Let’s face it, we love cars. Well, I sure as hell do, so I assume that the entire world is like me and loves all things with cylinders.
Car and automobile photography can be a bit of a black art. Cars these days are lower, faster and have more glitter than a drag queen on a bender.
Hopefully this easy and simple tutorial can give you some ideas on how to make your car stand out from the crowd. And by stand out, I mean be just like everyone else. And by easy, I mean mind-bendingly annoying. And by tutorial, I mean another 9 redbull and a kilo of pixie-sticks induced rant… you are still reading… right? God, I hope so, otherwise my life is a complete waste of vapid mold spores.
Car owners are dead serious about their cars. Like a heart-attack serious. So be sure to point out every little flaw and paint chip you see. If you really like to see geriatrics pulling their hair out and uncontrollably defecating at the same time, then by all means make sure to call their Camaro a “Mustang”.
Constantly remind them that you know nothing about cars by insisting that you need to sit behind the wheel of their car and make racing noises and violently shake the steering wheel from side to side.
Ask the owner if you can rub their fuzzy dice, “for good luck”, while you maintain an uncomfortable level of eye contact for an extended period of time.
When meeting the motorist for the first time remind them that their hunk of rust is older than you and your only here to pick up chicks. Be sure to use their rear view mirrors to perfect your ‘manscaping’, if they get fussy, tell them that “these eyebrows aren’t going to PLUCK themselves!”. If the motoring enthusiast is a woman, be sure to mention how much you love your ladies shaved…. door handles.
Look seductively into your clients eyes and make sure to emphasize the terms, “Shaved”, “Blown”, “Stroked”, “Lube Job” and “Juiced”. Make sure your client knows you mean business by asking them to do the same.
Ok, thank god I got that out of my system, now I can write a real tutorial -
1. Seek weird angles
2. Shoot in B&W – Try it, it’s fun
3. Use a slow shutter – especially for moving shots – 1/160th MINIMUM!! If you can shoot 1/40th – you will have automotive juiciness.
4. Eye level is for n00bs
5. Notice a cars lines and how they interact with one another
6. Pick out features of a car that make them stand out and emphasize them (Tail fins, grills, wheels…etc)
7. Fill the frame.
8. Don’t shoot at a parking lot – the lines are annoying as all get out.
9. Shoot in odd places – Industrial things are more interesting than a lake (most of the time but not all the time and I can’t tell you when is good and when is bad, this is where it gets frustrating)
10. Bring a macro lens – Just do it
11. Bring a wide angle lens – Once again, just trust me
12. Bring flashes – even during day light.
13. Shoot something that will give the hint of what the car is but leave enough to the imagination.
14. Shoot during the magic hour – High noon is terrible
15. bring a broom – Unless you really enjoy picking up cigarette butts.
16. Bring a ladder – small one is fine
17. Space your car from nearby objects – they can be distracting
18. Watch out for reflections off the paint
19. If you must shoot in HDR (ugh) – Be careful of ‘chroming’ effect on the paint – It looks really tacky
20. Bring a CPL
21. Shoot with the car windows up
22. Shoot the owner of the car
23. TURN THE WHEELS!! No one likes to see ‘tire’, it’s ugly, show rim… sweet sweet rim.
24. Bring a set of warm/cool clothes
25. Learn to pan, it’s really really easy… it is. Honest.
26. Learn photoshop. It’s not cheating, no matter how “purist” you might think it is, you’re wrong. Plain, dead wrong.
27. Don’t over sharpen, it’s easy to do.
28. Use a tripod. Monopod for motorsports.
29. Break these rules.