Photo by David Burleson
Why not have a go at photographing some cars with your Pentax gear? At this time of year, there are likely to be all sorts of shows and conventions on all over the country, so a little bit of research should unearth one happening near you.
Your standard lens that came with your Pentax DSLR is fine as you can alter the shot by moving your position but you may find a wide angle lens handy for your low shots. A polariser will help you reduce reflections and you'll also be able to show the interior of the car through the windows. if you pop one in front of your lens. Just remember your shutter speed will slow so you may need a tripod.
Make sure you're checking your images when using a polariser too as they can over flatten the shape of the car. If you're photographing dark parts such as in the engine or the grill use a reflector to bounce light into the shadows but make sure you don't create reflections in the car's paintwork with it.
Bad light makes a car look ugly so make sure there's no objects that could distort your light where you want to take your photograph. Avoid a clear blue sky on a very bright day as you'll just get harsh shadows and images with a lot of contrast but if it's slightly overcast get out there with your kit as quick as you can as a cloudy sky will act like a really good softbox, helping you create shots that aren't obviously lit.
Think about your location carefully – a 4X4 will look great at the top of a mountain but stick a little Fiat up there and it will look lost. A road, it if it's not too busy, or a large paved area will work just fine but this doesn't mean it has to be in a town or city. A road out in the middle of nowhere can work just as well particularly if it has a great vista that can add to the image. Don't pick one where traffic flies by constantly as we don't want you getting run over and a busy street will just leave you with a messy background - they should complement or contrast but never distract.
Fill the frame with the car but this doesn't mean it has to be in the centre of the shot. Move your angle slightly and you'll see how moving it to the left or right of the shot can make a big difference to the overall image just make sure you don't clip off a wing mirror or a wheel in the process.
The style of car you're shooting can change how you shoot it. As with a person you're looking for angles and detail which will show them at their best so take a walk round it and find the little details and shapes which make the car unique. Get up high to show the cars overall shape or crouch at headlight level to make it look intimidating. Just make sure you can't see the background underneath the car and make sure the sky's not overexposed.