Shoot to Sell


Over the last eight years, I’ve been honored to shoot Bali’s top luxury properties. Here climate, craftsmanship and jet set indulgence collect in the perfect storm of architectural abandon. Walls are optional, as are handrails and a bath that precludes nude sunbathing.

These homes look and feel like heaven. But shooting them can be anything but. The challenge is to capture the essence of indoor-outdoor living. If you can saunter, unhindered, from a shady day bed to a sun-blasted pool patio, I insist that this be known in a single frame. Nevermind the 1000-fold gulf in light. Yes, one thousand-fold! Our eyes leap 10 stops without blinking. Our cameras (yes, even mine) can’t see more than five.

The solution? Add light. A lot if it. Enough to fill a car, and empty a bank account. In my case, a few times over! Yes, I thank the gods for the miracles of digital compositing. For some shots, I meticulously blend dozens of exposures into one. But compositing, alone, does not make for a compelling, realistic image. There simply is no substitute for big strobes on big stands, and the wherewithal to set them up. Click into our exterior and interior galleries and see for yourself.


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Property Portfolio

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Top 5 Reasons to Hire a Pro

#5. Because, sooner or later, you will. Too much of our work follows on the heels of non-specialist shooters — photographers who don’t know what shots sells villa nights. Our well-oiled team — including a stylist, a lighting wizard and a digital darkroom magician  — will do what it takes to make your property look its best. Save time and money by shooting once, and shooting right.

#4. Because a villa is not a hotel. Your property is unique — in a class of if its own. How do you communicate that? Your clients won’t be relying on corporate brand recognition, fueled by a multi-million dollar marketing campaign. They’ll be scrutinizing your image gallery long and hard before sending a deposit, sight unseen. What will it take to drive that conversion?

#3. Because you, too, are a professional. Professional photographs reveal more than “hardware” — a villa’s furniture and facilities. Top-notch images speak to quality, trustworthiness and attention to detail. And to the heart — to values that transcend money.

#2. Because your competition did.

#1. Because with great photos, your villa will sell itself.



“Djuna captured the mood and character of Villa Home perfectly. The shots bring to life the villa’s unique energy and our rental occupancy has gone through the roof since we loaded the shots to our web site.” — Emily, Villa Home

“Oh my God! Do you know how beautiful your pictures are?” — Wendy Wilcox, Karang Kembar Estate

“Djuna’s photos tread that fine line of showing a villa to its best advantage and being honest in the representation, giving a great idea of actually being there.” — Johan Mansur, The Istana

“The photos you took have withstood the test of time, and have been universally admired. They really captured the spirit of Khayangan Estate – Seventh Heaven. I was also personally very impressed by the efficient and professional way you worked, and got so much done in such a short time.” — Mark Saunders-Davies, Khayangan Estate

“No, Djuna, listen. Do you know how beautiful your pictures are?” — Wendy Wilcox, Karang Kembar Estate

“We worked with Djuna and her team on a new luxury villa shoot in Seminyak. The villa was a pure white colonial style residence and it was essential that amazing images were shot to add to the website and promotional literature. At the time this was no mean feat with the unpredictable weather of that season! Djuna was a consummate professional. Her team were almost invisible, ensuring set up was perfect and Djuna completed not only our shot list but angles I could have only dreamt about. We were so happy with the resulting shots and the client was delighted! I would not hesitate to work with Djuna and her team again, they make it all look so easy!” — Joanne McFarlane, ClearWhiteSpace Creative Marketing Solutions

“I’d never leave another photographer alone. They’d screw it up. Do you know how beautiful these pictures are??” — Wendy Wilcox, Karang Kembar Estate

“Djuna rocks! We love her work and can’t wait to have her come back to shoot our new villas as soon as they are done.” — Claude Graves, Managing Director, Nihiwatu Resort

“Djuna is our secret weapon.” — Ian Macauley, Co-founder, Elite Havens Group


Media Blast

Hot photos are media magnets. Purchase an editorial distribution license with your shoot, and make a splash with a custom-tailored media release. Then kick back and enjoy the buzz…

VillaPix Publications

  • Asian Geographic
  • Asia Villa Guide
  • Baccarat
  • Bali and Beyond
  • Bali Chic
  • Bali NOW!
  • Bali Style
  • The Beat
  • Best Hotels
  • Buongiorno
  • The Bud
  • Conde Nast Traveller
  • Cosmopolitan
  • Destinasian
  • Dream Weddings Bali Style
  • Elle
  • Entra
  • Expat Living
  • Finance Asia
  • Fine Villas and Restaurants
  • Garuda Magazine
  • Get Lost
  • Harper’s Bazaar
  • Hello Bali
  • I Know a Great Place
  • Inspire Travel & Leisure
  • International Propery Luxury Edition
  • International Herald Tribune
  • Islands
  • La Gazette de Bali
  • Luxury Properties
  • Mabuhay
  • Madame Figaro
  • Marie Claire
  • MICE in Asia
  • New York Times
  • r:Travel
  • Res
  • Robb Report
  • Tatler
  • The Long Run
  • TimeOut Hong Kong
  • Travel+Leisure
  • Trendhunter
  • Trends
  • Tropical Living
  • Villa & Yacht
  • Virgin Blue
  • Voyage
  • Wall Street Journal
  • The Yak


Entra does Bambu Indah

Browse a lovely layout in Entra magazine at — they said it best — the incomparable Bambu Indah.

Dian, Nelly and I spent four long days and nights shooting new suites at Bambu Indah, the eco-luxe retreat fashioned by Green School founders Cynthia and John Hardy. The property is a fantasyland of antique Javanese houses, surrounding a black bamboo Minangkabau palace, all perched over the verdant Sayan River gorge. Every house is unique — at each one it took us some time to discover the hidden windows and portals through which we could beam strobes. And while some are plenty spacious, others were clearly built for hobbits. Wedging into a corner with camera, legs and lights left me feeling like Alice, having eaten the wrong bit of cake.

Shooting during the full moon, it was hard to get any rest! By the time we’d finish dinner, a clean blue light would start beaming off the horned thatch roof at the Minang house. I had no choice but to stay up half the night, set the camera on long exposure, and paint the bamboo by Maglite…

This was our first shoot putting some homegrown LEDs to work, and boy, was I glad we did. Dian and I scrounged some 10- and 20-watt (i.e., honking!) LEDs from a lighting shop in Denpasar, and rigged them up via inverters and motorbike batteries. How fun it was to go “unplugged” with a lot of light in a little package, cool enough to hold in hand and gel any which way! And with the native temperature darn close to daylight, it was easy for us to bring out the blue and green patinas in some of the old Java houses. These would have been lost under incandescents.

Down below is a good example, lifted from a “bonus” slideshow at Entra. Yes, there’s a bonus slideshow! The added content at this e-mag is great! Extra photos and video content.. even the ads are cool, linked to take-it-or-leave-it digital brochures.

There’s several more spreads and slides to this story. Go see for yourself at It’s a candy store read, with drop-dead gorgeous layouts. I’m tickled to play a part in that, from a property that — they said it best — is “redefining home”.

Shooting the Shrimp House was also the first time I called up room service to order whale ribs! Just a few of the odd treasures strewn about the Bambu Indah estate… Propped against the left wall in the final shot, the big old bones played nice with a wooden paddle and traditional fish trap that accent the room.

And here it is — your exclusive behind-the-scenes look at fish-wrangling. Dian loves all things fish, and was happy to bait them with food and flashlights ’til well past midnight.

By the time we wrapped, it was well past my sweetie’s bedtime.

For more of the inside scoop on Entra magazine — people profiles and a sneak peak at what’s ahead — check the DesigninTell blog at VandM (Vintage and Modern) Design.

Then get yourself to the source at

And to a recharge at Bambu Indah.


Frijoles Carboneros (Burned Beans)

A Balinese holiday recipe to accompany the film “Sita Sings the Blues”


  • 1 copy Sita Sings the Blues (below)
  • 1 non-stick sauce pan (possibly 2)
  • 1 slosh olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 avalanche ground cumin
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 restaurant nearby, just in case


1. Cue up Sita Sings the Blues:

2. Note play time (1:21:32). This calls for a burrito, which starts with ‘b’, which stands for beans!

3. In non-stick pan, heat chopped garlic in olive oil until fragrant.

4. Dump in cumin. If you live in the tropics you may need to bang the bottle until it all — Whoops!

5. Heat and stir cumin-garlic paste until toasty fragrant.

6. Dump in beans. What beans?? This $3.50 can is mostly water!

Sita Sings the Blues movie poster7. Reduce beans (lowest heat recommended) while getting a head start on Sita Sings the Blues. We don’t have all day here!

8. Marvel at how filmmaker Nina Paley got my cat, Monster, to star in this movie. She’s a natural! No doubt about it, that’s Monster on the bedside table at 00:06:16 —

9. Oh shit!! The beans!!!

10. Remove beans from heat. Duck to avoid smoke.

11. Note that this was your last can of beans. And it did cost $3.50. Actually more like $4 on account of the devaluing dollar…

12. Recall that the restaurant nearby is closed, due to yet another Balinese commemoration of a great cosmic battle, a la Sita Sings the Blues.

13. Remove beans from pan. If you’ve been following directions, by now they should delaminate as a black, frisbee-like mass.

14. Flake off the blackest beans. Appease Monster by putting these in her bowl. (You will need to remove them later.)

15. Return beans to pan. Add water. While crunching up and reconstituting, consider the etymology of “refried beans”.

16. Reduce beans. Again, lowest heat recommended.

17. Do not, I repeat do not, hit play on Sita Sings the Blues!

18. Taste beans. Are they, , the best beans you’ve ever tasted in your life??

19. Take a picture. I ate my beans too fast and have no evidence for this so-called “photoblog”.

20. It is now safe to resume ‘play’ on Sita Sings the Blues. And to send the filmmaker some love.

Seriously, this film is hilarious, beautiful and highly distracting. And the music rocks.

Like any art depicting deities, it’s taking heat (figurately). My take from Bali is that Nina Paley hit religious anachronism on the head. While most Hindus here would confess some confusion around their pantheon, they’d never let that get in the way of a good story.

And nevermind those Indian accents. The narrators of this tale are Indonesian shadow puppets. Cue photo!

Wayang Kulit shadow puppet play

A Javanese dalang (ventriloquist puppeteer) pits an evil ogre against the noble hero Ardjuna (my namesake?). The contest was one of many trials in an all-night performance for refugees of an erupting volcano. Hours of antics, inspired by local, modern-day farce, climaxed at 4 am -- when Ardjuna received the divine power needed to return the Earth to order. This puppet show drew more viewers than the Soccer World Cup semi-finals televised next door. My bet is that local folk would mightily approve of 'Sita Sings the Blues'.

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Frijoles Carboneros (Burned Beans), © Djuna Ivereigh is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. Excerpts may be reproduced with credit for DjunaPix Indonesia Photography linked to href=”

Wallacea: Stepping Stones between Supercontinents

Bali as seen from Lombok

Bali as seen from Lombok

Brochure I produced for the 150th anniversary of Wallace's journey to Indonesia

If you think a journey from Bali to Lombok feels farther than it is, join the club. Back in 1856, a British naturalist made the same observation. His name was Alfred Russel Wallace, and the biological rift between these twin neighboring isles is now known as “Wallace’s Line”.

“In this Archipelago,” Wallace wrote home, “there are two distinct faunas rigidly circumscribed, which differ as much as those of South America and Africa, and more than those of Europe and North America: yet there is nothing on the map or on the face of the islands to mark their limits.”

Wallace discovered the Bali-Lombok division—along with more than a thousand new species and a working theory of evolution—by luck. It helped, of course, that he traversed some 14,000 miles through what is now Indonesia pinning and pickling, tagging and bagging some 125,660 specimens of natural history.

Wallace on chasing butterflies

Roughing it for eight years, Wallace might have been Asia’s first ecotourist. He settled comfortably into huts where we now bunk up at losmen. He hired indigenous guides, treating them with a respect nearly unheard of at the height of the British Empire. And he traveled by all means of local conveyance—cargo ships, dugout canoes, a Moluccan prahu and a treacherous but endearing Bugis schooner. The very unreliability of the transport offered him great serendipity:

“Having been unable to find a vessel to Macassar, I took passage to Lombok, where I was assured I should easily reach my destination. By this delay, which seemed at the time a misfortune, I was able to make some very interesting collections in Bali and Lombok, two islands which I should never have otherwise seen. I was thus enabled to determine the exact boundary between two of the primary zoological regions, the Oriental and the Australian.”

Endemic Seram Cockatoo

Endemic Seram Cockatoo

On Lombok, it was the cockatoos that first caught Wallace’s eye. “This is the most westerly point on the globe where any of the family are to be found,” he noted. He also spotted honey-suckers and Megapode mound-maker birds “here first met with on the traveler’s journey eastward.” Bali’s barbets, fruit-thrushes and woodpeckers, meanwhile, were nowhere to be seen. Nor were there any of the tigers or rhinos known from the western islands of the archipelago. Further years of observation led Wallace to sum up “…we shall find that all the islands from Celebes (Sulawesi) and Lombok eastward exhibit almost as close a resemblance to Australia and New Guinea as the Western Islands do to Asia.”

Tarsier - a primitive primate of Sulawesi

Indeed, there could be no stranger neighbors than Asia and Australia. As Wallace explained, “it is well known that the natural productions of Australia differ from those of Asia more than those of any of the four ancient quarters of the world differ from each other.” Wallace had no way to know how ancient these quarters were, or where they had all come from. But our modern understanding of continental drift suggests that Indonesia is in fact the reunion site of long-lost supercontinents.

It all started back in the Mesozoic era, some 150 million years ago, when Pangea, the mother of all supercontinents, split in two. Laurasia (today’s North America and Eurasia) headed north and Gondwanaland (South America, Africa, Antarctica and Australia) ventured south. Each took their own share of animals: dinosaurs, most notoriously, but also some newfangled creatures—early mammals, followed soon after by birds.

Marsupial cuscus, Seram Island

By the curtain call of the Mesozoic (65 million years ago), dinosaurs were down for the count and mammals had split into rival factions. Modern placental mammals had old-fashioned, pouch-bearing marsupials on the run. Up in Laurasia, where the placentals got their start, marsupials were squeezed out by 30 million BC, save for a few crafty possums. But down in Gondwanaland, the marsupials ruled the roost. Only a smattering of placentals had clambered aboard the drifting continent, now breaking up yet further. Placentals stood no chance in Antarctica when it froze solid 14 million years ago. And in South America the mammal wars got totally out of hand—placental sloths and armadillos grew as big as tanks to fend off pouch-bearing “wolves”, “bears” and “saber-toothed cats”. But even those marsupial beasts were doomed 3 million years ago when South America slammed back into North America and its armies of real bears, wolves and cats.

Komodo Dragon

This Komodo dragon would have looked wimpy next to a fossil cousin in Australia that measured twice his length.

Which left Australia as last the outpost for kangaroos, koalas and other keepers of the pouch. Modern mammals never made it that far—save one or two. So today, watching this old chunk of Gondwanaland inch closer to Laurasia is like witnessing alien worlds on a collision course. Strange creatures now intermingle along the stepping stone islands of Nusa Tenggara, Sulawesi and Maluku—a mixing zone known as Wallacea.

Lesser Bird of Paradise

Lesser Bird of Paradise, Papua

Three curious features distinguish Wallacea:

First, you find endemics—species living on one island and nowhere else on Earth. (Sulawesi boasts 88 unique birds and 82 unique mammals.)

Second, you find mad experiments in evolution. The babirusa, a primeval pig with tusks erupting through its nose, begs the question “Why?”

Third, you find an “island effect”: a trend for animals to be oddly big or small. No where is this more famous than on Flores and Komodo islands. There, fearsome lizards the size of “dragons” inspired the film King Kong. And just thousands of years ago, Flores was prowled by dog-sized rats, cow-sized elephants and people no taller than five-year-olds. Smaller, in fact, than Tolkien’s hobbits, which inspired the nickname for a new fossil human species discovered in 2003.

Wallace, himself, might have been shocked to find that 150 years after his passage, such startling discoveries await among the islands now bearing his name. At this rate, there must be plenty more on the horizon. [END]

Archaeologist Thomas Sutikna examines the Homo floresiensis skeleton that he and his team excavated from Flores in 2003

Archaeologist Thomas Sutikna examines the skeleton of Homo floresiensis that he and his team discovered on the island of Flores in 2003. What other "Lost Worlds" remain to be found in Wallacea?

Wallace on new discoveries

Wallace brochure

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Wallacea: Stepping Stones Between Supercontinents, © Djuna Ivereigh, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. Excerpts may be reproduced with a credit to DjunaPix Indonesia Photography, linked to