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      09-17-2008, 11:43 PM   #1
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Automotive Photography - Does it Exist?

When I tell people I do "automotive photography" for a hobby, they think "What?"

Automotive photography isn't well known, and there are so little who make a living out of it, either taking pictures for magazines, online websites and communities, or brochures.

To answer the question: Yes, it does exist, and it's a (very slow) growing community. It seems like wherever I go - a race, car show, meet, there's always people out there working with a camera, but never professionally (unless press).

I'd like to see this community grow bigger and bigger, and that's why I wanted to show you how much fun it can be!

You don't need a $700 camera to do the dirty work for you, all you need is a digital and some imagination. I'm posting these photos up for those enthusiasts out there who want to learn from others' photos. Placement of subject, working with the background, etc, comes from observation and therefore creates experience.

Feel free to upload your own photos but underneath the picture, describe what you did to make it look how it was (orientation/angle, lighting, post-processing) to help out with those enthusiasts.

Here's an example.


The Audi R8's headlights and fins are symbolic. Try and find what is special about the car and find ways to exaggerate it. I used angle to focus on the headlight. When you shoot diagonally from the car, it creates a fish-eye effect, rounding off whatever is away from the center. But, to get the true effect you'll need a fish-eye lens, this is only an imitation.


Here's an example of working with the background. Vignetting (shadows around the photo) frame the picture and keeps the viewer away from anything distracting. Unfortunately, that Saints Row 2 truck just HAD to be there. There was also some post-processing work done. Both cars were red, so I decided to make that stand out by flushing out all other colors. The clock tower in the background happened to be an orange/red shade which was luck on my part


Again, vignetting was used to keep the viewer's attention on the subjects. Both cars were painted similarly and I wanted to retain that focus, so instead of working with the background, I attempted to keep focus on only the cars by using the ground,something very boring to the eye. And all those Nissan people, you know you get excited when you see 2 sets of circles on the back of a car (Dang Cobalts)

That's just some, I'll post more later if anyone is interested.
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      09-18-2008, 12:12 AM   #2
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Sweet pics!

I want to get better at photography, but my kit lens that came with my Nikon, and no editing skills frustrates me.
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      09-18-2008, 12:33 AM   #3
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I'm more jealous of your car than your camera
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      09-18-2008, 12:35 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amir87 View Post
Sweet pics!

I want to get better at photography, but my kit lens that came with my Nikon, and no editing skills frustrates me.
Which Nikon do you have? I got the D60 and I'm using the lenses that came with it. It's also better if you try and avoid editing. I want to take raw pictures like Laszlo that look great from the beginning instead of turning something not as great into somewhat great using the computer. Photography used to be more about the camera and portable assets rather than digital processing. The more you can avoid using software the better you'll get outside on the field.

EDIT: Oops, double posted.
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      09-18-2008, 12:44 AM   #5
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I have the D40x with 2 lenses 18-55mm and 55-200mm. The bigger lens is much better in quality in pics and overall build.
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      09-18-2008, 05:35 PM   #6
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I have the same lenses. Apart from the first photo which was from a digital pocket camera, the others were shot using the 18-55mm.
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      09-21-2008, 10:16 PM   #7
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I personally love automotive photography. Here are a few examples of shots I've taken. I shoot with a Nikon D300 and use various lenses depending on the application. I would say most of the images I'm posting as examples I'm using a Sigma 24-70 mm f/2.8 lens. I'm pretty happy with the Sigma products and have no complaints yet. For post processing work, I import my images into Aperture 2.1. Here I'm able to control color, white balance, exposure, etc. I also use Viveza to control light, shadows, contrast etc. Here are a few examples.

Audi R8 at NYC showroom. Photo taken outside from window. They were closed because it was Sunday.



Audi R8 Headlights. Same day.



Ferrari 360 Modena. I definitely know I used my Sigma 24-70 here.





My Car. Again taken with the Sigma 24-70 mm f/2.8. By playing with the contrast, sometimes you can get more detail. Your background and scenery will be a big part of your image as well.









I think with the combination of a good camera and post processing, you can do a lot. I probably wouldn't play with the focus too much to make things over blurry because it sometimes doesn't look natural. Most of the time I'll control my aperture to get the proper effect so I don't need to electronically modify the image. Often times when playing with software to make the image look like the background is blurry, the fine edge between the actual object and the background isn't clearly defined. By using a correct aperture, you're guaranteed that the image will have the correct depth of field look.
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      09-22-2008, 12:18 AM   #8
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Yes, i do love automotive photography.. i definitely think it exists but they dont classify it in a league of its own from what i've seen. I think they put it under still life and something else. like sports when its in movement.

I grew up with love of cars, and seeing the pictures taken (till this day even) are amazing of all the cars that we want or love to look at... the cars themselves are a piece of art.
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      09-29-2008, 03:26 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TWiTCHY View Post
The Audi R8's headlights and fins are symbolic.
Dude, great shots, but man you just said something that annoys the crap outta me. I feel like artsy people like to throw around the word symbolic too much. What's symbolic about them?

*This isn't meant to come off as offensive btw.
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      09-29-2008, 04:43 PM   #10
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I'd love to go into it, but no time, and no clue how much it would pay....
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      09-29-2008, 04:59 PM   #11
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@ngl1145: Was a polarizing filter used for those Lexus shots?
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      09-29-2008, 05:15 PM   #12
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nice photos!

i must say, however, i really despise the angled shots (such as the ferrari pics). i don't find it artistic in any way and it seems to be a local favorite among amateur automotive photographers. the only thing that it causes is turning my head sideways. there is a place for it but not to the extent people are doing it.

the so-called "visual imbalance" or "tension" only works if the angle is slightly off from the horizontal or vertical. then your eye is trying to correct the slight imperfection focusing all attention on the subject of your picture. the moment i have to turn my head, however, to complete or finalize a visual experience, this technique becomes not only ineffective but distracting.
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      09-30-2008, 06:30 PM   #13
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Some random car photos that I've taken and some basic tips:


Framing: Besides the obvious rules of photograhy, I tend to use more background in my photos. What I mean by this is that I don't usually take photos of the car filling the entire photo because they tend to be less interesting. It is easy to do this with an exotic, or heavily modded car, but for most cars, they need something else to help them out.

Lighting: If you don't have the fancy equipment, use post-processing to showcase the car by highlighting it and blur/darken the background but it's typically best to keep it natural.

It's all about the angles: Don't be afraid to roll around on the ground! I hate using a tripod because it limits me so much, so it's easier to do this in full lighting during the daytime. I love super close-ups as well because it is easy to create something that resembles abstract art when the viewer isn't quite sure what they're looking at right away.

Keep it simple: Don't have two focal points that fight each other. You need to strike a balance between the car and the background. Don't pick a background that is too busy, instead, choose something that will either blend in so your eye is drawn to the car or complement the car add to the overall photo.

Don't go crazy with post-processing: Yes, post-processing can be your friend, but it also can be your worst enemy! My rule of thumb is to use post-processing to try and make the photo look as it did in real life to make up for my lack of expensive equipment. There is a stylized way of making a photo look surreal, but this is not something everyone can do very easily.
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      09-30-2008, 06:30 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TWiTCHY View Post
When I tell people I do "automotive photography" for a hobby, they think "What?"

Automotive photography isn't well known, and there are so little who make a living out of it, either taking pictures for magazines, online websites and communities, or brochures.

To answer the question: Yes, it does exist, and it's a (very slow) growing community. It seems like wherever I go - a race, car show, meet, there's always people out there working with a camera, but never professionally (unless press).

I'd like to see this community grow bigger and bigger, and that's why I wanted to show you how much fun it can be!

You don't need a $700 camera to do the dirty work for you, all you need is a digital and some imagination. I'm posting these photos up for those enthusiasts out there who want to learn from others' photos. Placement of subject, working with the background, etc, comes from observation and therefore creates experience.

Feel free to upload your own photos but underneath the picture, describe what you did to make it look how it was (orientation/angle, lighting, post-processing) to help out with those enthusiasts.

Here's an example.


The Audi R8's headlights and fins are symbolic. Try and find what is special about the car and find ways to exaggerate it. I used angle to focus on the headlight. When you shoot diagonally from the car, it creates a fish-eye effect, rounding off whatever is away from the center. But, to get the true effect you'll need a fish-eye lens, this is only an imitation.


Here's an example of working with the background. Vignetting (shadows around the photo) frame the picture and keeps the viewer away from anything distracting. Unfortunately, that Saints Row 2 truck just HAD to be there. There was also some post-processing work done. Both cars were red, so I decided to make that stand out by flushing out all other colors. The clock tower in the background happened to be an orange/red shade which was luck on my part


Again, vignetting was used to keep the viewer's attention on the subjects. Both cars were painted similarly and I wanted to retain that focus, so instead of working with the background, I attempted to keep focus on only the cars by using the ground,something very boring to the eye. And all those Nissan people, you know you get excited when you see 2 sets of circles on the back of a car (Dang Cobalts)

That's just some, I'll post more later if anyone is interested.
i believe it's called porn.
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      09-30-2008, 09:43 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikki View Post
Some random car photos that I've taken and some basic tips:


Framing: Besides the obvious rules of photograhy, I tend to use more background in my photos. What I mean by this is that I don't usually take photos of the car filling the entire photo because they tend to be less interesting. It is easy to do this with an exotic, or heavily modded car, but for most cars, they need something else to help them out.

Lighting: If you don't have the fancy equipment, use post-processing to showcase the car by highlighting it and blur/darken the background but it's typically best to keep it natural.

It's all about the angles: Don't be afraid to roll around on the ground! I hate using a tripod because it limits me so much, so it's easier to do this in full lighting during the daytime. I love super close-ups as well because it is easy to create something that resembles abstract art when the viewer isn't quite sure what they're looking at right away.

Keep it simple: Don't have two focal points that fight each other. You need to strike a balance between the car and the background. Don't pick a background that is too busy, instead, choose something that will either blend in so your eye is drawn to the car or complement the car add to the overall photo.

Don't go crazy with post-processing: Yes, post-processing can be your friend, but it also can be your worst enemy! My rule of thumb is to use post-processing to try and make the photo look as it did in real life to make up for my lack of expensive equipment. There is a stylized way of making a photo look surreal, but this is not something everyone can do very easily.
Nikki, I think this is by far one of my favorite arctic/e90 pictures yet... keep up the good work!
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      10-05-2008, 12:49 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ngl1145 View Post
The post processing effect you use seems to be very common among us automotive photographers. I can't seem to find out the recipe

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bimmer Loyalist View Post
Dude, great shots, but man you just said something that annoys the crap outta me. I feel like artsy people like to throw around the word symbolic too much. What's symbolic about them?

*This isn't meant to come off as offensive btw.
I know what you mean, sometimes it throws me off, too. My art teacher likes to use the word A LOT and it's all about taking what you see into a literal sense that creates emotion and attitude of the photo. In this case, since we aren't taking portraits of people, I could say that "The R8's headlights are symbolic, in a way that many like to portray as SEXY!"

Quote:
Originally Posted by darkphantom View Post
I'd love to go into it, but no time, and no clue how much it would pay....
Photography as a full time career won't really get you anywhere. Most people take it in with journalism/writing but photography alone isn't enough these days. Consider it an expensive hobby like scuba diving...

Quote:
Originally Posted by vladinecko View Post
nice photos!

i must say, however, i really despise the angled shots (such as the ferrari pics). i don't find it artistic in any way and it seems to be a local favorite among amateur automotive photographers. the only thing that it causes is turning my head sideways. there is a place for it but not to the extent people are doing it.

the so-called "visual imbalance" or "tension" only works if the angle is slightly off from the horizontal or vertical. then your eye is trying to correct the slight imperfection focusing all attention on the subject of your picture. the moment i have to turn my head, however, to complete or finalize a visual experience, this technique becomes not only ineffective but distracting.
I completely agree with you. SOME angle is OK as long as it doesn't force your viewers to tilt their heads. I began taking pictures just like that and found it too difficult to find the focus of the picture.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikki View Post
Some random car photos that I've taken and some basic tips:


Framing: Besides the obvious rules of photograhy, I tend to use more background in my photos. What I mean by this is that I don't usually take photos of the car filling the entire photo because they tend to be less interesting. It is easy to do this with an exotic, or heavily modded car, but for most cars, they need something else to help them out.

Don't go crazy with post-processing: Yes, post-processing can be your friend, but it also can be your worst enemy! My rule of thumb is to use post-processing to try and make the photo look as it did in real life to make up for my lack of expensive equipment. There is a stylized way of making a photo look surreal, but this is not something everyone can do very easily.
On your statement about background: the key to success The background is your friend. Before you do anything, choosing the right location is the best. Also, connect with the car's personality to the background. For example, a large SUV like the GMC Yukon Denali would have a construction area background. I can imagine it in front of cranes, concrete, rocks, dirt, metal pipes and beams. Sports cars are a bit more difficult I would imagine. The most obvious would be a track.

On post-processing: It seems like people think this way because it makes them feel better without the aid of computer software. Without post-processing, you could say that it was just you and your camera skills that made the photo you took look good. And that brings a lot of bragging rights

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i believe it's called porn.
Leave it to the women.
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      10-05-2008, 12:58 PM   #17
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Something to share: no post processing. Taken in Modena.
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      10-05-2008, 08:24 PM   #18
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awesome stuff twitchy
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      10-05-2008, 09:34 PM   #19
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great shots everyone......one for me to share

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      10-06-2008, 01:09 AM   #20
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      10-06-2008, 01:24 AM   #21
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Quote:
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great shots everyone......one for me to share

oh mah gah. if you painted the outer edges of the kidneys I would give it a 10/10. as for now, 9.5.
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      10-06-2008, 09:09 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bimmer Loyalist View Post
oh mah gah. if you painted the outer edges of the kidneys I would give it a 10/10. as for now, 9.5.
they r painted

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