Back Modifications (1)
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By paulbroad
I am interested in comment particularly here. We are going to do a photo shoot of customers cars at an event soon at my sons garage and possibly then offer a car photography service at peoples homes. The difficulty is background, so I shot a whole series of images of my MX-5 using under exposure for ambient and several flash guns on tripods with a radio release system.

This shows the basis of the idea. What do you think. I am also considering a gun in the cockpit possibly with a coloured gel.

EOS 7D with 10/20 Sigma at 20mm - 32mm. Manual, 2 stops under for ambient, guns set to correct manual exposure for chosen aperture - f11 - fitted with diffusers. Some cloning out of wires and dodging/burning in.


Tags: Car Lighting Effect Mazda Flash and lighting Flas Mx-5

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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.


Sooty_1 7 1.5k 221 United Kingdom
26 Apr 2012 8:59AM
Doesn't really work for me, as the lighting is too patchy and yes, the background...

Is there anywhere local you can take the cars into a 'country' setting? That would enable you to light the car with ambient light and control the background. You could also shoot from different angles and the light would be much more even.

You could even shoot moving subjects on a country lane....very 'Top Gear...'


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DRicherby 9 269 725 United Kingdom
26 Apr 2012 12:03PM
Doesn't really work for me either. I agree that getting rid of the cluttered housing estate background is paramount but the way to do that is to arrange to meet the client at a more interesting location, rather than their home. The underlying assumption of this venture is that your clients are proud enough of their cars to want to pay for a photo shoot and that means they'll be prepared to go to a little effort to get good shots. As Nick says, you need to scout out locations, and you need a variety of them to suit your clients' personalities and aspirations. Older people might prefer a country location; the younger crowd with their customized cars with sixty gigawatt speaker systems might prefer somewhere like an abandoned factory. Watch Top Gear for inspiration because (a) it's full of video versions of what you're trying to do in stills and (b) your clients probably watch it and think it's cool. Take suitable precautions if you're going to isolated places with complete strangers and expensive kit.

More technically, I don't think you've chosen a flattering angle, here. The low viewpoint is good but the not-quite-side-on view looks rather haphazard. the good old three-quarter with the wheels turned in is your friend.

puertouk 6 1.1k 17 United Kingdom
26 Apr 2012 1:25PM
Hi, I've uploaded a quick mod, which will give you some idea what the guys have been talking about. I did this type of work some years ago in the UK. If you can find various locations in the area you are taking the shots, it does not have to be a countryside location. You could take your shots in a supermarket car park. Look for a hedge or a grass bank. You can also "paint" your cars with flashlight, but ideally, take your shots in daylight, which is rather obvious. Try using mobile lighting, but again, this is if your business is thriving. Maybe you could pick up second hand lighting system. If you carry on using flash, try diffusers. You can also try reflectors as well, which are not expensive. I hope this is of help and good luck in your new business.
paulbroad 10 123 1244 United Kingdom
27 Apr 2012 7:46AM
I agree in principal. I've done quite a few car shots in the past using ambient, but I wanted something different and repeatable that I could set up anywhere with repeatable results regardless of ambient. Any later service offered can be planned and we have a lot of decent locations near by. The first problem is the shooting at the event at which the background will be a garage and lots of other cars - no choice. I intend to set up in a corner of the garage compound and have the photography as a 'drive though'. Hence the lighting.

This basic technique - much refined - is used by one of the top pro car photographers - but he uses more gun, more power and an old aircraft hanger as a studio! Plus years of experience.

You are clearly telling me I've not got the lighting right.

Agree on the angle though - really testing the lighting here in my front garden. Think I need more light. My favourite angle is about a foot from headlight with the Sigma at 10mm. Loads of distortion - some owners love it, some don't.


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