land rover

Kuwaiti car culture

How much magic can you fit into ten consecutive and insanely long days?

The answer is lots! I was fortunate enough to spend a decent spell in Kuwait just before the summer, building a portfolio of local imagery for one of Kuwait’s largest car retailers. As is the case with many brands, the Kuwaiti marketing teams for brands like BMW, Land Rover, Mini, Rolls Royce and McLaren all struggle with the international imagery supplied by their respective HQ’s. Stunning the images may be but they’re simply not relevant to Kuwait as the country doesn’t have green countryside, rolling hills, lush forests, fresh snow or fields of tulips and sunflowers. My job then was to find out exactly what Kuwait has on offer.

Wouter Kingma Blog for Kuwait Car shoot01

Wouter Kingma Blog for Kuwait Car shoot04

A recce trip end of last year left us with a wish list of locations including urban cityscape, open roads, desert landscape, roof tops, rock formations and heritage sites. The country certainly has a strong offering of backdrops… you have to put in the effort to find them. I recall flying over Kuwait city on the way in and peeking through the window for exciting places to shoot. Admittedly, then I felt a little panicked. Clearly, a quick fly over wasn’t going to cut it but thanks to our great fixer, Adil, we managed to find a cool mix of locations to work at.

Briingggg… went the first of many 4am alarm calls. I’m always keen to shoot cars during the very early morning light. Starting with static shots and studio flash, I moved onto car-to-car photography as the sun just started to peek over the horizon then, if the location justified it, I would shoot a few more static shots before taking a much needed coffee break. Sales of Starbucks surely peaked during my stay. Next, I would download my cards, check the images, have a quick recap with the client at the dealership then wash, prep and change cars to start the very same thing in reverse during the afternoon and into sunset. This for ten days straight left me pretty exhausted having clicked just under 29,000 frames in total!

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Wouter Kingma Blog for Kuwait Car shoot03

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Wouter Kingma Blog for Kuwait Car shoot08
Needless to say, Kuwaitis love their cars, luxury ones in particular and better still, customised and personalised. I got to shoot some pretty fast and exclusive models so whilst I can’t guaranteed leaving without any speeding tickets, I’m pretty sure I left behind some iconic car images that tick all the boxes.

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Wouter Kingma Blog for Kuwait Car shoot09

Wouter-M4-Kuwait-150Quick selfie using the iPad and CamRanger app

My final memory was during the return flight home. Looking out of the plane window, I recognised certain landmarks and spotted locations where we’d shot. This seemed like a cool way to finish off the shoot. Kuwait certainly makes for a great drive and is home to an awesome bunch of people. Thank you!



Sharing the love for car photography (workshop)

In the years that lead up to my starting my own business, being involved in different training  workshops featured quite heavily in my life. I wrote various courses for Accor Academy and my time at the Land Rover / Jaguar regional office in Dubai had a 30% focus on training. ‘Dipped in Green’, in particular, developed into a memorable three days brand experience. To date, I still meet participants who refer to it with fond memories. At the end of last year, I also held a Canon photography workshop, and if all goes to plan, we’ll see more of them soon.


So when Motoring Middle East called to see if I was interested in running a car specific photography workshop, I jumped at the idea. I’m always keen to share and help others take it to the next level… and when it comes to car photography, I’m sure I have a few… (more…)