Shooting the McLaren Al Sahara 79

What a special day with a super limited edition McLaren 650s Spider Al Sahara 79. With its unique paint finish, which includes the addition of 24 carat gold particles and a special interior finish, this car will only be driven by a very select few.

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Unfortunately, I didn’t get to experience first hand the Spider’s 300km/hr top speed as the car arrived on a flatbed truck with the instruction, “For static photography only, no driving”.  I even arrived on a recovery truck… I know from previous shoots however, that it will kick some serious ass.  For this shoot, we worked on interior close ups, full body shots with clean backdrops and a few more frames late afternoon out in the desert.




Behind the scenes images by Kish

During my occasional photography workshops, my advice when it comes to shooting well is to make sure you get yourself in front of something you find interesting. In this case, putting a serious car fanatic in front of an awesome set of wheels had to be a recipe for success…


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.

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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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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-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!