Go Villa Hopping With Photographer Olivier Dassance on a Private Island in Greece

Go Villa Hopping With Photographer Olivier Dassance on a Private Island in Greece

We’re headed to sunny Vourvourou, Greece for today’s Project of the Week with architectural photographer Olivier Dassance. Olivier hails from Basque Country, working in France and abroad. Olivier’s tales from this shoot are so interesting – being stuck on a boat in the bay, racing an oncoming storm, and the complexities of working with onsite staff.

Olivier kicks things off by setting the scene. He tells, “This shoot took place on a private island located in Vourvourou, in the eastern part of Greece. It involved capturing photos and aerial footage of four large villas spread across the island.”

He goes on, “This shoot was special to me for two main reasons: firstly, because it was my most extensive assignment yet; a four-day trip abroad, starting with the logistical challenges of transporting my equipment through multiple airports! The project involved huge preparation to maximise the daylight hours and ensure I was in the right location for the right light. This was coupled with the complexity and pressure of coordinating the onsite staff to ensure everything ran smoothly. A stark contrast to my usual, more quiet shoots with one designer only.

Secondly, the uniqueness of this project was amplified by its location with breathtaking landscapes and surrounding pristine beaches.”

Olivier’s compositions of the villas do a wonderful job of showing off their geometric forms. Strong leading lines guide us through the frames. Bold, sharp shapes stand out against the organic foliage. Repetitive forms move our eyes around the scenes and create a sense of movement.

“Upon my arrival, I quickly discovered that the roads connecting the villas were in poor condition, so boat travel between them was necessary, as each villa has its own private beach,” Olivier explains. “Initially, I took great care to securely pack my equipment, but there were several instances where I had to hurry, juggling my tripod and camera in one hand and my strobe light in the other. In a particularly memorable moment, we even ran out of gas in the middle of the bay, forcing me to drop anchor and wait for assistance with a mix of concern and amusement.”

I appreciate Olivier’s mix of perspectives for this shoot. One of my favorite shots is the following, where a tighter vignette of one of the villa’s pool and lounge area immerses us in the surrounding landscape. There is a sense of calm warmth here that places me right in the scene.

A tidy one-point perspective shot pulls our eyes through the frame, noticing the villa’s open air dining area, the patio and pool, and then flows to the ocean and mountains beyond. I love the bright highlight on the right-hand side of the frame, giving off a sense of heat and brightness that we would expect to find in real life.

“The connection to this project came about through a client in the real estate sector. He informed me that a friend of his had seen my portfolio and was looking for someone to shoot this project. We arranged a face-to-face meeting to go over the details of the shoot,” he tells.

“This assignment was a significant learning experience, elevating my skills beyond photography and drone footage alone. It honed my capabilities in client relations, organisation, and time planning. Essential aspects of managing a large, multi-day photoshoot. After some back and forth and iterations, the client was really pleased with the final results (around 80 shots and 4 videos),” Olivier goes on. That’s a lot of logistics, and he did an awesome job of managing things as evident by these beautiful photographs.

I asked Olivier to break down how he made one of his favorite photographs from this shoot. He notes, “One of my favourite images from this assignment was captured at a sea-view villa on a cliff’s edge, a location with all the best ingredients for great photography. However, as I prepared my gear, a member of the local staff warned, ‘Olivier, a storm is coming!’

This additional challenge reduced my photography and drone video shoot to a mere 2-3 hours. At first, it was a challenge to include the pool, villa and the sea view in one frame. After experimenting with my 2 tilt-shift lenses (19mm / 24mm) and with various angles and compositions, we opted for a frontal shot with the 24mm to maximise impact. The rest of the preparation was straightforward, involving scene rearrangement and bracketing several shots to capture the optimal lighting as the sun dipped lower. Additionally, the aerial video I filmed was one of the best I did so far.”

“I have a special thanks to Hellena, my local assistant, boat driver, and model on a few of the shots,” Olivier says. We’ll wrap up this POTW with a breathtaking view of the sunset from one of the villa’s lounge areas. How spectacular!

You can also check out Olivier’s video of the island and its villas here:

Many thanks to you Olivier for submitting this in to us!

See more of Olivier’s work at www.olivierdassance.com. You can also find him on Instagram @olivierdassancephotography.

If you have a project you’d like to be considered for Project of the Week, you can submit it here.

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