product photography

Product Photography For World Record

A professional looking image is always necessary to get the attention of your target audience. Even more so, if it contains a message that really engages with the people who see your advertising. The slogan for the image below will be; “If you go with us, your season will bring you more than you could wish for.” Of course the guys from marketing will come up with a more elegant line, but the image tells you everything you need to know. Here is the breakdown. The counter weight is maxed out to the left and yet the little brass can sits firmly on the ground, for it is filled up over the top with seeds. That alone represents a very successful season. But for an outstanding season, one that breaks world records, it needs more. Lots more. Countless seeds pill up on the ground around the over flowing brass pot and more keep falling down in a never ending stream. A harvest one dreams of. That is excellent storytelling and an outstanding idea.

Product Photography For Agriculture, Food Photography


The image above is part of a campaign around the barley harvesting world records, that New Zealand farmer Warren Darling achieved earlier this year. A big day for his family and everyone involved. MCP photographed and captured the efforts that everyone delivered that day. Later on I also shot corresponding interviews as part of a promotional documentary. I’ll post about the video at a later time.

MCP - Industrial Photography For World Record, Manuel Czepok Photography, Christchurch, Wellington, Auckland


If you’re keen to read more, my blog post about Aerial Photography goes into the details of shooting the world records attempt. More information about the new world record can be found in this article of the World Record Academy. The Darlings are a great family, hard working and down to earth. It’s worth a read.

Contact me if you too are looking for an idea that stands out and tells the success story of your company.

Product Photography for Aroma Diffuser

Who doesn’t want to come home after a long day at work and relax on the couch while the living room smells just beautiful? Aroma candles, room diffusers or perfumed oils. The choice is yours. Manuel Czepok Photography (MCP) took on a product photo shoot that looks rather simple, doesn’t it? But in its simplicity lies the trick. I’ve been approached by this client to spice up their web-experience. They wanted action shots. They wanted it to be elegant and it had to be on a white background in order to match their cooperative style. As the image gives it away already, this is all about luxury and aesthetic. I couldn’t just throw in bursting flames and exploding wax to cover the action. So, communication is key in order to get on the same page with everyone involved. That pretty much goes for all projects but for this one especially, because the client wouldn’t be able to see the final image until everything comes together in post-production.

The first part of the trick was to understand what “action” means to the client. What do they like? After some talk and research I provided several mood mock-ups to explain the idea using pictures instead of words. A crucial step as the client had to understand where we are heading creatively and again, they wouldn’t be able to see the result of this product photoshoot till the very end. Which brings me to the second part of the trick. How to visualise aroma? One can smell it, taste it, but it’s generally invisible. This is where MCP’s experience with post production comes into play, to achieve truly original advertising photography. All elements in this photograph had to be shot separately for maximum control and quality. Those elements where then married together in post-production, giving me maximum flexibility to tweak all aspects to the clients expectation.

Knowing what is possible beyond traditional photography allowed me to tackle this project on a completely new creative level. This project is truly one that separates me from many other creatives.


Fashion Photography Strip

We all have days when we could use a second me, don’t we? STRIP was a personal project to see what is possible, when I’m in front of and behind the camera at the same time, multiple times. I’m not a quadruplet just to clarify. Everything can be done, if you can imagine it, but good planing wins half the battle. This trick is used to multiply the size of armies in big budget movies, but it can also be used to show a company in a more impressive manner. Show massive storages, office spaces or multiple very expensive items next to each other. Who doesn’t want to have a garage full of Lamborghinis?

Hands down. Often it is the way an advert is presented that gets it stuck in the peoples’ heads. They find the idea interesting enough to look at it a second time and read which company or product is connected to this advert. Now, find the five name giving letters in the picture!



Product Photography for Shoes

Shoes n’ Tie – I shot this project a few years ago. The breakdown shows the process from photography to retouching.

Why shoot on green-screen? Sometimes it’s easiest to give the client more freedom in post production. Sometimes the final decision on the background hasn’t been made while I have to start to shoot. Sometimes the requested material isn’t available and has to be added in post production. Shooting on green-screen can be a very effective way to keep the budget low and to assure the project doesn’t come to a hold. Of course one has to be very experienced to anticipate how the different elements will look together in the final image.

Car Photography OPC

Some ideas need a bit of magic to come alive. That can have several reasons. The idea might need expensive set builds or takes place in a very remote location that is hard to access with a full-blown crew and heavy gear. Perhaps sometimes it is simply not possible to produce in reality. That is when digital set extension comes into play. It explains like this – some parts of the image are created in front of an actual camera and others are created on the computer to enhance reality or achieve the impossible.

Corsa OPC Black


Digital set extensions can also save money. How many productions have a budget to hang up a car on the wall or to build a set to make it look like it’s hung up a wall?

Drive Up The Wall


It can go further of course. The images below have been entirely created on the computer. Going this way gives you great freedom to tweak things like angles, materials or backgrounds, even after the shoot. Those change request are definitely a lot more expensive with photography or film. Because, one would need to get all set elements, the subject and the crew back on location. There, they then have to match what has been done before.

Corsa OPC Orange

Industrial Photography for Wool

A story of wool (processing). This one started quite mysterious. I’ve been asked to show the factory but not make it look like a factory. It was also important that the photos look sharp. Sounds intriguing doesn’t it. Now here is what I got from this.

A) We’ve to tackle low light conditions. The client himself took photos beforehand and came across long exposure times and motion blur.

B) They want to focus on the process, rather than showing the whole facility. This assignment is about storytelling and actively hiding distracting elements.

It goes without saying that when a client brings her own camera, your photos must stand out in comparison. The machinery was impressive. There was plenty of interesting detail but only limited access to it. The last thing you want is that your lighting gear tangles up in the countless moving parts all around. Not to mention the damage and potential consequences when everything has to be shut down. As a professional I know the limitations under the given circumstances. I gave the client a rundown of the process before I started. It was important that they understand what I had to do to capture what was asked of me. That built up trust and a platform to communicate the process. In the end, I was allowed to move more freely than initially planed.



Exquisite Liquid Photography

This shoot was for a retailer who imports liquors for the upper class. We see Croizet Cognac, DQ Vodka and Arta Tequila. Naturally those brands have nothing to do with each other and that causes a few conflicts.
The DQ didn’t want to glow unless it was perfectly centred in front of the light and the Arta acted more like a prism that concentrates the light in hot pools rather than spreading it nicely in the bottle. At least the XO stood there cool as on one foot, basking itself in its own golden glow. Hooray for Cognac! Those three are the bright side. One the other side we have a Beau Joic Champagne. I thought a black bottle on black background would look pretty slick.

Both photos have something in common. The underground is the same acrylic sheet. Thanks to Fresnel reflections, I could perfectly control the colour of the ground with the colour of the background.

Did I say reflections? Oh yes, I did. Here’s a TIP. I’ll always shoot on a reflective material, unless I’m absolutely certain that there won’t be any reflections needed in the final image. It is much easier to remove or reduce reflections in post, as it is to paint them back in. This goes especially for complex items.



I did not taste any of ’em in case you wonder, if they are worth the extra coin. I’m sure they are. The Vodka has a silver tube in the centre. It is a cooling pipe that keeps the bottle chilled when you take it out of the fridge. Neat idea!

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