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Thread: Advice on shooting car pics

  1. #1

    Default Advice on shooting car pics

    Hi all,

    A friend had recently asked me to shoot his car.

    The problem is getting a big enough location where I can get adequate lighting but still keeping reflections under control. And I only got a SB600.

    Thus I am looking around for advice and appreciate greatly any help.

    First thought would be the upper levels of multi storey carparks at night where the lights would be on, but my guess is that its not enough. I am also wondering if I can ceiling bounce my SB600 at full power, since carpark ceilings are low enough.

    Another thought would be outdoor shots during the late afternoon, but must find a good location, any suggestions?

    Thanx in advance.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Advice on shooting car pics

    Cars are tricky... as the car's paintwork is reflective, it is impt to strategise your lights. Some glare will work itself into your pictures. Too little light, the paintwork will start to reflect the surrounding, including the photographer.

    If you were to read any car magazine, you'll observed that most of the shots are done outdoors. Where there are ample lights, and general greenery around. Other good locations would be mscp where there is a rooftop level revealing skyline for a breathtaking shot. If you were to crouch low enough, you will prob get a good shot without getting yourself into the reflection. Use a 70-200mm lens if you have one.

    Sorry, I'm a newbie, I'm just sharing my experience.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Advice on shooting car pics

    I think you can get better feedback from CSers if you specify your needs more clearly. better to plan the concept before you shoot rather than waste 1000 frames hoping one will be nice.

    eg: want to bring out a Lamborghini's mysteriousness, find a secluded place.

    for speed you can do a chase/panning shot for excitement. gonna need filter if you wanna do daytime long exposure though, else just shoot at night.

    an SUV's ruggedness you can find some industrial location.

    if the car has nice curves you can find a messy location (sandfill, grafitti..) for contrast to make it stand out.

    good luck and do show us your works once it's done!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Advice on shooting car pics

    Thanx for the replies.

    Yes I will be doing panning, I think I can do that rather well.

    My concern is stationary shots.

    Any suggestion for nice locations?
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Advice on shooting car pics

    Quote Originally Posted by sjackal View Post
    Thanx for the replies.

    Yes I will be doing panning, I think I can do that rather well.

    My concern is stationary shots.

    Any suggestion for nice locations?
    As MisterChun pointed out, your locations for static shots depends very much on your theme and concept. What is your theme and concept?

  6. #6

    Default Re: Advice on shooting car pics

    Quote Originally Posted by calebk View Post
    As MisterChun pointed out, your locations for static shots depends very much on your theme and concept. What is your theme and concept?
    Hmm, no theme leh.

    Anything.

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Advice on shooting car pics

    Quote Originally Posted by sjackal View Post
    Hmm, no theme leh.

    Anything.

    It will be very difficult to recommend location and lighting setup when there is no theme. Different theme requires different feel that can only be portrayed by an appropriate location and lighting. Ask your friend how he wants his car (and himself) to be portrayed and work from there. Even something like "I want me and my car to look like Knight Rider" will help.
    Last edited by Randius; 16th October 2008 at 09:29 AM.
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  8. #8

    Default Re: Advice on shooting car pics

    what car and colour?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Advice on shooting car pics

    Honda Fit black colour.

    I guess no theme because he just want some pics of his car. I can shot anything that comes to mind.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Advice on shooting car pics

    since its black why not go one corner with no light what so ever and the only light source is the head lights of the car and set a long exposure that kinda thing. Cars not my thing but I saw picture like that before. Not a honda la. More of a F_____i.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Advice on shooting car pics

    The shoot did not went very well, probably due to lack of planning for locations.

    I couldn't find a good location.

    Can anyone recommend a good location? Or somewhere we can drive up right to the seaside or something? I have a Cokin P Series GND8, more Tianya GND and NDs incoming my way soon, ordered.

    There is a multistorey carpark in the esplanade vicinity and when you drive up to the rooftop, you can see the merlion and the CBD buildings in the background. Like this:



    Anyone knows where is that carpark exactly and is it accessible to public? I saw a picture of a car shot there.

    This guy inspires me:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/knottyy...7607824245102/

    But I really donno where to find good locations.

    Also, I am having trouble with underexposing the car, its black and my flash seems inadequate, SB600.

    Any help is greatly appreciated.
    Last edited by sjackal; 8th November 2008 at 09:42 PM.
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  12. #12

    Default Re: Advice on shooting car pics

    first of all...what car?
    I photograph the dead.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Advice on shooting car pics

    there are many ways to shoot a car, i haven't done one before, but some of the best images come out of careful planning, like others have mentioned

    there have been people willing to create a attachment that they can dock to the car, and then shoot it when the car is moving with UWA, it is very dramatic and you solve the problem of cluttered background during daytime.

    at night, there are many ways to do it, if you have one flash, work with what you have, you can always paint the car, it might take all night, but how far are you willing to go to make the shot with what you have.. unless you want to get a few more flashguns.. which you'll hardly use again, unless you become a professional car photographer?

    besides that, you seem to suggest that it is only possible to shoot a car with adequate lighting, or with a lot of flashes. this seems like you want to shoot the car handheld. what happened to using a tripod and doing long exposures? it's not impossible.

    i once read a tutorial in a magazine, what i recall is that the guy painstaking used his one flash, use tripod, and because flash will have reflections and he only had one, he slowly take different portions of the whole car, exposed for background to the level he wanted, then merge together using layers in photoshop. the result was beautiful.

    lastly, it is always very tempting to open your mouth and ask for spoonfeeding, i typed "car photography" and this was the first result, designed for people who have never shot car before:

    tutorial; i think you will find it useful.
    Last edited by night86mare; 9th November 2008 at 08:08 AM.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Advice on shooting car pics

    and..

    Benchmarc shoots a lot of cars, you can see his website here to get ideas with regards to execution , ideas, etc. mostly done in singapore.

    he used to have a lot of pictures, but i checked them, he has removed them from photobucket.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Advice on shooting car pics

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    there are many ways to shoot a car, i haven't done one before, but some of the best images come out of careful planning, like others have mentioned

    there have been people willing to create a attachment that they can dock to the car, and then shoot it when the car is moving with UWA, it is very dramatic and you solve the problem of cluttered background during daytime.
    Anyway I saw these kinda rigs used on a magazine article but that takes much building. Unless I want to get one done and hardly use again. I guess at times you also need two cars to do this kinda pics?

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    at night, there are many ways to do it, if you have one flash, work with what you have, you can always paint the car, it might take all night, but how far are you willing to go to make the shot with what you have.. unless you want to get a few more flashguns.. which you'll hardly use again, unless you become a professional car photographer?
    I can use another one though. The light painting idea is wonderful! I guess I will take that route with long exposures.

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    besides that, you seem to suggest that it is only possible to shoot a car with adequate lighting, or with a lot of flashes. this seems like you want to shoot the car handheld. what happened to using a tripod and doing long exposures? it's not impossible.
    Yeah I was using tripod and longer exposures but somehow hard to balance with the sky even with a GND8, maybe I should get another GND.

    i once read a tutorial in a magazine, what i recall is that the guy painstaking used his one flash, use tripod, and because flash will have reflections and he only had one, he slowly take different portions of the whole car, exposed for background to the level he wanted, then merge together using layers in photoshop. the result was beautiful.[/quote]

    Yeah I read about these techniques here. The photoshop thing is where I am weak in, though maybe I should try one day.

    lastly, it is always very tempting to open your mouth and ask for spoonfeeding, i typed "car photography" and this was the first result, designed for people who have never shot car before:

    tutorial; i think you will find it useful.[/quote]

    It is always very assuming for regulars of this forum to think people never search. Of course I did my own read ups but at the same time I want to hear from CSers.

    But that tutorial I did not find, thanx for the link.

    And thanx for all advises!
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  16. #16

    Default Re: Advice on shooting car pics

    Posted some of the pics at this thread.

    Thanx for the help, people.
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Advice on shooting car pics

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    and..

    Benchmarc shoots a lot of cars, you can see his website here to get ideas with regards to execution , ideas, etc. mostly done in singapore.

    he used to have a lot of pictures, but i checked them, he has removed them from photobucket.
    I'm totally inspired by his photos !!
    Canon 50D| 28-75mm 2.8 : 50mm 1.8 : 85mm 1.8 | 580EX-II |

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