Case Study: SCP Creates a Catalogue of Professional Imagery for Hawke's Bay's Exquisite Mangapapa Hotel

Once the home of Sir James and Lady Wattie, the beautiful boutique Mangapapa hotel offers accommodation, a restaurant, day spa and event facilities. It operates all year round treating locals and visitors to the very finest that Hawke’s Bay has to offer.

Located just 5km from Havelock North, Mangapapa Hotel boasts twelve stunning high-end rooms, all unique in their own right. Their various sizes, location on the grounds and décor, guarantee there's a room for everyone to fall in love with. And it is exactly these sentiments that Simon from SCP Photography was contracted to capture in early 2019.

Photography for Digital & Print Marketing

At the height of the 2019 Hawke's Bay summer, Simon Cartwright Photography was contracted to shoot a raft of imagery destined for use across Mangapapa Hotel's marketing collateral.

Aerial imagery of the majestic and spacious complex was shot first using a drone. Then the hotel's accommodation interiors, grounds and staff were captured over three separate shoots in early March 2019.

To capture all aspects of the property in the best of the summer light, the shoots were scheduled to take place early in the afternoon. On all four occasions the weather turned it on with clear and sunny conditions, perfect for a summer look 'n feel.

"I've been following SCP's social media activity for a while and I'd met Simon at networking events. I was very impressed with the calibre of his photography and knew when the time came I'd want to use him for Mangapapa.”

Emily Atkinson, Accommodation Manager - Mangapapa Hotel

SCP Photography & Contractors

Art directed by Simon, the aerial images of Mangapapa and its surrounds were captured by an SCP contractor with extensive drone-flying-while-operating-camera experience and of course the all-important CAA certification*.

The three separate shoots of the accommodation, grounds and staff were captured by Simon himself. The key staff profile shots were done first, before moving on to the grounds and the interiors of six of the twelve boutique accommodation suites.

*When using a contractor for aerial photography, it's important to ensure all CAA rules are followed to ensure the safety of those on the ground and in the air. Therefore, SCP always uses contractors with current CAA certification for such tasks.

Managpapa Hotel and grounds - view looking towards Te Mata Peak

Aerial Photography for Business

In keeping with the majestic nature of Mangapapa, Simon wanted to ensure the aerial imagery captured the property in all its glory. This was achieved by briefing in the aerial photographer to include local landmarks, such as Te Mata Peak, in the backgrounds of the key imagery, thus helping position Mangapapa by identifying its close location to the Sleeping Giant.

Simon also suggested the best time of day given the sun’s position, and planned the various angles and heights to photograph the property to ensure the best images for the client.

"Establishing the brief was really easy even though it had to cover off a lot of areas. Simon visited a few times for reccis of the grounds, rooms and to speak to the staff. And we communicated back and forth until we had a really good mutual understanding of what was required."

Emily Atkinson, Accommodation Manager - Mangapapa Hotel

Hotel, Grounds & Staff Photography

The hotel's four key staff members were photographed in their natural environments while doing their day-to-day duties. For example, the manager was shot in a reception environment and the head chef in the kitchen. It was necessary for SCP to utilise portable studio lighting where needed to light the subjects also.

Simon next captured the hotel's grounds on a classic blue-sky-and-sunny Hawke's Bay day to depict the property as the majority of visitors will see it during not only the peak summer season but at any time of year.

Finally, interiors of six of the twelve boutique accommodation suites were captured. Working from room-to-room, Simon photographed each room from its best angle while also extra capturing features such as en-suite facilities and unique touches to décor.

"I've worked with other photographers in the past and the two words I'd say set Simon apart are flexibility and innovation. He was happy to make several visits to the hotel to make sure we got exactly what we needed to meet the agreed brief. And when it came to capturing internal shots of the accommodation, he shot from several creative angles to depict the uniqueness of Mangapapa's suites.”

Emily Atkinson, Accommodation Manager - Mangapapa Hotel

Mangapapa's Accommodation Manager, Emily Atkinson
Mangapapa's Maître d'

Flexibility & Sensitivity During Shoots

SCP always takes great care to make sure that photography at a client’s premises does not impact upon the running of the clients business wherever possible.

So for the Mangapapa shoots, it was paramount for Simon (and the aerial photographer) to be flexible and fit in with what the booked-in guests were doing on the property during shooting. This was necessary to ensure privacy and an absolute minimum of disruption to guests' stay.

Diligent preparation and good organisation on the day are essential to any successful shoot. So thankfully, Mangapapa's manager, Emily Atkinson, was on the job and played a fantastic role co-ordinating key staff members and preparing, and styling, the accommodation suites for shooting. Needless to say Emily's assistance contributed to some great final shots.

"Simon was really considerate when it came to shooting around guests and staff. He ensured none of the guests were unduly disturbed and put staff at ease so they were comfortable with having their photos taken.”

Emily Atkinson, Accommodation Manager - Mangapapa Hotel

Do you need top-notch imagery to depict the true essence of your business in your marketing? If so SCP would love to hear from you! Give Simon a call on 021 0824 6455 or shoot an email to

Technical Aspects

Camera gear used on this shoot:

  • Canon 5d mk3 camera

  • Canon 24-70mm f:/2.8 L series lens

  • Canon 20-200mm f:/2.8 L series lens

  • Canon 16-35mm f:/2.8 L series lens 


  • Two Godox AD600 portable strobes supported on Avenger C stands

  • Softbox lighting modifiers.