Go on Your Own Power Trip – Fashion Shoot with Forbes Woman Africa April-May 2015

This was my first ever fashion shoot – a fun experience and I am sure I will be a lot more work with Forbes Woman Africa in the future.

“The African businesswoman is a woman on the move. For this issue’s fashion spread, I wanted to breathe life into this concept. We wanted the images to speak of the strong inner confidence that a businesswoman needs to make it as an entrepreneur, while at the same time looking fabulous. This is what the entrepreneurial spirit is all about, taking chances and putting yourself out there.”

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Cover Shoot – Brimstone for Forbes Africa Magazine

SEE THE FULL STORY HERE

I flew down a few weeks ago to get my second cover of the year for Forbes Africa Magazine. March 2015 Edition, out now on shelves and also written by me.

I would like to introduce Fred Robertson, a former teacher, and his partners Mustaq Brey, a self-taught chartered account from Wynberg, and Lawrie Brozin from Johannesburg – the men of Brimstone Investment.

At the turn of South African democracy these three men, from three different worlds, set out in the shadow of Table Mountain, in Cape Town, to change their fortunes. In April, it will be 20 years since they took $840,000 from working people in Cape Town and turned it into $628 million.FA 2015 Mar OFC

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1. How I got the shot?

Shooting in harsh sunlight is not always a walk in the park. Sunlight can be your friend and also your enemy. In order to place the Brimstone crew in front of Table Mountain the angle meant they were 1/3 in shadow and the other 2/3 in the sunlight.

So what do you do?

Obviously for a cover photo we weren’t going to use natural light so we packed up two Mono Heads. You then can underexpose your photograph so that the background is slightly darker and then blast your lights at full power. (See pic 1 and pic 2 below). The same effect can be created with two speedlights synced up, the Mono Heads are more powerful though.

In effect what you want to do is overpower the sunlight with the Mono Heads to cancel out the shadows.

To darken you background and soften the glare you can also use an ND filter. The filter acts like a Polaroid lens. Ever noticed how when you are at the beach the white sand can blind you? Well this is what the ND filter reduces. It also helps to darken the background, making it easier to shoot with artificial lights.

If you didn’t have the ND filter you would have to shoot at F16 or F32,which will create more depth of field in the background. (And yes I wanted to differentiate the background so I shot at F8). It also becomes a question of balancing the artificial light. Most cameras will only be able to sync at 1/200 or slower 1/60. (You get faster but this was what I was working with) With such a bright light outside this would have been tricky. At F8, without a ND filter you are looking at a shutter speed of somewhere in the region of 1/500 or 1/1000 to fast for the artificial lights.

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Picture 1: This is a photo taken without lights. See how the shadows are quite dark on their faces. You can’t see their eyes at all. For the cover shot this was the exposure I set my camera to, notice how dark the background is.

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Picture 2: It’s not in focus but you can clearly see how a flash can overpower the surrounding light. It is made easier because you underexpose for the background.

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Picture 3: Here is a behind the scenes shot. See how Nisaar and Nazima have to hold the lights up. As a consequence we couldn’t use diffusers to soften the white light with the monopods — they would have blown away. (We even had sandbags by the way) You can also see the wind blowing Brozin’s jacket on the far left.

2. Unexpected things? – WIND

Weather permitting Cape Town is one of the most beautiful locations in Africa to shoot. Emphasis on weather permitting. Luckily we had a few hands on deck to hold up the mono lights thanks Nisaar and Nazima! 🙂 (Picture 3)

It’s pretty much a waiting game when it comes to capturing the right moment. Outdoor shoots are tricky when you have to wait for the wind to lull. But the Brimstone crew were willing to embrace the moment (which I am quite grateful about)

3. Body Positioning?

Body position can make or break a shot. In Picture 1 you can see the Brimstone crew are standing in a tiered position. Shoulder behind shoulder. When we were initially brain storming the shoot (Yes we do this for all our shoots) we thought this would look appealing.

At the shoot I felt this was a little too posed and it looked extremely unnatural and too much like a Facebook photo.

We eventually moved the gentlemen to more of an inverted pyramid. 1. It slims the figure. 2. It leads the eye to the subjects. 3. In bright sunlight people tend to squint so I had to angle the bodies to get the subjects to look at me without closing their eyes.
Overall I was very happy with the outcome. It was something different to put on our cover and it was a challenge to overcome.

Portrait – South Africa Squash Woman No.1 Siyoli Waters and brother Luvuyiso Lusaseni Lions Rugby Union

Portrait – South Africa’s Woman Rank No. 1 Siyoli Waters and brother Luvuyiso Lusaseni Lions Rugby Union

South Africa’s women squash champion Siyoli Waters and her younger brother Luvuyiso Lusaseni, professional rugby player with the Lions Rugby Union in Johannesburg. We challenged the two for a brother versus sister competition in the squash court. Needless to say Siyoli won quite easily. I nearly got hit twice during the match.

Photography – Jay Caboz
Location – The Wanderers Club, Johannesburg with Siyoli Waters and Luvuyiso Lusaseni
Publication – see the articles here Forbes Africa Magazine November Issue

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Cover Shoot – Nicky Oppenheimer for Forbes Africa Magazine

My first cover for the year turns out to be one of the biggest names in African business – Nicky Oppenheimer, for Forbes Africa Magazine.

Nicky Oppenheimer and his family – worth $6.8 billion according to FORBES – are looking to blaze a trail across Africa – its out with diamonds and in with investment in Africa’s entrepreneurs.  The Oppenheimer wealth makes them the third richest in Africa.

“The Oppenheimer family ended its 85-year reign atop diamond giant De Beers in 2012 when Nicky sold his 40% stake to mining conglomerate Anglo American for $5.1 billion in cash. Anglo American, which Nicky’s grandfather founded, now controls 85% of De Beers; the government of Botswana owns the remaining 15%. 

Nicky Oppenheimer served on Anglo American’s board for 37 years through 2011, and he retains an estimated 1.8% stake in the company. Now he’s turning to private equity through his E. Oppenheimer & Son, which controls investment arms Stockdale Street Capital and Tana Africa Capital, a joint venture with Singapore government-owned investment firm Temasek. Tana holds minority interests in African food manufacturers Promasidor and Regina Co.”

— (FORBES.com)

FA 2015 Feb OFC

 

I didn’t quite know what to expect when meeting Mr Oppenheimer. He is known to be very media shy. He turned out to be quite relaxed as we chatted about cricket and Pangolins during the shoot. Time with businessmen is a rare thing, and with Mr Oppenheimer we had about half an hour to shoot.

Things to do to make the most of your half an hour shoot:

1. Pre-scout

With limited time and with us shooting on location it’s always advised that you try and arrange a pre-scout of the space. Also try go at the same time as the shoot to gauge the lighting.

2. Have a backup.

When we did Mr Oppenheimer’s pre-scout, I immediately noticed the office space was too busy for our cover shot. There was too much going on. So we brainstormed other solutions and came up with a low key shoot with a black backdrop.

3. A mock set-up

When renting kit, you could always practice on someone the day before, at another similar location, so that you have an idea where to put your equipment and the settings.

4. Don’t mess around

You and your client are not there to mess around. Work efficiently. Know the body positions you want to work with. Have everything set up (arrive an hour before the client if you have to) before the client arrives. Then make minor adjustments to your lighting. The last thing you want to have is technical issues before you have even started.

5. Have a spare flash to shoot ‘off the grid’

Nothing ever goes according to plan. An interview may run late. Your subject may need to leave on an emergency. Have a portable flash set up and be ready to go if you have to abandon the studio. Follow the client until they have to leave…and then follow them to their car. Snap along the way if you have to make sure you have got a variety of shots.

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This gives you a better idea of how we set up the photo.

This gives you a better idea of how we set up the photo. I removed the softbox on the right of the figure, and lowered the power to 1/16 for the head shot.

 

 

 

 

Portrait – Dinesh Patel, OrderIn

Portrait – Dinesh Patel, OrderIn

Dinesh Patel has done a lot: sport, entertainment and worked as a banker on Wall Street. After 10 years in the United States, he found his calling back on African soil, where he hopes to change the way we order food. He esablished the popular delivery service OrderIn based in Cape Town.

Photography – Jay Caboz
Location – Sandton Drive Johannesburg with Dinesh Patel
Publication – see the articles here Forbes Africa Magazine July Issue

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Portrait – Mark Bennett, iSchool

Portrait – Mark Bennett, iSchool

Beneath a rusty ceiling, in a room whose light blue paint is peeling from its cracked walls, Juste chisenga hands each of his seven-year-old pupils their latest learning aid – ultra-cheap tablet computers with software in Bemba, a language spoken across north-east Zambia. Known as ZEduPads, the tablets are part of a project aimed at making computers part of the everyday schooling of all young Zambians.

Dreamed up by British-born Mark Bennett, the solar-charged computers make technology accessible to children even where electricity supplies are non-existent. Available in all eight of Zambia’s official languages and preloaded with 12,000 classes, the tablets can be used almost anywhere in the country, allowing children to keep track of their individual progress across every subject they study.

Mark arrived in Zambia in 1985 on a two-year contract to work at a computer center at the University of Zambia. He stayed for twelve years, before branching out on his own, first starting africonnect, an internet service provider he sold to Vodacom in 2005, and then launching ZEduPad. Already, 7,000 of the tablets have been distributed across Zambia. “We’ve spent around US$6 million developing the software,” says Mark. “So far, we have had 2.3 million words translated into local languages and a quarter of a million sounds.”

Photography – Jay Caboz
Location – Kasisi Mission School, Zambia (A couple of kilometers outside of Lusaka) with Mark Bennett
Publication – see the articles here Forbes Africa Magazine May Issue, The Other Hundred Winner

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Mark Bennett (left) at Kasisi Missionary School

 

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Cover Shoot – Winnie and Zindzi Mandela by Jay Caboz for Forbes Woman Africa

It gives me great pleasure to reveal that my first ever cover shoot for FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Magazine is of Winnie and Zindzi Mandela.

I have been holding in the excitement for months waiting for this to hit the shelves. It finally arrived on my desk this morning.

Winnie Mandela gave us an exclusive interview in her house, in ‘the Angola Room’, in Soweto. An amazing and inspirational woman who has dedicated her life to human rights.  I quote that she said to me “You really are an energetic photographer.”

Zindzi is no less of an inspiration. She is canny businesswoman, incredibly media savvy, and is currently South Africa’s ambassador-designate to Denmark.

FWA 2014 Dec-2015 Jan OFC

The shoot was made all the more special when Winnie came downstairs in her traditional ceremonial attire, worn for a year in honor of Nelson Mandela’s passing. It was therefore completely apt that Zindzi would bring along a black designer dress, the last time worn at the royal premier of Long Walk to Freedom in London where she first heard the news that her father had passed away.

The story written by FORBES WOMAN AFRICA‘s editor Methil Renuka is one you cannot miss out on. Pick it up off the shelves as soon as you can. Winnie and Zindzi’s journey over the last year to cope with Mandela’s death is laid bare. I was fortunate to have witnessed this interview in person. It will remain with me for years to come.

There was no doubt in my mind that this photoshoot had to be given justice to the content and I was very happy with the outcome.

It’s hard to believe that almost a year ago I was outside Mandela’s house in Houghton photographing the many people leaving bouquets of flowers and letters to his memory; or the my rainy 5AM wait with thousands outside the FNB Stadium to witness the Nelson Mandela Memorial Service; or the queues and queues of thousands more lining up to see the former President’s body at the Union Buildings. It made the meeting with Winnie and Zindzi even more special.

To finish you won’t believe it, but I did this whole shoot with just a flash, an LED light and a reflector. No serious lighting equipment was used since it was a spur of the moment story.

Shoot