London-based creative retouching studio Saddington & Baynes has completed a series of stunning images for Volvo’s latest global advertising campaign. Designed to promote a series of special edition Volvos - the XC90, XC70, V70 and R-Design XC90 - the theme for the poster campaign is based around the famous Volvo Round the World yacht race, which sets sail on October 4.

The idea behind the campaign, devised by London advertising agency Nitro, was to bring the drama and atmosphere of the long-running Volvo Ocean Race to a powerful series of car shots created by top photographer Darran Rees.

Choosing the jaw-dropping Isle of Skye as the location had two benefits: first its stunning backdrop, but perhaps more importantly its unpredictable weather – the idea being that the expected bad weather in Skye would perfectly match the intensity, feel and look of the Volvo Ocean Race. But as senior art director at Nitro Marcos Quinn explains, the bad weather never materialised.

"Throughout the whole nine days’ shoot, we had glorious sunshine. So when I came to brief the retouching, I didn’t know quite what to expect or what could be achieved."

James Digby-Jones, creative partner at Saddington & Baynes, says that "when we were briefed on the job, we knew we’d be collaborating on a superb set of images. But when the bad weather didn’t come, we realised we’d have something great to get our teeth into."


James had many challenges to ensure the final images were perfectly photorealistic. From drastically altering the lighting and controlling the weather elements -- crafting leaden, stormy skies and lashing rain to replace the perfect blue backdrops in the original shots - to creating backgrounds out of many disparate parts and individual stylised colour grades for each image, James and the team were able to show what Photoshop can do in the right hands.

“It was a pleasure to work with Darran and the Nitro team to help sculpt complex multi-composition pictures into the final, beautifully-realised images,” said James.


Marcos adds: “The guys at Saddington & Baynes handled every aspect of the brief brilliantly. They helped change five very good images into five spectacular ones, creating a perfect sense of the stormy mood I wanted for the campaign. And when I presented the stills to Volvo, their reaction was superb.”

Photographer Darran Rees echoes his thoughts: "Given what I try to do with my work -- that is capture and create a feeling rather than make a photograph -- there are not too many people I can trust with this ethic. I know with Saddington & Baynes that the unspoken language that exists between us results in that initial vision not only being understood, refined and enhanced but also taken to a level of perfection that matches the mind’s eye. The final images are wonderful."