I recently had the pleasure of shooting a story for Audi in Portugal for online and social media usage. I wanted to involve surfers, incorporate as much natural light as possible and utilise the beautiful Algarvian surroundings to showcase the updated Audi Q3. Due to the final usage of the photos, I was awarded a very open and flexible brief to work to and had the car for two weeks in total - an eternity by automotive photography standards!
Shooting in the Algarve during late summer is always going to deliver predictable weather and minimal unforeseeable variables. This is an absolute pleasure for photography of any type. Due to this predictability I was awarded the liberty to shoot where I wanted, when I wanted. Take the shot above for example. I wanted a location where the sun would rise directly behind the car whilst being specifically located on a pier. There are a plethora of tools available online to calculate precisely where the sun will be at any given time, couple this with an overlaid map view and you have a very powerful way of preparing your shoot locations.
A quick search for car-friendly piers along the coast revealed this one, which happened to align perfectly with sunrise.
One of the benefits of jobs like these are the ability to create new relationships. I knew I had a car for two weeks and an open brief, therefor had the freedom to collaborate with people I thought would increase the value of my story. I drove around, Googled and even spoke to strangers for a few days prior to the car delivery in order to create a general plan for the shoot. I needed models, locations, props and permissions. These can all be attained with relative ease with just a little bit of diplomatic competence and the knowledge that failure and refusals are part and parcel to reaching your goal here.
The idea in the pre-shoot stage is to shoot as many photos as possible, shots from obscure angles, shots from the hip, shots that you think may turn out utterly ridiculous. The goal is to achieve a mood for the series of photos, this can be pre-planned but I prefer to experiment in order to create my feel. Meet people, talk to strangers, ask questions of those more knowledgable about your subject. Despite living in Australia for over 10 years, surfing was something I knew nothing about. I spent one whole day at Amado beach on the west coast of the Algarve just meeting surfers and talking to them about their sport. I photographed them and I was eventually referred to a custom surfboard crafter who operated out of Aljezur. You can view a couple of these samples shots below.
Joao of Barbudas Surfboards in Aljezur instantly struck me as a man who took pride in his work, he operated out of an inconspicuous shed on a quiet side-street. Inside revealed a completely bespoke workspace, tailored to suit his exacting needs. It was humble, creative and perfectly engineered and most of all, it reflected his character down to a T. I spoke to him about my project and he agreed to provide some of his boards for my shoot. Every time I visit Portugal I drop by Joaos' place, not because I need to but because I want to. The true beauty of my job really becomes apparent when I get to forge relationships like this as a result of my shoots.
The Q3 was a great companion during my time in Portugal and proved more than capable for all my photographic duties.
I plan to cover a lot more of the subjects which I touched on in this post in my future content. Relationships are essential in the successful operation of a self-employed business arrangement. When clients, models, agents and even rental equipment companies like to work with you, you have a much better chance of progressing with your career. When you work with people you like you will witness your results become much more natural and effective. I try to approach this aspect of the business how I do my every day life, treat others like you would like to be treated and you can't fail! Well that and..Shoot shoot shoot!