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How to photograph cars!?

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  • How to photograph cars!?

    I've been going to a few classic car shows the past few months but all the photos I take are boring and look the same.

    I've tried exciting photoshopping but nothing seems to help.

    Unfortunately I can't move the cars to a better location so I was wondering if anyone had any tips for me!! Examples would be great too.

    These are the results I'm getting atm. Boring!! I want to make the cars interesting even for people that don't like classic cars!


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  • #2
    It looks like you took those pictures while you were standing up. That's fine for one or two pictures but the angle gets boring. Get really high (borrow a chair) or get real low. You can also take pictures of parts of the car. Ask the owners what makes the car special and what would identify it to other enthusiasts if they saw only a part of the car then take a picture of that part.
    -When confronted by a difficult problem, you can solve it more easily by reducing it to the question, "How would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
    -I'm a vessel of useless information; just ask my wife.

    -Critiques and editing of my pics for DPS always welcome-

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    • #3
      Originally posted by oldwolf View Post
      It looks like you took those pictures while you were standing up. That's fine for one or two pictures but the angle gets boring. Get really high (borrow a chair) or get real low. You can also take pictures of parts of the car. Ask the owners what makes the car special and what would identify it to other enthusiasts if they saw only a part of the car then take a picture of that part.
      I did try high and low (low is easier if your my height!) but they still look dull. Though I'm beginning to think its because I find cars dull!?!



      "Ask the owners what makes the car special and what would identify it to other enthusiasts if they saw only a part of the car then take a picture of that part."
      Thats a very good idea!! I'll definitely try that this weekend!
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      • #4
        Ha ha old wolf and I have followed each other on a similiar post not so long ago . I do a lot of car photography and find the low 3/4 shot to be one of the most effective ,especially for the sports type or muscle cars . Generally I look for the character of the car I'm shooting and try to capture some of its personality . What strikes you about the car when you first look at it , take this and get a good angle (high ,low ,side on ,3/4 )whatever it takes to capture that , you can also do car macros pick an impressive small detail and get in close shallow DoF or clean and crisp , long lines down the side that emphasize its shape and size , also somebody else once mentioned looking at car mags can help . And lastly having some sort of passion for these beautiful machines would help , I love them so have no trouble with this part . Good luck .
        http://www.flickr.com/photos/bradzo66/
        I'm as honest as the day is long , the longer the daylight the less I do wrong !!

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        • #5
          Its also hard I think to get really good shots at a car show with all the distracting backgrounds...and the limited ability to move around some vehicles to get a better angle..
          Camera Stuff....nuff said

          Flickr | Fine Art America | T.A. Wilson Photography

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          • #6
            Here's an example. It's a Firebird that our neighbor's son drove to the prom. The story behind is that it's his dad's Firebird and they have pictures of the son as a baby sitting on the hood of the car. Dad caved and let him drive his baby to his senior prom.

            Set up history. It was parked in the driveway with another car just a foot and a half away. Lots of people on the other side of the car ooooing and ahhhing at the couple and taking pictures.

            From DPS


            Post processed some little rust spots out of the car and made it a bit shinier hehe.

            I like the pp you did on the third picture. It gives it a vintage feel. If your mean by dull that it's underexposed then you can always overexpose your images by a stop to see if that gets the feel you're going for.
            -When confronted by a difficult problem, you can solve it more easily by reducing it to the question, "How would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
            -I'm a vessel of useless information; just ask my wife.

            -Critiques and editing of my pics for DPS always welcome-

            Comment


            • #7
              Isolate car from background, like this:

              -To Isolate Objects against a white background:

              Photograph your object using any background, Then:

              a) Zoom in 200-300%.
              b) Use the pen selection tool to chart an exact path around the object.
              Get it perfect.
              c) Click on working path Icon in paths palette
              d) Select> Modify> Contract by 2 pixels.
              e) Select> modify> Smooth by 3-5 pixels.
              f) Select> Inverse-.
              g) Select> Feather by 0.2 - 0.5 pixels.
              h) Make sure foreground black/background white - Press Delete.
              You now have isolated object on white background.

              Regards, Ken
              Last edited by kencaleno; 06-07-2009, 07:37 AM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by kencaleno View Post
                Isolate car from background, like this:
                No.

                This is fine if youre using the image for something in particular, usually in Flash or a layout of some kind, but as a general photo I have to advise STRONGLY against it.

                If you can, get the owner to bring the car somewhere with a cool surrounding. I've found a parking lot near my house that works perfectly: it's quiet, has atmosphere and no distracting elements. Underground or multi-storeys are often great places!

                The trick isnt to remove the background, but to use it to your advantage!
                I am responsible for what I say; not what you understand.
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                • #9
                  ooh I'm quite excited, we went on the bucket and spade run today, I took quite a few photos! I'm still editing them but heres my favourite! I've only done a quick pass over them atm.



                  @bradzo66 "What strikes you about the car when you first look at it , take this and get a good angle (high ,low ,side on ,3/4 )whatever it takes to capture that , you can also do car macros pick an impressive small detail and get in close shallow DoF or clean and crisp"

                  I took your advice and I noticed this on one of the vintage citroens!! they had garlic cloves too! lol. I doubt I would have noticed it if I hadn't been looking for details!



                  @kencaleno I agree with @OsmosisStudios, If I remove the bg theres the problem of "where are these clouds being reflected coming from, wheres the shadow? etc"

                  ee thanks for your help guys!!! I'm waiting for the next car run now! :P
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                  • #10
                    Not a great photographer or anything, but this is what I do.

                    Feel free to critque, I need all the help I can get!

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                    • #11
                      @oldwolf: your "firebird" shot looks so great!!

                      Definitely I agree with who are saying you to try changing your perspective, do not shoot just standing.. If you own a wide lens you can consider this article's example:

                      http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/how-...ide-lenses.htm

                      just scroll down to the middle of the page and you'll see a truck pic, then move your mouse over it to view ultra-wide angled image!

                      Hope this helps!
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                      • #12
                        I was just about to say that since getting a wide angle lens, I find car and bike shots a lot more interesting to take. Opens up a whole new world!

                        DSC_0044
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                        • #13
                          maby you need to go lower.. like this shot..

                          for this one i was full on laying on the road, luckily i had a "photographer" vest on, so people watched out for me, and didn't walk in front, which made things a HECK of alot easier.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by xhan View Post
                            These are the results I'm getting atm. Boring!! I want to make the cars interesting even for people that don't like classic cars!
                            My wife doesn't appreciate old cars like I do, so if I want her to look at _any_ car pictures, there has to be something in the shot that jumps up and slaps her.

                            I like to get low, often laying on the ground. Use wide angles and shoot the front corner of the car so you get plenty of both front and rear (see Henry's Cooper, or Dirt's Fordson, excellent shots). Don't be afraid to tilt the camera and fill the frame from upper left corner to lower right corner (or vice versa).

                            I tend to look for vehicles whose tires are turned, then frame the shot with the tire turned toward me. When you get low and wide, the tire springs out at you, then draws you in to whats around it. Put that tire on the bottom third line, or tilt your camera and put it at an intersection.

                            Skip the cars with raised hoods, unless its something that you really want to see. The raised hood tends to draw your eye away and ruins the lines. Or get in close and take a full length side shot (like that beautiful Firebird).

                            You had a white Triumph (I think, my British car knowledge is minimal) in the first series that was _almost_ there. If you'd moved to the left just a step or so, then gotten into the weeds, you would have had. You were badly over-exposed, but thats not a composition issue.

                            Your yellow (Renault?) was also close. You should have either taken a couple steps to the right and shot both front and side together, or alternatively, stepped left and simply taken a full frontal shot.

                            Take what I say with a grain of salt too. I'm not a professional by any stretch of the imagination, but I love cars and know how I like to see them presented.

                            A couple of mine that I recently took:






                            Ok the last ones a truck, but you get my drift The yellow Willys should have been taken lower, and had the Mustang not been tucked in so close, I would have tilted the camera to get closer.

                            Rod
                            Last edited by DiamondSCattleCo; 07-01-2009, 06:50 AM.
                            Critique always welcome...

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                            • #15
                              sometime to make it more interesting is to shoot it in a different perspective; like most of the people mentioned here... shoot at high angle or low angle.

                              another way is also not shooting the whole cars but part of the cars, wheels, headlights etc.

                              if u don't mind me sharing my shots.

                              DSC_1765

                              Headlights

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