action in the studio in our behind the scenes video below.

This is the kind of shoot we really enjoy, a new product and a brief that allows us to be creative within some set parameters. The brief involved photographing each item on a clean background showing the whole bag and then focusing in on some of the finer details such as the stitching, clasps and lining to showcase the quality of workmanship that goes into each bag.

As the bags are all different shapes and sizes we wanted to display some functional pictures showing an everyday use of the bag using props that you would liklely carry around in a specific bag. The props also give a sense of size and scale to each product.

Now I am told by people in the know that no self respecting woman would buy a handbag without 'seeing' how it would look on her so of course we had to oblige and have several pics of each bag being 'modelled' by our discerning volunteer.

And finally towards the end of the shoot we did a few styled shots on a grey background with some softer, more angled lighting to create a few 'grab' images that may be used in brochures and fliers.

If you have a product that you would like photographed please don't hesitate to check out our commercial showreel and gallery and don't hesitate to contact us if you would like more information.

Greens and blues on Rhino Island...

What could be better than ushering in 2017 in one of Zimbabwe's most beautiful wilderness areas while being hosted by a fantastic team at an awesome safari lodge? I am fortunate enough to spend a lot of time all over Zimbabwe and the region helping our various tourism friends update their marketing portfolio's throughout the different seasons and on this glorious occasion I found myself in the verdant surrounds of Rhino Safari Camp on the shores of Lake Kariba.

The camp is located on its own little haven, Muuyu point (which in the local lingo means Baobab Point) and when the lake is really full it's often cut off from the mainland by the high water and becomes an island. I have done some photography and run some photographic safaris at the camp before so was very excited when I had the opportunity to head back at a different time of the year.

The brief was simple, get some stunning marketing images of the camp, its surrounds and activities that will help promote the 'green season'. This didn't prove to be too difficult as the bush was thick, green and vibrant after a good start to the rainy season.

Kariba is synonymous with its 'big sky' which is best seen in the green season when the rain keeps the haze at bay and the cloud formations are at their most stunning.

Kariba is synonymous with its 'big sky' which is best seen in the green season when the rain keeps the haze at bay and the cloud formations are at their most stunning.

The only slight snag was working around the weather! Being the end of December and in full swing of the heaviest rainy season in a long time it was a constant guessing game as to what we would be able to achieve. However on the plus side the sky always had some great cloud detail in it which adds a certain livliness to the pics.  

Some wonderfully cooperative models allowed us to get a handful of 'lifestyle' shots around the camp which add an invaluable human element to the marketing pictures.

The sheer 'greenness' of the surrounds made it exceptionally easy to showcase how vibrant the camp is in this wonderful season.

Even some of the local wildlife played ball and allowed us to get some fantastic game viewing images. Despite the heavy rain and abundance of grazing the game on the island is never far away.

The post-sunset 'blue light' provided a moody background to the glowingly warm, inviting atmosphere created by the subtle lighting around the public areas of the camp, with the warm glow of the evening 'bush television' shouting "sit near me"!!

On new years' eve with most of the camp staff and guests in tow we headed out onto the wonderfully expansive Kariba foreshore to a spot we had picked out earlier in the day under a towering petrified Mopane tree to setup a romantic bush dinner.

The weather seemed perfect for the occasion and the only logistical challenge we faced was how to hang the lanterns in the tree. Initially there was a lot of head scratching as the incredibly hard Mopane tree repelled any attempt to bang in a few temporary nails to hang the lanterns from. After a bit of sweating in the now rapidly descending sun some clever soul had a brainwave, why not use some fishing wire to hoist them up?!

If you have a tourism product that you would like photographed feel free to check out our tourism gallery and showreel or contact us for more information.

Crafty studio....

I am privileged enough to see a lot of fantastic products come through the studio and I am always excited to have something new and unique to photography. I can happily Say I was not disappointed when Shadreck from Zimba Arts asked if we could photograph his wonderful Zimbabwean metal artworks.

Our studio was jam packed with amazingly colourful, unique, inspiring metal birds, ants, warthogs, meerkats and even spiders! The brief was simple, showcase the product in its best possible light on a clean white background. Even my eldest son Oliver got in on the mix!

I am sure you will agree that the art work is fanatastic and we managed to it justice! Check out a short behind the scenes clip below as well as some of the resultant pictures...

Security Matters....

I was recently engaged by one of Zimbabwe's leading security firms Safeguard Security to help them update their photographic gallery. The pictures covered all aspects of the firms' business units from their guards on site at various commercial and private properties through to their manufacturing division and will be used in all their upcoming digital, social media and print campaigns.

This is the sort of work that I relish as it required me to travel. We shot all over Harare and had to think creatively in many different environments, in order to get the shots that best portray that particular service. An example being the guards; they take care of hundreds of commercial and private properties and so we needed to express that using locations that the public would also recognise to heighten the brand awareness. 


The nature of the shoot meant that we had to work continuously for several days and so could only make use of the best light in the early morning and late afternoon for a few sites. This meant that I had to work with on site lighting setups which allowed me to balance the guards in the foreground with the bright backgrounds. 


In keeping with the ethos of the shoot to showcase Safeguards' products and services, all the shots are of the guards who are actually on the ground, we didn't once need to work with models. This can often be difficult, especially if we are pressed for time on site, as you don't want to rush someone who is not a model and unfamiliar with how to stand, pose, smile etc. With all credit going to all the staff we included in the shoot, they all did a remarkable job and are a credit to themselves and Safeguard.

We also shot some of the guards in the studio so that the designer could deep etch pictures to be dropped easily onto any branded backdrop or advert.

In addition to the guards we had to showcase the Armoured team, their professionalism and how well resourced they are. For obvious reasons shooting this on site would have proven to be a bit tricky and so we set some shots up at the safeguard depot.

Keeping track of the massive logistical framework at Safeguard is a dedicated group of control room operators, the massive screens, radio conservations and real time location updates lent an air of order, safety and security to the resultant pics.

In addition to the large Security infrastructure that Safeguard operates they also manufacture Xpanda sliding security doors as well as custom gates and security features. Now I am a boy at heart and loved spending time around the noise of machines, welding and the general busyness of a manufacturing floor.

What proved to be slightly more tricky was showcasing Safeguards on site security products like the motion PIR, razor wire, gates etc. Thankfully with a few phone calls we managed to secure permission from a number of commercial and private properties to shoot their recent security measures installed by Safeguard.

All in all we had a fantastic shoot with Safeguard and I feel we managed to portray all the different aspects of their business in a way that reflects the amazing professionalism at which they operate. I would like to say a huge thanks to Safeguard and their entire team for their support and all the organising that went into making the shoot possible.

How can we help you improve your business' visual branding? Have a look at our showreel, check out our website or be in touch with us to start the ball rolling!


I am a big fan of chilli sauce, there are not many meals where I am not reaching for some bottle or concoction to heat up my meal, zing up the taste and generally make me sweat and smile simultaneously. This obsession has over the years prompted me to grow my own chillies, in such magnificent volumes that we had to freeze bags and bags of them so we didn't have to forcibly wade through piles of drying chillies every time we entered the kitchen.

Eventually my stoic wife's sensibilities and patient support diverged and we had a 'conversation' that ended with a moratorium on the chilli harvesting, with the annoyingly accurate observation that several kilograms of the fiery red birdseye variety would probably suffice for the next few years. So my reign as a chilli farmer came to an end just as my wife's career as the in-house chilli sauce making magician began (with no constant, insistent nagging by her husband of course).

Months of home-made chilli consuming heaven passed until one fateful dinner at a friend's house when the Doctor was suddenly and inextricably inserted into our lives. The shapely bottle, the smokey twang, the lemony zest were all too much for me that night and I ended up eating more chilli sauce than anything else (not fun the next morning). And so to my wife's eternal, and annoyingly thinly veiled, relief my obsession with home made sauce was ushered out to make way for my new mistress, Dr Trouble's Double Oak Smoked Lemon Chilli.

Made on a farm in central Zimbabwe by someone who can only be described as a genius, in my eyes anyway, the wonderful sauce is consumed in volumes in the Scott household and so was a perfect candidate on a rainy day for an impromptu studio product shoot.

There is no doubt in this day and age that colourful, engaging photography will set your product apart from the competition and, whether its studio photography or lifestyle photography showing the product in use in an everyday setting, good visuals are vital.

In this instance I used a relatively simply lighting setup to achieve several different 'looks' while still maintaining the product as the hero of the image. Variety certainty is, especially in this case, the spice of life and I strove to create different images that could easily stand on their own as visually appealing to a wide audience.

Using a solid wodden chopping board as a base to create that warm, oak feel we created a lighting setup around the product that would best enhance the shape of the bottle. On the left is a standard 50x90 softbox set on a low power to create a gentle rim light on the left hand side of the bottle.

Opposite the softbox on the right is a large gold reflector that will create an even softer gold rimlight on the right side of the bottle. A snoot with a tight grid illuminated the label on the bottle as well as the condiments just in front of the bottle. Finally a light set on low power with a reflector and gel will light up the background, we settled on a lemonish yellow as it spoke to the lemon in the product and did not fight too much with the subtle red of the chilli in the bottle.

From the above series of pictures we can see how the different lights used in the setup illuminated the product. Top left shows the softbox creating the rimlight on the edge of the bottle as well as the rimlight on the right of the bottle created by the large reflector. This showcases the shape of the bottle nicely.

Top right illustrates the use of the yellow gel on the reflector pointed at the backdrop and then bottom left shows how the snoot and tight grid illuminated the label and the condiments on the board. Bottom right is a final shot with all the studio lights firing simultaneously.

Watch more about this product lighting setup in this brief behind the scenes video;

So my love afar with chilli has resulted in a product shot that is both visually appealing and dynamic, usable in a variety of marketing environments and likely to instill the same mouth watering response in a potential customer that it does with me, always!

So how can we help you create stunning imagery that will help sell your brand or product? Contact us, we are always happy to chat and advise or visit our corporate gallery to see more examples of our photography.

Wholesale Zimbabwe...

The Trip...

"Have you ever landed up a hill?" The impact of the questions and the pilot's twinkling mishevious smile were lost on me as I peered enthralled out of the window at the fields of verdant green tea scattered below me.  As the question sunk in I managed to splutter a weak "huh" and jerk my head forward just in time to witness us landing, indeed uphill, on the slopes of Ratelshook airstrip near Chipingi.

The distracting view of Ratelshoek Tea Estates, grab shot taken with my iPhone.

The distracting view of Ratelshoek Tea Estates, grab shot taken with my iPhone.

I am on the last of my 3 day whirl around the country with Miles Peech and his team from Metro Peech and Browne Wholesalers, with 7 stores already under our belt we are touching down to photograph our 7th before lifting off to our final destination, Mutare. 

The Brief...

I am helping Metro Peech and Browne (lets shorten that to MPB to save my fingers and keyboard) develop a stock library of their stores, staff and products which they can use for their website, social media and print campaigns and I am having an absolute ball. Because of the tight nature of the schedule, 10 stores in 3 days, all the store managers were super organised and as a result the stores and staff looked fantastic which made my job all the more pleasurable.

The brief was simple, capture the stores and the services as much as possible but more so concentrate on getting great shots of the staff who are the lifeblood of the organisation. However, cautioned the brief, don't make them look too like stock images, these are our staff and they should look happy and proud! With this in mind off we went in our Cessna 208.

The staff...

Due to the pre-warning the staff all looked rather dapper and were all very keen to have their photography taken (who wouldn't?), all I had to do was concentrate on the photography stuff and make sure the MPB branding was visible and things like name tags etc looked good. So the challenge really came in the form of making sure the staff looked good in their environment, even when dusting the store or working the till.

My brief also stipulated that where possible I should get a good mix of close shots of staff engaging the camera (like above and top) as well as a variety of full length shots both engaging the camera as well as working, like below.

The soccer teams...

Being on a shoot and working with people who are friendly and willing to pose is an absolute pleasure so as you can imagine we ended up with a lot of staff images in the bag. But nothing quite compared to the excitement, pride and jubilation when it was announced we would like to photograph the store's soccer team. Nothing brings people together quite like the shared passion for a sport, even if its for a few minuets in the middle of a work dat for a photograph!

The stores...

The same can be said for the stores, except for the smiles and abject willingness of course. Each Store Manager ensured that everything was clean and the shelves stocked and packed well which again made my job a pleasure. The only snag was. luckily for MPB, the masses of shoppers going about their daily business. All the stores were busy and this made getting the shots I wanted a test of my patience, luckily I have a little left! 

A 360 degree panoramic of Chiredzi store.

Another considerable challenge was the sheer size of some of the stores, especially the height of the shelving which would prove difficult to photography with a standard lens. Thankfully I was doing most of the store shots with a wide angle Nikon 24mm PCE lens which allows me to shift the lens up and down and from side to side. The lenses are traditionally used to correct the perspective shift that results in bent lines and buildings that look like they are falling over.

Another more sneaky but equally as usefull use is to tape a variety of shots as you move through the shift range of the lens. This allows you take vertical panoramics that allowed me to capture the height of the shelving, like below.

A horizontal panorama allowed me to capture the height of the shelves.

A horizontal panorama allowed me to capture the height of the shelves.

Luckily for me and MPB the lens works both ways and I was also able to shoot horizontal panoramics that allowed me to capture a wider view of the stores, especially when space was at a premium and I couldn't move back.

Landscape or horizontal panoramas are like gold dust when space is tight.

Landscape or horizontal panoramas are like gold dust when space is tight.

All in all the job for MPB was rewarding in so many ways for me as a photographer both from a technical and visual point of view. Most importantly of all the satisfaction that comes from knowing you have helped a client produce visuals that accurately portray their brand and people in a powerful way.