Sunset Parasailing in the Maldives – The Human Drone

huvafen fushi per aquum maldives island resort aerial sunset shot professional photography paul reiffer landscape commercial parasail 1

What an amazing view! I’ve seen many sunsets during my time shooting in the Maldives, but never have I seen it in context of the entire island of Huvafen Fushi from above…

Granted, my title is a little wrong – by definition a “drone” is “an unmanned aircraft or ship that can navigate autonomously, without human control or beyond line of sight”. But then, bearing that definition in mind, none of the so-called drones out there for sale to the public for the purposes of capturing photo and video are strictly within the rules either 😉

So in this day and age (and given I have some DJI Phantoms sitting around too) – why bother to go up strapped to a parachute on a line from the back of a boat? Well, two reasons…

parasail paul reiffer aerial photography professional luxury resorts huvafen fushi maldives per aquum above sky behind the scenes bts nikon

First, I can capture images “up there” that are still not quite possible from a quadcopter/drone/[whatever you want to call it]. Technology has come on a long way in the past few years, and people like DJI really have pushed the boundaries when it comes to consumer as well as professional aircraft – but there’s still something missing. You see, on the currently available kit, you have two choices: 1) An in-built or small camera (max 12MP) which will allow you to live-preview what it sees as it flies or 2) A monster of a drone that can carry a full DSLR kit up there, but with no live preview or feedback.

The small cameras struggle with filters and resolution, the large cameras can be a little like shooting in the dark (from what I’ve seen of the professional video crews using them so far). So, if I wanted to shoot sunset at a decent resolution and get it right, this seemed like a better option.

from above parasail paul reiffer aerial photography professional luxury resorts huvafen fushi maldives per aquum island sky behind the scenes bts nikon

The second reason – it’s nice up there! Yes, there’s a speedboat moving beneath you (but you don’t hear that). It’s really calm, peaceful, and you’re alone with your own thoughts, high up above the Indian Ocean. I can tell you now, while it’s not the easiest thing to manoeuvre your arms into the “right spot” for the shot, and there’s certainly no way of doing any long exposures(!), it was a lot more relaxed than skydiving and a fantastic way to end the day.

Getting up there with my Phase One gear might have been a bit of a struggle, but my “little” Nikon mirror-less with a compact system filter kit on the front did the job just fine. (And I didn’t drop it in the end, as an added bonus!)

So did I get the shot I wanted? Well, I only wanted one – and I ended up with about 20 that could easily sit on my desktop as a reminder of what paradise looks like in the Maldives!

huvafen fushi per aquum maldives island resort aerial sunset shot professional photography paul reiffer landscape commercial parasail 2

Does that mean I won’t shoot with a drone in future? Of course not – and I have a new one on the way shortly too… 😉

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California Workshop – Bonsai Rock & Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe

lake tahoe gateway paul reiffer california professional photographer phase one medium format landscape sunrise emerald bay water sky reflection

Welcome to the crystal clear blue waters of Lake Tahoe, spanning across the state lines of California and Nevada on the West Coast of the USA.

Taken at sunrise, the shot above was the result of quite a bit of waiting, anticipation, depression (as the clouds looked like ruining the morning) and a severe lack of sleep! As part of the workshop I was running across California, Mark and Martyn came along to the lookout point over the Tea house on one of Lake Tahoe’s most stunning vistas – Emerald Bay.

gateway emerald bay lake tahoe south california view vista landscape wide angle forest national state tea house island reflections sunrise clouds paul reiffer phase one behind the scenes bts

Not wanting to push our luck too much from the night before (explained below!), while disappointed by the thick layer of cloud to the East on arrival, we were all determined to get the best shot possible given the circumstances. At 5:00am, it genuinely is freezing up there, despite it being the end of May, and the lure of the warmth coming from the car was almost too much to ignore as we waited for the sky to change and sun to make an appearance. In the end, the sun did actually “pop through” the clouds on the horizon, but by that point the soft light had gone – never mind, I’d been lucky enough to get the shot I wanted (top) a few minutes before – “Gateway” is now available to purchase as a limited edition print too!

So, what of the night before?

rain storm photographing shooting bonsai rock lake tahoe location iphone behind the scenes bts what i see right now phase one camera paul reiffer

Well, having driven for 5 hours to get to our sunset location, looking out of the sunroof to see permanent rain was not on my list of high-points for the trip. But, I had a feeling… We waited it out – cloud was shifting (and fast), and towards the West there were bigger and bigger clearings to be seen.

Bonsai Rock, at Incline Village on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe, is not actually a rock with bonsai trees – they’re just trees that are slightly stunted in growth (due to their location) and as a result of their distance from the land, simply look like bonsais. That said, it’s still an iconic shot, and a location I’d never visited to try to capture.

The gamble paid off. After 25 minutes in the car, the skies gave a hint of backing off, and the rain slowed. We started the trek down to the shore (remembering that when shooting sunset, that means hiking back in the dark!) and set up. The place itself is a lot smaller than I imagined, but hey – it was exactly the view I wanted…

photographing shooting bonsai rock lake tahoe location iphone behind the scenes bts what i see right now phase one camera paul reiffer

Clicking away, I loaded filter after filter to capture the fantastic moving textures in the sky – as well as soften the water. Even in May, this is snowmelt in the lake, and it’s a pond full of freezing cold fresh water that shows blue on any shot; wonderful.

A few 15, 30 and 60 second exposures later, with my tripod perched precariously on the smooth surface of a load of round rocks, I had the shot I wanted. In a weird way, it’s also quite unique – many other shots of the same location show a lot less rocks, mainly because Lake Tahoe itself is normally a lot deeper. This year’s lack of snow and rain means we got to see more of the lake bed exposed than normal – and a rather different shot than many I’ve seen before :-)

bonsai rock lake tahoe trees incline village nevada california city water sunset clouds landscape professional photographer paul reiffer usa discover

Mark and Martyn had similar successes at the same location – and it’s one that (while I’m happy with the shot I now have) I’ll probably be revisiting in the not-too-distant future 😉

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Top 10 Tips on How to Take the Best Vacation Travel Photos

It’s vacation season! (Well, “holiday” season when you grew up in my part of the world, but let’s not split hairs… 😉 )

And it seems my “Top 10 tips” have made it into a few publications, including today’s update on ShutterBug. With that in mind, I figured it would probably be a good idea to put a copy of them up on my own site too, so – here goes…! 😉

1. Don’t Let the Camera Restrict What You Do

Remember: you’re on vacation! Don’t make the mistake of spending all your time trying to capture memories that you’re actually missing with your own eyes.

From an equipment perspective, also consider which camera is most suited to your type of vacation. If travelling around to experience the culture of a place, maybe taking the biggest SLR camera you can find with five huge lenses isn’t the best idea. If I’m on “a real vacation” instead of a photo trip, quite often I’ll simply take my iPhone or compact camera; nothing which has an interchangeable lens. Storage space and battery life are two of the most common problems people encounter when snapping away, so make sure you have a spare battery or external charger, as well as enough storage space before you go.

01 Dont Let Camera Restrict Top Tips Paul Reiffer Photographer Professional Landscape Travel City Vacation Photographs Best holiday

2. Get Out of “Auto” Mode02 out of auto Top Tips Paul Reiffer Photographer Professional Landscape Travel City Vacation Photographs Best

Sure, cameras have some amazing tricks these days and are great at capturing an image, which is technically correct for that scene. But often the most interesting images can be found when we break the rules the camera’s “auto” setting is bound by.

Try using the “shutter” mode to experiment with longer exposures and motion as well as shorter exposures to freeze action. Give the “Aperture” mode a go to play with depth of field, leaving the background of a shot out of focus while the foreground remains sharp is a great way of targeting what you wanted the viewer to really concentrate on.

3. Night Photography is Fun! 

Get in amongst the action, whether it’s people playing games outside in the evening or the busy streets of a huge city, a long exposure can capture the buzz and energy that helps make the photograph feel like you’re still there. Using apps like Slow Shutter on a smartphone, or the long-exposure mode of your camera, along with a tripod, you can get some very different shots that will be far more interesting than what you’d get just leaving it on “auto”!

03 night photography Top Tips Paul Reiffer Photographer Professional Landscape Travel City Vacation Photographs Best holiday

4. Get Involved in the Action: Don’t Just Stand There! 04 get involved Top Tips Paul Reiffer Photographer Professional Landscape Travel City Vacation Photographs Best holiday

If you look for that interesting angle, you’ll likely find it by getting down low and shooting up, or getting closer in to the scene. Zoom lenses mean we’ve become a little lazy when composing an image, but there is a big difference in an image that is taken up-close compared to one taken from far away by simply zooming in. Try it: you’ll see how the two images differ. Quite often I find myself on the floor taking photos, the angles you can get are different from the other 1,000 people stood around me taking shots all at 5-6-foot high, as they stand and click.

5. Step Away from the Selfie Stick!

It was bad enough seeing every single photograph with an extended arm in it, but even worse now we see those horrible “selfie sticks” in the bottom of the frame! A few selfies can be fun, but they can get a little boring if every shot is the same. Try to be more creative with the way you capture yourself. The reflection in some sunglasses, building windows with you and the location in, or even car mirrors (as a passenger!) as you’re driving down an amazing coastal highway can all deliver shots which are more unique than the standard arms-length pout that has become the norm for many.

05 anti selfie Top Tips Paul Reiffer Photographer Professional Landscape Travel City Vacation Photographs Best holidays

6. The Best Camera Doesn’t Necessarily Mean the Best Pictures

It really is true that “the best camera in the world is the one you have with you” – whether that’s a smart phone or a big “large format” system, it doesn’t matter – the camera is simply there to record a moment in time. A lot of people invest in some amazing gear but never get to use it to its full potential; whatever gear you have, it can take amazing images, it’s just a case of using it in the best way. Take your camera out for a day or two to play with all the settings before you jump in the car or on a plane, you’ll find you enjoy capturing the memories a lot more when you know how best to use it.


7. Long Exposures Can Make Things Really Interesting

Even smart phones now have apps like Slow Shutter to allow for long exposure shots, and it’s worth investing in them or a camera capable of shooting for more than 2-3 seconds. At night, long exposures bring out details your eye may not even be able to see as well as cool “traffic trails” if you’re shooting in a city. In the day, it’s how you can capture clouds moving or motion in a scene. Just bear in mind you’ll need something steady to hold the camera on for these (some great flexible mini tripods are out there now) and if you plan to shoot long exposures in the daytime, you may want to look into a “neutral density” filter to allow you to keep the shutter open for longer.

07 Long Exposures Top Tips Paul Reiffer Photographer Professional Landscape Travel City Vacation Photographs Best

8) Take Photos of the Smaller Details of Your Trip

Small details help to tell the story when you’re looking back at your time somewhere. Quite often we’re so worried about getting the whole scene in, we forget that it’s the smaller things that can also capture the culture and feel of a place. Snap shots of the fruit at the farmers market, the fishing nets on a boat, a local character who you remember fondly in a city, or some of the local wildlife, they all make for interesting memories when you flick through later. Just remember that if you intend to take photos of local people and their culture, you must respect the local customs in regards to public photography, and ask for permission beforehand.

08 Smaller Details Top Tips Paul Reiffer Photographer Professional Landscape Travel City Vacation Photographs Best

09 Get Up High Top Tips Paul Reiffer Photographer Professional Landscape Travel City Vacation Photographs Best

9. Get Up High! 

Lots of hotels offer high rooms with views for a small supplement and many also have roof terraces which have some of the best views over a location. If you’re taking professional gear along, it’s always best to check with the staff before “setting up” on their balcony, but generally they’ll accommodate you as long as it’s only for personal use. Be careful shooting through glass though; you’ll often need something dark to cover the area around the camera in order to prevent reflections – a problem that lots of tower observatories have! Shooting at night through your hotel room window? You’ll need a tripod, and to sit in complete darkness in your room in order to avoid all the reflections in your shot.

10) Make Use of Soft Light

You’ll hear photographers refer to the “blue hour” and “golden hour”: these are the times an hour either side of sunrise and sunset when the light is softer and more flattering, but also the time when some of the finer details of a view can become more defined. Be warned, this can take a bit of planning in order to get into the right spot for “that shot” and will undoubtedly mean early starts for the morning light. But you can always spend the middle of the day visiting museums, galleries or of course go shopping! Just remember to leave some energy for the sunsets too!


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WPP Brandz Top 100 Global Brands – Tiny Planets

It’s that time of year again – the “WPP Brandz Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands” has just been released for 2015, and this year (their 10th anniversary) it features a subset of my Tiny Planets series.

wpp brandz top 100 paul reiffer tiny planets professional photography brand book world 2015 1

Contained within the 100-page publication, there’s analysis on every section of the world, along with insight into which brands are making headlines and commanding huge value.

wpp brandz top 100 paul reiffer tiny planets professional photography brand book world 2015 2

In between each section, you’ll find an introduction featuring a subset of my cityscapes re-formed as Tiny Planets, and re-worked to be as up to date as possible. When you’re including places like Shanghai, the photo really does need to be from within the past month or it’s an old skyline!

wpp brandz top 100 paul reiffer tiny planets professional photography brand book world 2015 3

Each major geography is covered, with insight into the sheer scale of some of these operations. With single and double-page spreads, there’s a lot of photography contained within, alongside a huge amount of analysis and insight :-)

wpp brandz top 100 paul reiffer tiny planets professional photography brand book world 2015 4

And to do it? Well, the “app” versions of the Tiny Planets simply aren’t up to scaling and printing at a decent resolution so every single one of my cityscapes were modified by hand to create a seamless “world” to present each location. Oh, and quite a few of them are brand new too 😉

tiny planets shanghai paul reiffer photographer wpp landscapes professional publication

We have Shanghai’s crazy ever-changing skyline over the bund, now featuring the Shanghai Tower, completed this year.

tiny planets new york paul reiffer photographer wpp landscapes professional publication

From New York, the now-completed Freedom Tower now features as the star of the show when photographing the financial district downtown.

tiny planets dubai paul reiffer photographer wpp landscapes professional publication

Along with Tokyo, Dubai’s series now features its most iconic tower – the Burj Khalifa – which actually creates a problem when forming a globe: It’s so much bigger than everything else, it actually throws the “planet” off-center!

Keep an eye out for more Tiny Planet work, and for those interested in which brands really are the most valuable right now, you could do worse than checking out the WPP Brandz guide yourself… 😉

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Beijing Revisited – The Forbidden City of China

My first visit to Beijing was a bit of a mixed bag – on the one hand, it would have been “rude not to” visit the capital city, given I’ve been living so close in Shanghai. On the other, it didn’t really impress me as much as I’d expected. Given the effort it took in order to get there, I also wasn’t keen to repeat the visit. However, a random “empty weekend” and a chat with ST lead to us booking a trip back up north to shoot both the city as well as the Great Wall of China.

Beijing Forbidden City Temple Sunrise Morning Long Exposure Professional Photographer Paul Reiffer Landscape Cityscape Blue Water Sky Clouds Pink Red

Am I glad I went? Sure – this time, we were a lot more prepared 😉

As always with a new city, the first time is always an exploration. The cheating and corrupt tour guides, combined with the fact that the Chinese government still seem intent on blocking access to any form of public information such as “google images”, meant it was tough to land and take great shots the last time I was there. This time, we were ready – with locations, timing and our own hire car!

china crc high speed trains business class first class difference shanghai beijing g

On a positive, Chinese high-speed rail really can be fantastic. Flat beds, power points and 350km/h train speeds mean you arrive in Beijing from Shanghai a lot faster than it would take in total on the equivalent plane journey. Another benefit? The trains are always on time – planes here never are…! On a downside, the food is still not far from something has been trawled from the gutter, but hey – at least it was comfortable for the price of US$600 return 😉

china world summit wing beijing tallest building photography behind the scenes bts paul reiffer iphone phase one

Landing, we got straight to work. The guys at the China World Summit Wing had been especially helpful and accommodating – and while disappointed by the sunset from the roof of the highest building in Beijing, we were treated to an amazing cityscape down below. Beijing’s traffic problems were also laid out before us – with stationary cars still visible even after a 1 or 2 minute exposure!

china world summit wing tallest highest building beijing capital city china road intersection cityscape night paul reiffer professional landscape photographer

It’s weird to think that we were perched on the very edge of the tallest building in the city when you look up at it from below. We were literally looking straight down over the cars beneath us, with the wind pulsing up from the sides of the skyscraper, but what a fantastic light-show we were treated to as a result. Checking out some of the other rooftops, it was clear to see why we got such a good view – this building really does tower over everything else on the skyline, including the stunning CCTV building as seen on the right of this shot:

beijing city skyline park hyatt china summit wing night cityscape paul reiffer china

Now for those who think photography such as mine is always fun and exotic, I can guarantee it’s not…! After a night spent scouting other rooftops (finishing at midnight), we were back up and awake at 3:20am getting ready for the drive to Mutianyu Great Wall.

up early building access beijing paul reiffer professional cityscape photographer landscape behind the scenes

This is the same section of the wall that I visited last time, but I wasn’t 100% happy with the photograph I got at sunrise. Getting to the base around an hour before sunrise gave us time to hike up to the wall before any tourists arrived (and sadly, before the cable car started!), meaning a completely empty scene. The sky was clear, sun in the right place, and luckily, we got the shot I wanted :-)

Great Wall Of China Sunrise Beijing Mutianyu stone old ancient paul reiffer professional fine art landscape photographer

The warm tones, detail in the far mountains and texture on the wall itself were exactly what I had in mind. The wall stations going on for miles and miles in the distance were just what I was hoping for as a silhouette against the rising sun, and the lack of people was the final tick in the box. Unlike my last visit, there was no ice on the ground, but it was still bitterly cold (especially before sunrise!) – so a warning to others, make sure you wrap up warm!

After a short while exploring other angles (of which I captured many), it was time to head back via the “quaint little village” at the bottom (read: tourist tat and subway take-out!) before our drive back to Beijing. The city itself seemed a lot more “chilled out” than my first time there – maybe because I’m now a lot more familiar with China as a whole – but it was actually nice to sit at a restaurant overlooking the Forbidden City for lunch while preparing for sunrise (the top shot) over the 180 acre site itself.

bts great wall of china behind the scenes forbidden city beijing city long exposure professional landscape cityscape morning sunrise photographer paul reiffer

So that was it – The Great Wall of China, Forbidden City and a Beijing Cityscape! On my checklist of a successful trip this time, I’d ticked the boxes…

But then, I’m not one to give up on one last night – so back to the high-rise shots over the city. The saddest part of my trip? Realising that Beijing is actually surrounded by a fantastic mountain range! In both visits, as well as every time I’d ever seen the place on TV, it’s been so polluted that you can’t see beyond a few blocks. The last night there, we were treated to an amazing amount of visibility, and a clear sunset – priceless!

Sunset Beijing City Capital radio central tv tower downtown mountains forbidden city paul reiffer

Not wanting to waste it, of course it would have been rude not to wait until the city lights came to life later in the evening, but wow – for a brief moment in time, Beijing actually looked nice!

Beijing night cityscape forbidden city Tiananmen square central radio tv tower capital city china paul reiffer professional cityscape landscape photographer

I have to say, photographically, this time in Beijing I was more impressed. Having our own car means the corrupt taxi drivers didn’t get the better of us, and staying in an amazing hotel was a definite win – but I think this will be my last trip to Beijing itself. Interesting? Yes. Somewhere I want to spend a large amount of my life? No…. 😉

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Limited Edition Special Offer at Per Aquum Huvafen Fushi

Per Aquum Huvafen Fushi – A surreal Maldives luxury resort in the North Malé Atoll.

They call this place “a waking dream” – and having had the pleasure of shooting with these guys many times over the past couple of years, I can tell you it’s an accurate description! Not only is the island a hideaway of perfection in the middle of the Indian Ocean, but I can honestly say the guys there are some of the most friendly, attentive and caring hospitality professionals I’ve ever met.

Many of you comment on my Facebook page that you “wish you could be there” when I share shots from the island – well now you can!

For a limited time, I’m collaborating with Per Aquum Huvafen Fushi to bring you an exclusive offer – and I hope that some of you get to enjoy this place as much as I do :-)

huvafen wish special offer 20 percent discount upgrade room limited edition exclusive print paul reiffer per aquum


Immerse yourself in a uniquely luxurious escape of irresistible moments. Options for a complimentary upgrade (excluding pavilions) and wake to a lavish daily breakfast. The Signature Escape offers a daily cocktail at sunset and as many award winning Lime Spa treatments with a 20% discount throughout your entire stay. On your return from the island, you’ll receive an exclusive large-format limited edition print signed by award-winning photographer Paul Reiffer. With a minimum 2 nights stay, you can linger longer with a late checkout until late afternoon.

Offer includes:

  • Daily breakfast
  • Signature daily cocktail per person per day at sunset
  • Upgrade to the next room category, subject to availability upon arrival, excluding pavilions
  • Late checkout until 16:00, subject to availability
  • 20% spa treatment discount for all treatments at the world’s first spa with underwater treatment rooms
  • Huvafen Fushi exclusive signed hero shot – a special limited edition 24″ x 18″ fine art print by award winning photographer Paul Reiffer, delivered to your home on your return and only available to Per Aquum guests (limited to 50)

* Valid from now until 31st December 2015
** Rates start from USD 1155 per room per night
*** Terms and Conditions – applicable as stated on

To book – simply click to and select “Huvafen Fushi Signature Escapes” as your rate type when you select your room (remembering you’ll be upgraded to the next available type!) and they’ll do the rest :-)

 huvafen 3 shot jetty salt pool sunset blue sky water raw deck

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California Workshop & Phase One Instagram Takeover

It’s been a crazy and exciting month, May 2015 – for many reasons, and most of which are the excuse for not updating my blog often enough (sorry!).
Still to come, I have images to upload from Tokyo, Beijing, the Great Wall of China, Dubai, Maldives and much more. For the next few weeks, however, I’m going to focus on my California road-trip photography workshop as well as the most recent Instagram takeover I did for Phase One :-)

header image death valley phase one instagram takeover paul reiffer photographer california road trip iq250 iq280 nevada bts

This workshop was the first in a series I’m now going to offer across the different landscapes of the world. Later this year, we’ll be focusing on the UK but planning in for New York in the autumn as well as New Zealand and Asia next year.

paul reiffer photography workshop death valley california road trip 2015 desert nevada floor teaching sunset course badwater basin

The plan changed a little after discussing with Phase One, who were kind enough to lend out some new gear for the month as we travelled around the wilderness of Nevada and California. My iQ280 system would be put up against the latest release – an iQ250 full kit, with two Canon-shooting “students”, Mark and Martyn, learning how to get the most out of this incredible piece of medium format equipment.

california nevada desert road trip behind the scenes bts paul reiffer photographer phase one proimaging takeover 1

Now, first thing’s first – spending 2,500 miles and 2 weeks travelling with a small group means it needs to be FUN. And I think we hit that balance… 😉
Yes, we did the crazy 22-hour shooting days every now and then, as well as some serious treks and hikes in all weather to get to the right spot; but starting in Las Vegas on my birthday meant my first morning was spent eating chocolate cake from an ironing board with a hangover from hell, following an all-night celebration after 20 hours of travelling. (Luckily, the guys arrived a day later!)

weather california nevada desert road trip behind the scenes bts paul reiffer photographer phase one proimaging takeover 2

This trip was one filled with crazy weather too. Death Valley was cold! Mono Lake had serious storms brewing above. It was still snowing in Bodie, and Lake Tahoe was snowless and about 2ft down on its normal water level. Given all of that, we had our challenges while shooting, but hey – that’s the idea, right? Unique shots don’t come out of nowhere…!

camera setups iq280 mono lake san francisco california nevada desert road trip behind the scenes bts paul reiffer photographer phase one proimaging takeover 3

So, over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting a behind-the-scenes rundown of each of the main shoots: Las Vegas, Death Valley, Mono Lake, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe and San Francisco. The whole time we were out travelling, I had also been uploading images onto Phase One’s instagram feed as part of my second takeover. So, for those who missed it, here’s a quick preview… :-)

phase one instagram takeover paul reiffer photographer california road trip iq250 iq280 nevada bts

And how did we do on this takeover? Well, according to the Phase One guys, not too bad at all it seems.

  • Of their top 5 images, 4 are now mine.
  • Of their top 10 images, 6 are now mine.
  • Of their top 20 images, 10 are now mine.
  • And their most popular “behind the scenes” camera setup shot? Turns out that’s mine too now!

Not bad for images uploaded from the middle of the desert as we made our way around the West Coast of the USA – and I have to say, the guys got some amazing shots too (on both the Phase One iQ250 as well as their own Canon equipment). I’ll share the outputs from the workshop as I upload each chunk, but I think you’re going to like what you see…! 😉

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Searching for Models – to shoot in the Maldives!

maldives casting models april 2015 campaign

That’s right – we’re looking for models to shoot a set of brand images in the Maldives next month :-)

We’re shooting in two of the most luxurious Maldivian resorts in April, and are looking for two faces that can represent each of the properties. Sadly, we’re on a bit of a tight timescale, but for those interested in expanding their book and/or adding a campaign to their portfolio, this is a great opportunity. If you think you have what it takes, read on to find out what we need, and what you’ll get in return…


1 x Male model

  • Commercial look (not too fashion specific, and not overly “built”)
  • Height 5’9-6’2 (175cm-188cm)
  • Weight in proportion, but generally fit
  • Clean face, clear skin, no tattoos
  • 25-35 years old
  • Agency standard, with prior experience

1 x Female model

  • Commercial/swimwear model look
  • Height 5’7-6’0 (170cm-183cm)
  • Weight in proportion, but generally fit
  • Clear skin, no tattoos
  • 25-35 years old
  • Agency standard, with prior experience

We are not looking for any specific ethnicity in either model at this point, as we will be pairing the two models together so the images work as a series.


You need to be available from April 18th until April 26th 2015.

We will be shooting at two of the top resorts in the Maldives, travelling between both locations

The Deal:

In return for your time, you will receive:

  • Return round-trip flights (commercial flight to Malé, then seaplane to one of the resorts)
  • All-expenses paid stay at the shoot locations (two of the top resorts in the Maldives)
  • 2 days of brand image shooting
  • Your choice of:
    • up to an extra 5 days added on to the trip, on a full board basis – or –
    • a future credit for a 4 day stay at either resort in the future, on a full board basis.

How to Apply:

Think you have what it takes? Drop us a line with the following info:

  • Full Name
  • Nationality (for travel purposes)
  • Current Location (for flights)
  • 2 x unedited, current, photographs of yourself
  • 2-3 edited examples of previous work
  • Key statistics – height/weight/clothing sizes
  • Phone number and email address to contact you

Send it all to and if you have the right look, we’ll get back to you soon!

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Daily Mail Feature – Cityscapes at Night

It’s every photographer’s nightmare: “That email” from somebody telling you they’ve seen your work published in a place you didn’t know about. Usually this results in a sunken heart, some stern letters and frustration that yet another person has taken your work without permission.

So, when I clicked the message from Joey yesterday, it was not only a huge relief – but also a pleasant surprise. It seems an agency I’ve been working with has managed to spread the word to the point where British national newspaper The Daily Mail have published a feature on my cityscapes – and I knew nothing about it at the time! (So, thanks Joey! :-) )

daily mail feature paul reiffer landscape cityscape photographer 2015 city skyline online dailymail professional uk British newspaper

Now there are a couple of small issues with the article (as you’ll see from the comments associated with the article):

  1. The image they’ve captioned as the Golden Gate Bridge is in fact the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge (!) and
  2. While referring to the helicopter shoots I sometimes perform, they’ve not actually included any images shot from the air… (ooops!)

heli shoot new york helicopter manhattan skyline paul reiffer professional photographer landscape city

That said, and putting those observations aside, it’s cool to see the images being shared by so many people and enjoyed by (I guess) the majority. Of course, you can’t put any picture online these days without the standard cries of “Photoshop!” going on – and this is no exception; thankfully I always take the accompanying iPhone shot beforehand, so I can rest with my integrity intact despite a few of the claims by some readers…!

So, all cool – and here’s to more images being put out there soon for people to enjoy :-)

Posted in Advertising, Cityscape, Equipment, Industry, Landscape, Magazines, Technical, Website Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Burj Khalifa – The Jewel in the Crown of Dubai, City of Gold

dubai burj khalifa road intersection freeway UAE night cityscape skyline skyscrapers downtown city of gold image copyright paul reiffer no reproduction permitted

It doesn’t matter how many rooftops I’ve photographed from, whenever I’m in a new city I always get that “wow” moment when I look across the skyline for the first time – and this was no exception. From the top of a building (which was, in fairness, extremely tall in its own right!), I set up on the ledge and started clicking. Sadly, jpeg compression doesn’t do this image enough justice on-screen, but the tones of the sky and detail in the buildings on the high-res image really are better than I could have hoped for when I looked at the back of the camera.

On a trip that had been a “quick dash” across to Dubai to shoot some marketing images, I figured it would be a wasted opportunity to allow the cityscape view to pass me by. A few emails (and some very helpful hotel managers) later, and I was on top of my second rooftop looking out over the city.

iphone bts back of camera dubai 1

Dubai really is a unique place – the difference between the vast sand-dunes surrounding this tiny piece of urbanisation and the city itself with several of the world’s tallest buildings, along with countless 5, 6 and 7 star hotels is astonishing. With extravagance, opulence and riches all around you, it’s easy to understand how it received one of its better-known nicknames, “the city of gold”. Living in Shanghai, I get to see (and stand on) my fair share of tall buildings – at 632m, the Shanghai Tower isn’t to be laughed at – but the Burj Khalifa is simply huge. 828m “huge” to be exact.

iphone rooftop dubai bts 1

The night before, I’d been on the Jumeirah Beach side of the city hoping to get a more sweeping view of the skyline. I managed it (despite the disappointment that the amazing sunset reflections of the night before simply didn’t arrive this time), but there’s something rather “detached” from shots that are so far out. Sure, they show the scale of some of these buildings – along with the vastness of Downtown Dubai with its never-ending construction – but it’s missing the elements of movement, motion and action that a city is all about. The top shot is what Dubai feels like for me – not something distant, but a true urban jungle to be lived within.

dubai skyline jumeira beach rooftop burj khalifa UAE night cityscape skyline skyscrapers downtown city of gold image copyright paul reiffer no reproduction permitted

Despite that, I love the comparison this shot brings – the low neighbourhoods in the foreground, and the vast metropolis beyond. Ever expanding, constantly racing to be the biggest, the best, the most expensive, it’s easy to forget that Dubai is not a museum of architecture – to many, many, people it’s simply “home”.

While we’re on the subject of tall buildings, allow me to share a small annoyance of mine – the difference between “Architectural Top” and the “Top Floor”.

Call me a cynic, but in my mind, a building is impressive when the top floor is high up. So, let’s look at the Shanghai Tower: Its “Architectural Top” is 632m. The actual top floor? Nope, 557m. That’s 75m (12% extra) of ego extension for the architects and owners as far as I’m concerned. Yes, it houses plant machinery and structural bits, but I’m sorry, that still feels a little like cheating to me.

So, where am I going with this? Well, the Burj Khalifa – a genuinely amazing building to look at.

We know its “Architectural Top” is the highest in the world at 828m but what about its actual top floor? That’s actually only 584m up – a massive 244m (or 29%!) lower than the top of the building! And the observatory, where the public can access? That’s at 556m up – 272m lower than the stated building’s height and actually 1m lower than the highest accessible floor on the Shanghai Tower…

As I say, call me cynical, but to me when you construct a building that’s supposed to be the highest in the world, it really should be the highest building, not a skyscraper with 244m of antenna and useless space stuck on the top!

Still, it doesn’t stop it looking amazing from wherever you are in Dubai :-)

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