Cape Town has long been a favourite destination for advertising and catalogue shoots and more recently has seen more and more big budget film productions. So what is it about Cape Town that attracts so many international teams to travel across half the world even for just a few days shoot? Talking to top photographers and production companies, there are several advantages that they consider Cape Town has over other destinations.
Many summer catalogue shoots come for the white sand beaches, but there is a whole lot more in the way of landscape than just beautiful scenic beaches. Rugged mountains with unspoilt nature reserves offer a fine backdrop, both within the city on the slopes of Table Mountain or in the protective circles of mountains that surrounds the Cape Winelands. Then there are the lush wine estates themselves with historic buildings and graceful avenues; rolling wheatfields are golden in summer, green in winter; there are dry almost desert landscapes, intriguing sand dunes, mysterious forests and vast blue skies over everything. The city itself offers a whole range of architecture, from modern luxury villas, to old Victorian homes, the colourful streets of Bo Kaap to the urban vibe of the business district, market squares, ports with fishing boats, leisure marinas, the list is endless.
Plus you can use Cape Town as a convenient base for shoots that take in the rest of Southern Africa, for example the huge open spaces of Namibia, the dry expanses of the Kalahari or the watery wilderness of the Okavango Delta.
Cape Town has developed a strong network of support services for film and stills productions. Experienced crew, world class equipment hire, excellent post-production services and casting agencies with access to local and international models. Together with the expertise of Cape Town's best production companies all this means that international teams can travel lighter, reducing costs by sourcing as much as possible on the spot.
With rates of exchange remaining favourable to international teams from Europe and the US, both film and stills productions find they can get more for their budget in Cape Town. Support services are good value and there is a huge range of accommodation available, from the top-end luxury private villa to the comfortable mid-range hotel.
The light is all important in location shoots and this is another reason why Cape Town is so attractive to stills photographers. Clear blue skies, with brilliant light that brings a shot to life, are a feature throughout the summer months
Many photographers and clients return to Cape Town again and again, just because they love the relaxed but cosmopolitan vibe. It's a great place to work hard and then relax and have fun, with plenty going on, great food, friendly faces and gorgeous surroundings.