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-   -   Photographing Cars (http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/t588394-photographing-cars.html)

Ali 01-30-2008 08:54 PM

Photographing Cars
 
A close buddy of mine has just bought a new car and has asked me if I can
take some photos. I agreed, but to be honest, car's are something I have
not really shot much before, so I am a bit in new territory. Still, I think
that it will be interesting to shoot something totally different and a good
learning experience. The difficulty is that I am a bit of a perfectionist
and am determined to walk away with some great shots, so want to do some
preparation beforehand. Of course, on the day with camera in hand, anything
goes when your eyes take over.

There is a disused airfield nearby and I am going to shoot there. I will be
shooting both static and action shots. I am no newbie to photography, so at
the moment, I have a few ideas on certain angles, vehicle/shutter speeds,
etc that I would like to try, however this is just theory in my head at the
moment. So, I would be interested to hear about creative composition ideas,
etc from other people that have shot cars before. Or the more tricky photo
situation of shooting people with a car. Shooting people, I can handle no
problem, but when trying to balance two major subjects, it's a bit more
difficult.

In addition, I would also be interested to see any inspirational photos of
cars or cars/people that you particularly like (from a photography point of
view). I have had a look around, but to be honest, I haven't found many
great shots when cars are involved that give me any real inspiration.

Just for info the tools I will be taking are a 20D and a 40D. I will also
take the following lenses: 10-22, 24 1.4, 50 1.2, 70-200 2.8, and a 1.4
converter. Not really important, but I think that it may help build a
picture of the scenario.


Charles 01-30-2008 10:28 PM

Re: Photographing Cars
 
http://www.3si.org/wiki/index.php/Ho...hotograph_cars



Frank ess 01-31-2008 01:03 AM

Re: Photographing Cars
 


Ali wrote:
> A close buddy of mine has just bought a new car and has asked me if
> I can take some photos. I agreed, but to be honest, car's are
> something I have not really shot much before, so I am a bit in new
> territory.


[ ... ]

>
> Just for info the tools I will be taking are a 20D and a 40D. I
> will also take the following lenses: 10-22, 24 1.4, 50 1.2, 70-200
> 2.8, and a 1.4 converter. Not really important, but I think that
> it may help build a picture of the scenario.


Look at a few auto-photo calendars and see what you like. Show them to
your close buddy and ask what he likes; a photo-savvy guy like you
should be able to meet his needs.

Me, I like cars mostly for what they /do/, not for how they /look/.
Car portaits are neat, cool, all those things, and necessary for
commercial pages, but the world is more like a movie than like a
museum, my view.

I like lenses close to human-portrait length; cars just look more
poised and concise to me. if you have to leave all but one lens at
home, carry the 50mm for your car work. I've used each of the focal
lengths you list to photograph cars to reasonable effect, for
interesting effects; however, 70-100mm is meat-and-potatoes to me.

There is reason to hold the camera at eye level: we're used to seeing
things that way, perception requires less adjustment. There are many
reasons to get off that level, depending on what you want to show
viewers. I always take one shot at eye-level, for each angle, followed
by as many raised and lowered positions as I can manage from that
approach. Neither of these is particularly good, but which do you
think is "better"?
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2076/...6fb33e21_o.jpg
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2288/...2f5f83c3_o.jpg

Depending on the color of the car, you may want to provide for HDR (is
that a word?) and multiple exposures for pulling back in the color of
sky and sunlit background bleached by proper exposure of dark
finishes. I expect 2/3 to 1-1/3 stop underexposure to produce workable
results. A light tent (overcast or large open shade area) eliminates
some problems and creates others:
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1243/...9b0b2bc5_o.jpg

I've used 1/40, 1/90, 1/125, and 1/350 for cars moving across the
field, with varying results within each shutter speed; a matter of
practice, technique, and luck. This one last Saturday on the Ortega
Highway was 1/125:
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2245/...ae406b29_o.jpg

This one was 1/350 or so:
http://www.fototime.com/4DEFF610581919D/orig.jpg I like the swooshy
one.

A few weeks earlier at 1/40:
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2072/...8ab1a298_b.jpg

Still earlier, an intermediate speed I've forgotten:
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/130/4...4e919afc_o.jpg

I'm sure you'll get other perspectives. I like car photography, but
not so much car /portrait/ photography.

--
Frank ess


Jay.Martin60@gmail.com 01-31-2008 01:24 AM

Re: Photographing Cars
 
On Jan 30, 2:54*pm, "Ali" <m...@privacy.com> wrote:
> A close buddy of mine has just bought a new car and has asked me if I can
> take some photos. *I agreed, but to be honest, car's are something I have
> not really shot much before, so I am a bit in new territory. *Still, I think
> that it will be interesting to shoot something totally different and a good
> learning experience. *The difficulty is that I am a bit of a perfectionist
> and am determined to walk away with some great shots, so want to do some
> preparation beforehand. *Of course, on the day with camera in hand, anything
> goes when your eyes take over.
>
> There is a disused airfield nearby and I am going to shoot there. *I will be
> shooting both static and action shots. *I am no newbie to photography, so at
> the moment, I have a few ideas on certain angles, vehicle/shutter speeds,
> etc that I would like to try, however this is just theory in my head at the
> moment. *So, I would be interested to hear about creative composition ideas,
> etc from other people that have shot cars before. *Or the more tricky photo
> situation of shooting people with a car. *Shooting people, I can handle no
> problem, but when trying to balance two major subjects, it's a bit more
> difficult.
>
> In addition, I would also be interested to see any inspirational photos of
> cars or cars/people that you particularly like (from a photography point of
> view). *I have had a look around, but to be honest, I haven't found many
> great shots when cars are involved that give me any real inspiration.
>
> Just for info the tools I will be taking are a 20D and a 40D. *I will also
> take the following lenses: *10-22, 24 1.4, 50 1.2, 70-200 2.8, and a 1.4
> converter. *Not really important, but I think that it may help build a
> picture of the scenario.


If you want to see how the best pro's shoot cars, look at promo shots
released by the manufacturers. Sure, they are Photoshopped to death,
but they still have to start with great shots. Also, study the
photography in Car and Driver Magazine. It is phenomenal...as far as
periodicals go, there are none better.

Cars are fun to shoot. I've had my work featured in MuscleCar Review,
Mopar Muscle, Corvette Fever, Super Ford, Mustang Monthly, Chevy
Action magazines (maybe a couple of others), and a couple of books and
some calendars.

Although there is a pretty standard formula for what publishers want
(angles, composition, details, etc.), every shoot is different, unless
you're at a show shooting several cars (as many as you have time to
cram in) in the same location (same background).

The first thing to consider is the background. An airstrip is actually
an ideal place, with lots of wide open space. You want a clean
background, with no utility poles sticking out of the roof, or
concrete pillars sticking out of the hood/trunk. Think "CLEEEAAN".
Also, look for good pavement. No oil spots, tire marks, painted
stripes, asphalt patches, etc., these are all things that you might
not notice in the viewfinder, but will look terrible in a print. If
you have time, it wouldn't hurt to take some advance test shots of
another car in your chosen location to evaluate.

Lighting...well, good light is good light no matter what you're
shooting. I like to say that "Magic Hour" is from 45 minutes before
sunset to 15 minutes after sunset. This is for exterior shots, not so
important for interior/engine shots. If you are going to shoot
interior/ engine, you can get there early and do these first. I like
to position the car facing straight away from the sun so the hood
shades the engine, and use a reflector to bounce a nice soft light
onto the engine. This also works for the interior, but is somewhat
harder to do. I usually shoot all natural light, bounce light, and
bounce/fill flash on interiors/engines.

Especially with interior shots, make sure the interior is SPOTLESS. No
dust on the instrument panel, no mud/footprints on the carpet or
pedals. Wipe fingerprints from chrome (probably not an issue if it's a
new car!) As with the background, you wont see it until it's too late.
Oh, and don't forget to center the steering wheel.

Composition - Fill The Frame!!! Remember, you're not shooting
landscapes...you want to see as much detail as possible in the
subject, not the pretty oak trees 300 yards away. Same with engine
shots...make the engine go edge-to-edge, you've already got the
fenders covered in the exterior shots!

Look for bad reflections in your exterior shots, especially
reflections of yourself. They're hard to avoid on curved surfaces.

It's pretty cold here in Kansas City, but one technique I like to use
on a hot summer day is to park the car on level ground and move way
back with a (say) 300 mm lens, It'll give the effect of the tires
melting into the pavement. Play around with different angles...unlike
landscapes or portraits, you can skew the camera to give a dramatic
uphill or downhill effect.

Have fun!!!

J









Paul Bartram 01-31-2008 09:10 AM

Re: Photographing Cars
 

"Ali" <me@privacy.com> wrote

>A close buddy of mine has just bought a new car and has asked me if I can
>take some photos. I agreed, but to be honest, car's are something I have
>not really shot much before, so I am a bit in new territory. Still, I
>think that it will be interesting to shoot something totally different and
>a good learning experience.


This is a 'bit off the wall' but if you have broadband try downloading an
episode of the BBC series 'Top Gear'. They do reviews of sports and high-end
cars at a race track / airfield and some of the photography is amazing - a
mixture of fast video editing and still shots. You might be able to pick up
some ideas from this, but even if not it is a very entertaining show!

Paul

http://www.topgear.com/content/videos/



Jørn Dahl-Stamnes 01-31-2008 09:53 AM

Re: Photographing Cars
 
Here are some example using a 30D with 28-70 L and a 500 L

http://www.dahl-stamnes.net/Foto/album.php?map=Rally06

--
Jørn Dahl-Stamnes
http://www.dahl-stamnes.net/dahls/

Don Stauffer in Minnesota 01-31-2008 02:58 PM

Re: Photographing Cars
 
On Jan 30, 2:54 pm, "Ali" <m...@privacy.com> wrote:
> A close buddy of mine has just bought a new car and has asked me if I can
> take some photos. I agreed, but to be honest, car's are something I have
> not really shot much before, so I am a bit in new territory. Still, I think
> that it will be interesting to shoot something totally different and a good
> learning experience. The difficulty is that I am a bit of a perfectionist
> and am determined to walk away with some great shots, so want to do some
> preparation beforehand. Of course, on the day with camera in hand, anything
> goes when your eyes take over.
>
> There is a disused airfield nearby and I am going to shoot there. I will be
> shooting both static and action shots. I am no newbie to photography, so at
> the moment, I have a few ideas on certain angles, vehicle/shutter speeds,
> etc that I would like to try, however this is just theory in my head at the
> moment. So, I would be interested to hear about creative composition ideas,
> etc from other people that have shot cars before. Or the more tricky photo
> situation of shooting people with a car. Shooting people, I can handle no
> problem, but when trying to balance two major subjects, it's a bit more
> difficult.
>
> In addition, I would also be interested to see any inspirational photos of
> cars or cars/people that you particularly like (from a photography point of
> view). I have had a look around, but to be honest, I haven't found many
> great shots when cars are involved that give me any real inspiration.
>
> Just for info the tools I will be taking are a 20D and a 40D. I will also
> take the following lenses: 10-22, 24 1.4, 50 1.2, 70-200 2.8, and a 1.4
> converter. Not really important, but I think that it may help build a
> picture of the scenario.


The people who take car photos for advertising have a LOT of tricks.

Use a slightly wide angle focal length, say 40mm (35mm equivalent).
Shoot only in sunlight, not cloudy or cloudy/bright.

Use a somewhat low camera angle- lower than eye level on normal adult.

Try to find a non-distracting (plain) background of color
complementary to car color.

Quartering view- especially front quarter- are preferrable to square-
on shots.

Ali 01-31-2008 11:44 PM

Re: Photographing Cars
 
I must admit , I wasn't expecting this response. When I re-read my post I
cringed a bit and was only expecting maybe one reply. Not only did I get a
more replies than I expected, but ALL the replies were fantastic.

As for Jay Martins post, I really, really wasn't expecting this. I must
admit, I haven't been totally honest. I took my own car out to the location
and took some test shots before posting, just to experiment and also to look
at particular areas/ambient light on the airfield. Reading Jay's post is a
bit freaky for me, because his post was so, so close to my own logic and
what I was looking for and also the shots that I actually took (with the
exception of the tyres melting into the road surface).

I have also been toying with the idea of finding a way to attach the camera
to the car on a boom for motion shots without the speed, but am scratching
my head on this one at the moment.

I haven't had a chance to look at the external links in the posts yet, but I
will at the weekend when I have a bit more time.



"Ali" <me@privacy.com> wrote in message
news:bvmdnaBdeq8BeT3anZ2dnUVZ8q-rnZ2d@pipex.net...
>A close buddy of mine has just bought a new car and has asked me if I can
>take some photos. I agreed, but to be honest, car's are something I have
>not really shot much before, so I am a bit in new territory. Still, I
>think that it will be interesting to shoot something totally different and
>a good learning experience. The difficulty is that I am a bit of a
>perfectionist and am determined to walk away with some great shots, so want
>to do some preparation beforehand. Of course, on the day with camera in
>hand, anything goes when your eyes take over.
>
> There is a disused airfield nearby and I am going to shoot there. I will
> be shooting both static and action shots. I am no newbie to photography,
> so at the moment, I have a few ideas on certain angles, vehicle/shutter
> speeds, etc that I would like to try, however this is just theory in my
> head at the moment. So, I would be interested to hear about creative
> composition ideas, etc from other people that have shot cars before. Or
> the more tricky photo situation of shooting people with a car. Shooting
> people, I can handle no problem, but when trying to balance two major
> subjects, it's a bit more difficult.
>
> In addition, I would also be interested to see any inspirational photos of
> cars or cars/people that you particularly like (from a photography point
> of view). I have had a look around, but to be honest, I haven't found
> many great shots when cars are involved that give me any real inspiration.
>
> Just for info the tools I will be taking are a 20D and a 40D. I will also
> take the following lenses: 10-22, 24 1.4, 50 1.2, 70-200 2.8, and a 1.4
> converter. Not really important, but I think that it may help build a
> picture of the scenario.



John S. 02-01-2008 12:04 PM

Re: Photographing Cars
 
On Jan 31, 11:44 pm, "Ali" <m...@privacy.com> wrote:

> I have also been toying with the idea of finding a way to attach the camera
> to the car on a boom for motion shots without the speed, but am scratching
> my head on this one at the moment.
>
>


Well... this is how the magazine photographer did the action shots
when they featured my Mustang... The guy had a Chevy station wagon!
Was like the perfect vehicle for it! We then recruited my boss to
drive the station wagon while the photographer laid down on the tail
gate of the station wagon! He got some great shots this way! So you
might want to consider a 3 person...

He said that the 17-40L was his bread and butter lens... I finally
picked one up a couple weeks ago.. It's the middle of winter here in
Michigan so I the only cars I've been able to shot were at the Detroit
Auto Show... I was very happy with the results!



Juan Moore Beer 02-01-2008 02:41 PM

Re: Photographing Cars
 
> As for Jay Martins post, I really, really wasn't expecting this.

I can't see Jay Martin's posts? He is not in my kill file that I can see.

Jay,

Is there any chance you have been trying to selling nikes or body part
enhancers?

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