AU NZ

Events, photo walks, talks from the masters, in-depth workshops. Expand your horizons with one of our many events across Australia.

Starting Never Ends is the one place for all Sony camera mini-sites. Learn about all new Sony camera products in a fun interactive way.

Events, photo walks, talks from the masters, in-depth workshops. Expand your horizons with one of our many events across Australia.

Starting Never Ends is the one place for all Sony camera mini-sites. Learn about all new Sony camera products in a fun interactive way.

AU NZ
Sony New Zealand
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Event Host

Alpha Creator Project: Land Rover Discovery Campaign by Cam Graves

25 Nov 2021
Sony New Zealand
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Event Host
Image: Sony New Zealand, Alpha 1 (A1)

Cam Graves is an Auckland-based freelance photographer and videographer who took an unconventional path to enter the creative industry. After studying accounting and marketing at Auckland University he became a digital banking specialist for Westpac. When he wasn’t at work he began taking photos for his girlfriend, now fiancé, Lana Van Hout, and in the process discovered a passion for image-making. As Lana’s following grew she started getting offered paid sponsorship opportunities to promote brands, and they quickly realised that social media content creation could generate a respectable income. Fast-forward five years and Cam was ready to take a leap of faith. He resigned from his corporate job to pursue his passion as a freelance photographer and now produces promotional imagery for big brands such as Jaguar, Land Rover, and Adidas.

To create compelling content, Cam often travels to picturesque destinations all around Aotearoa. Earlier this year he took the new Land Rover Discovery on a road trip across the South Island. “Lana and I had planned to go on a four-week road trip down south,” he explains, “but instead of renting a car we decided to reach out to one of our long term partners, Land Rover, to see if we could integrate a shoot into our roady.”

 

Photo by Cam Graves
Sony Alpha 1 with Tamron E 70-180mm F2.8 lens. 1/400 sec, f/4, ISO 160

 

The brief for this assignment was fairly loose; besides capturing detail shots of the new features on the interior and exterior, Cam was given free rein to create a wide variety of different imagery. “I’ve worked with them for over 2 years now, so Land Rover NZ trusts my vision and is cool for me to head out and capture impactful shots of their fleet.”

Cam points out that one of the biggest challenges with car photography is controlling reflections. “From a photography standpoint, cars are essentially a bunch of mirrors, with the light bouncing off all of these angled reflective surfaces, so it can be a bit of a nightmare at times.” To overcome this issue is a two-step process. Firstly, when shooting cars Cam uses CPL filters, or circular polariser filters, to help minimize the reflections. Then, during post-production, Photoshop is used to clean up the remaining reflections and remove any irregularities, making the surfaces look more uniform and pleasing to the eye. He also likes to grade his images in post, using Lightroom to build drama by adjusting hues to create more atmosphere and depth. “I often like to add some blues/teals into my shadows, but that’s more of a personal preference.”

 

Photo by Cam Graves
Sony Alpha 1 with FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM lens. 1/500 sec, f/2.8, ISO 2000

 

During the trip, they visited several remote locations where they had the opportunity to test out the vehicle's off-road capabilities. Land Rover NZ is based in Auckland, so they were keen to see the Discovery put through its paces down south. “They were really excited about the water wading shots we captured in the backcountry of Tekapo,” says Cam.

Pre-production is also extremely important when working on campaign shoots, particularly when they’re location-specific because the photographer needs to be in the right place at the right time to capture the best images. However, on this assignment Cam and his small crew had four weeks on the road and weren’t bound by a tight deadline, so he was able to be more spontaneous when it came to taking photos. Despite this freedom, Cam still planned his travel itinerary to take advantage of optimal lighting conditions and locations. As a result, he finished the trip with more than enough high-quality content to keep his client happy. “Pre-production really goes a long way, and if you do it right it can dramatically improve the quality of your work.”

 

Photo by Cam Graves
Sony Alpha 1 with FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM lens. 1/25 sec, f/2.8, ISO 500

 

The Gear

For this assignment, Cam shot with the Alpha 1, a camera he describes as a “hybrid beast.” Having the ability to shoot 50-megapixel stills and capture 8K/30p or 4K/120p video with a single camera meant that he could travel light, without ever having to compromise on image quality or performance. “The Alpha 1 is robust, nimble, easy to use – and the amount of detail in the files is absolutely insane. Sony has crushed it with this camera!”

On the front of the Alpha 1 Cam used either the Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 G-Master zoom lens or a Tamron 70-180mm F2.8 zoom lens. “With car photography, you don’t want to go too wide because I find it’s very easy to lose the aesthetic proportions of the vehicle and distort the whole image,” he explains. “I prefer to zoom in as it compresses the scene and makes the car sit more staunchly on the road. 85mm at f4 is probably my favourite focal length.”

 

Photo by Cam Graves 
Sony Alpha 1 with Tamron E 70-180mm F2.8 lens. 1/400 sec, f/4, ISO 160

 

Parting Advice

Cam’s advice for aspiring photographers who want to get into the industry is simple – avoid comparing yourself to others. “There are so many beautiful images and videos out there, and while this can be a great source of inspiration, it can also be quite demotivating comparing your work to the best in the business when you’re new to photography. It’s important to just get out there and start shooting, that’s how you develop your own style, learn what works and what doesn’t, and discover your own niche. Find what really motivates you and hone in on that.”

 

Photo by Cam Graves
Sony Alpha 1 with FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM lens. 1/15 sec, f/2.8, ISO 250

 

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