Abdulaziz Alsorayai

A burger bun photographed against a bright red background, taken on a Canon EOS R5 C by Canon Ambassador Abdulaziz Alsorayai.

Abdulaziz Alsorayai specialises in shooting mouthwatering imagery for food and drinks companies. He developed his distinctive style through photography, but now mostly uses video. Taken on a Canon EOS R5 C with a Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS R and a Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM (now succeeded by the Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM) lens at 1/50 sec, f/4.5 and ISO 100. © Abdulaziz Alsorayai

Abdulaziz Alsorayai might be a Canon Ambassador today, but when he was applying to Kuwait University more than a decade ago, photography was far from his mind. He'd just achieved top-notch grades at high school in Kuwait, where he was born and raised, and this meant he was in an enviable position when it came to choosing what he wanted to do. "I love math and numbers," he says. "I was going to be a petroleum engineer."

During his second year, though, in 2009, Abdulaziz met up with a friend who was studying graphic design. The course included a photography module and his friend was using a Canon EOS 5D, which Abdulaziz was able to try out for himself. A little lightbulb started to flicker inside him. "I said to myself, 'I could do something like this, if I had my own gear'," he recalls. "I was watching my friend, and I felt that I wanted to comment on his pictures. I had to say to myself, 'Aziz, no, you need to get your own camera, not comment on other people's photography.'"

Abdulaziz swiftly acquired a Canon EOS 450D of his own. Initially, his parents worried that the camera would distract him from his studies – and they were right to be concerned, because today, rather than working as a petroleum engineer, he is a successful commercial photographer and videographer, specialising in the food and beverage sector.

A headshot of Canon Ambassador Abdulaziz Alsorayai holding a Canon camera.
Location: Kuwait

Specialist areas: Commercial, food and beverage

Favourite kit: Canon EOS R5 C
Canon RF 35mm F1.8 MACRO IS STM
Canon RF 100mm F2.8L MACRO IS USMM
A still from Abdulaziz Alsorayai's showreel, showing a hand dabbing red gel onto an iced pastry.

After shifting his studies from engineering to political science, with a minor in media, Abdulaziz spent much of his spare time learning to take pictures. Since college, he has worked on shoots with a range of clients, in Kuwait and other countries across the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council), including national banks and large telecoms firms.

Initially, his focus was photography, but in 2015, Abdulaziz realised it was time to start learning videography. "I thought it would be hard to shift from one to the other – but in fact, I found it easy," he says. "Since then, I've been sharing my knowledge with other people who want to switch from photos to video."

You can see some examples of Abdulaziz's video work in his showreel, above.

A studio setup for photographing a dessert, with chocolate bars and a pudding positioned on a coloured backdrop. Taken on a Canon EOS R5 C by Canon Ambassador Abdulaziz Alsorayai.

Abdulaziz is passionate about sharing his videography skills with the next generation of content creators, posting regular tutorials and masterclasses on his social channel. Taken on a Canon EOS R5 C with a Canon RF 35mm F1.8 MACRO IS STM lens at 1/320 sec, f/1.8 and ISO 100. © Abdulaziz Alsorayai

A chocolate pudding drizzled with sauce alongside bars of chocolate, taken on a Canon EOS R5 C by Canon Ambassador Abdulaziz Alsorayai.

Abdulaziz loves to use all kinds of different lens filters, including specialist filters that can add a soft 'glowy' look to images and videos. In some cases, he reserves specific filters for individual clients in order to deliver them a unique and consistent look. Taken on a Canon EOS R5 C with a Canon RF 35mm F1.8 MACRO IS STM lens at 1/320 sec, f/1.8 and ISO 160. © Abdulaziz Alsorayai

Abdulaziz is a great believer in paying forward the skills he has learned. He has run workshops in Kuwait and the wider Gulf region teaching video-centric skills, from simple camera operation to understanding editing programs. He also worked as a head of creative for Kuwait's Ministry of Youth. "Now I'm not just a videographer," he says. "I'm a content creator and I'm a director. When people ask me how I see myself, I say that I'm like a joker card. In the field, you can use me however you want."

What is your process when you go into a commercial shoot for a new client?

"I first go to the location without a camera, to get a feeling for the place, the atmosphere. The first thing I check is the light. I use a phone app called Sun Surveyor – you can track the sun, where it comes from and when the best moments will be. It helps me to decide whether I'm going to use artificial light or sunlight. This makes it easier when I come to do a mood board for the client."

Would you say your images and videos have a particular visual style?

"People often say to me, 'You have a touch in your videos.' I don't know what it is – maybe it's editing, colour, or just the mood. Each client will have a different feel, a different approach, a different style. But every time, people say there is a touch of my work in there, and if they see a video I haven't mentioned that I did, they know I did it."

You have an interesting CV. Do you think this has given you a unique perspective?

"I'm glad I did all these things. I think politics has helped me when dealing with clients – how to be diplomatic, how to talk to them. Media has helped me think about the audience, what they need and what they like. And engineering helps me solve problems, to think outside the box and deal with different scenarios."

Is there a particular project or job of which you're most proud?

"I was director of a project for a bank in Kuwait. We filmed real people, loyal bank customers, and asked them just one question: 'If the bank were a person, how would you talk about them?' And people talked about the bank as a friend, as someone who had helped them. It was emotional, and tangible. That was a project very near to my heart."

One thing I know

Abdulaziz Alsorayai

"Don't forget any person who has taught you something, even if it's just how to fix a screw in your camera. And then, if any photographer or videographer ever asks you for something, share your knowledge. Sharing your knowledge, rather than keeping it for yourself, will help you improve your own passion. When I first started to reply to people's questions on social channels, they would be shocked: 'Oh, you replied to me!' And I would say, 'Yeah! Why not?' Because I have learned that kindness, politeness and willingness to help other people all make a lot of difference in the world of photography and videography."

Instagram: @alsry3

Abdulaziz Alsorayai's kitbag

The key kit that the pros use to take their photographs and videos

 Canon Ambassador Abdulaziz Alsorayai's kitbag containing Canon cameras, lenses and accessories


Canon EOS R5 C

A true hybrid shooter for the professional who needs to do a bit of everything. "The good thing about the EOS R5 C is that you have two operating systems in one camera – photography and videography," says Abdulaziz. "If I need to start taking photos, I can shift it with just one click."

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III

Abdulaziz likes to use lots of different lenses, so he also carries an EF-mount body. This capable workhorse excels in low light and features deep-learning autofocus that improves with use.


Canon RF 35mm F1.8 MACRO IS STM

A fast-aperture macro lens with Hybrid IS for wide-angle perspective and close focusing. "I use this for most of my projects," says Abdulaziz. "It not only has the range that I love, but the macro helps me a lot when I'm shooting food and looking for details in melting cheese or steaming coffee."

Canon RF 100mm f/2.8L MACRO IS USM

A professional RF macro lens for handheld 1.4x life size images and stunning portraits. "I like the Spherical Aberration Control ring," says Abdulaziz. "You can use it to adjust soft focus effects and to control the shape of the bokeh."

Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM

A wide-angle lens with a natural perspective and Image Stabilizer that's ideal for handheld photography. "The lens I love using most, for both cameras, is a 35mm," Abdulaziz explains.


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