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Cars Photography

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Today, I decided not to go to morning yoga class because I wanted to check out a photography workshop at noon. I worked on my graphic novel writing in the morning, and drove to the Canon building at 11 am, thinking it will be crowded like the Monday’s noon workshop. But today’s workshop had few people. The workshop theme was about capturing, editing, and printing car photographs. Photographer Scott Mead explained some basic tips.

Some popular lens includes the EF 70 – 200 mm f2.8L IS II USM, which is a long lens. EF 24 – 105 mm f/4L, EF 16 – 35 mm f2.8L which is used for specialty shots and aerial shots, and EF 100 mm f2.8L MACRO which is used for getting very close to small items and getting a clear shot.

Also, take into consideration the color spectrum and white balance settings.

Basics:

ISO 100 – 250 mm for beauty shots. Exposure control involves playing with aperture and depth of field. f/4 is good for long shots, f/11 is good for engines and interiors of cars, and you might need to vary the f/stop in order to get better and clearer details.

Focus Mode is a single shot.

Metering is evaluative.

Timer should be at 2 seconds.

Bracket Shots should be at 1/3 stop and the camera set to 7 shots.

Use polarizing filter to eliminate unwanted reflections. Put a rig on a tripod or triangulate your body before shooting. The best time to shoot is early morning hours, late afternoon hours, and under overcast skies. During such times, there is a soft, warm light without harsh shadows.

Midday light casts harsh shadows. A flash will also create harsh highlights.

It is important to choose the right location for your particular model, which in this case the model is a car. Make sure that the location suits the particular vehicle style and image. Find an area that allows the car to stand out against a flattering background. Make sure there are no distractions. A good place for a car photo shoot includes parks, church parking lots, industrial building with concrete or brick walls, cul-de-sacs, etc.

Google maps and Photographer’s Ephemeris can help you research and seek out the right location.

Bad areas for car photoshoots include areas that have dumpsters, portable toilets, fire hydrants, Graffiti, and small annoying kids running around. And remember to shoot the car with the obstacles away from the car, which will involve changing your perspective.

Shooting for final print is all about choosing the right paper that will enhance your photograph as well as the content and car in the photograph. Vintage cars usually look good on matte smooth paper. Choose a solid nonmetallic color or textured paper. Add a sepia filter, and shoot the car straight up. For cars with metallic, pearl or candy color, use glossy paper. Metallic paper or dye-infused aluminum paper makes the car pop out more.

Paint Flop changes the color on the metallic car surface because of the light hitting the car. It creates more depth.

Poses: yes, like people, cars pose too, even it is assisted posing.

  • ¾ front is the classic pose, in which the car is at an angle, with front tires facing toward the camera. And, turn on the lights. Shoot with low vantage point for Muscular Look. Long focal length of 150 mm + blurs the foreground and background elements, which will make the car pop out more because the car will be focused. Vary the f/stop for desired depth of field and background blur (Bokkeh).
  • Side Profile emphasizes car’s body line. Shoot wide, just in case you might need to crop later.
  • Nose-On is a closeup shot of the front of the car from the front. Don’t use fisheye or wide lens because these lenses will create distortions.
  • Engines/interiors/trunk: use a mild wide-angle lens, such as 20 mm – 35 mm, which will eliminate lens distortions. Take the photograph at a slight angle. Be aware of harsh shadows. You can also get very close for details so that you can bring out specific features better.
  • Printing/editing/profiling to create color harmony involves setting up your monitor’s profile and using the correct paper profile. A Profile is the language that the computer and printer use to communicate certain colors and setting details. Each printer has its unique fingerprint with its unique current/resistance individual circuits. Adjust the Holistic Level in the color setting tab. Editing software include Lightroom/Canon and Adobe Photoshop.
  • He printed two photographs of the same car, an orange-colored vintage Chevrolet station wagon on Kodak Metallic Glossy paper and matte paper. I check out the two photographs, and I notice a big difference. I like the photograph of the car on the glossy paper because the car pops out more with bolder and brighter colors. On the matte paper, the same car looks muted and flat. But I think the matte paper would look good for traditional, conventional and conservative content, image or environment.
  • If you don’t want to pay for monthly or yearly subscription for new software products, then don’t upgrade your camera because the camera upgrades will not work well with older software.

Moral of the Photography Story: If you want to bring more attention to a subject in a photograph, then use glossy paper. If you want a more traditional picture to hang with a nice frame inside your elegant styled room, then use matte paper.

What do you think?

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Written by Fifi Leigh

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