Last week I completed a Jaguar Land Rover commission to photograph three new Discovery Sport vehicles.
British Dressage, British Eventing and British Showjumping have a new partnership with iconic British automotive brand, Land Rover. This alignment sees them become the Official Vehicle Supplier to the three governing bodies of the Olympic equestrian sports.
Land Rover has been at the heart of equestrian sport for over 30 years and has become synonymous with the equestrian community and its enduring lifestyle. The partnership includes the supply of six Land Rover Discovery Sport vehicles which will be used as team support vehicles for major championships as well as day-to-day operations.
This shoot centred around finding a suitable rural-looking site where we could photograph the vehicles, as close as possible to the offices of the three federations. Stoneleigh Park was an obvious choice but there was a large dairy farming exhibition taking place. After a quick recce, JLR's representative Debbie Lee and I found a nice quiet location in the north-western area of the park which was quiet and suitably deserted.
There were a number of challenges, not least getting the shoot done quickly so that the federation employees who were driving the vehicles could return to work. The most prominent of vinyl decals on the cars was the one on the bonnet, which faced upwards. Luckily I had predicted this being the case and had brought my trusty step ladder with me to give myself a higher vantage point.
What I had not fully predicted was the issue of shadows. Non-photographers always assume that a lovely sunny day is the ideal scenario for a shoot, but unfortunately in the winter months this can present problems. The sun was low in the sky, creating long, dark shadows from each car across the grass between them. Removing those shadows in post-processing is not a great option as the results generally look very fake. My position on a step ladder meant that I, too, would be casting a nasty shadow. Positioning the cars would be vital!
Jaguar Land Rover have strict guidelines about the angle from which their products can be photographed from. With these very much in mind we set about positioning individual cars and groups of the three vehicles, to hide the shadows as much as possible.
Predictable enough, off-camera flash took a prominent role in filling in shadows, without being too obvious.