McLaren 650S

Yellow McLaren 650S Spider Clearwater St Petersburg Car Photography

Yellow McLaren 650S Spider at Dimmit Automotive Florida Car Photography - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/11 ISO 200 7-exposure HDR tripod mounted with cable releaseFeatured prominently in the front window of the Dimmitt Automotive showroom in Pinellas Park Florida, this yellow McLaren 650S Spider certainly is an eye catcher.  The contrast of the bright yellow paint and black trim on the newly stylized supercar from McLaren looks striking.  I was barely able to squeeze in between the car and the window with my Nikon and tripod to be able to make the above shot.

Carbon fiber trim on a yellow McLaren 650S Spider Florida Car Photographer - Nikon D300 Nikkor 50mm @ f/2.8 ISO 200 1/15th tripod mounted with cable releaseThere was plenty of carbon fiber trim on the body of the McLaren 650S Spider, including all along the rocker panel as seen in the above image.  

Yellow McLaren 650S Spider for sale at Dimmitt Automotive Florida Car Photography - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/11 ISO 200 7-exposure HDR tripod mounted with cable releaseFollow that green exit sign in the window to swing into Dimmitt and part ways with a not unsubstantial amount of cash and you can leave in this yellow McLaren 650S Spider.  I think the color and spider body style work well with the Florida gulf coast lifestyle, well, at least once the sun goes down a little bit.  

The stylish new front headlights on the McLaren 650S Spider St. Petersburg Car Photography - Nikon D300 Nikkor 50mm @ f/2.8 ISO 200 1/30th tripod mounted with cable release

The 650S follows the McLaren 12C which some said was a little boring for an exotic car (I didn't think so).  The 650S borrows design elements, like the above McLaren logo shaped headlights, from the P1 hypercar giving it more than enough flash for a midengined supercar to look the part.

Rear quarter panel view of yellow McLaren 650S Spider Florida Car Photography - Nikon D300 Nikkor 50mm @ f/2 ISO 200 1/40th tripod mounted with cable release

It is always nice to spend time photographing a supercar.  I imagine it as far, far nicer to actually drive one!

McLaren 650S in black multiple strobist blend layer mask photography tip Clearwater Florida Car Photography

What if you want to photograph a large object, especially in a low light situation, but you only have two speedlights, or even only one?  No problem!  Here is how you can do it and what you will need.

Photo gear used to photograph the McLaren 650S indoors:

  • Nikon D300
  • Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8
  • SB-800 & SB-600 Speedlights
  • 2 shoot through umbrellas
  • Yongnuo radio triggers
  • tripod
  • cable release
  • assistant (to help move and hold the lights)
  • Photoshop CS5

A tripod is a must because you will need to take multiple shots from different angles to properly light the subject, in this case the McLaren 650S supercar.  In all I ended up using five photographs to make the one fully lit photograph (below).  I lit the front of the car first, then moved the lights around the car (counterclockwise in this case) taking another photograph each time.  I even had my assistant hold a speedlight over the top of the car (see top most image).  The assistant being in the shot or a lightstand partially being in the shot is no problem at all as the final step takes place at home in Photoshop using layer masks.

In the above photo all 5 shots have been blended together one at a time using layer masks in Photoshop.  I started with the shot of the McLaren 650S lit from the front.  I then dragged it onto the next photo in the series with the driver's side wheels lit up.  I created a layer mask and then revealed the lit wheels photograph underneath, keeping the front lit part from the other photo.  I then flattened all layers and repeated this process using the other three photographs.  You can see shadows from coming from more than two angles in the above shot because effectively ten speedlights were used to light up the car, not just the two in reality I had for the shoot.  

I could have stopped with the 5 shot composite, but I got carried away with removing objects from the background until I finally decided just to remove them all!  I started this edit on Saturday night, and finished it on Monday afternoon it took that long and I kept wanting to do more and more to it.  I did nothing special to remove the background objects, just simply used the Clone Stamp tool on only carefully selected portions of the photo.  Then I removed a lot of the reflections on the car body and cleaned up the floor.  The final result was my most advanced photopraph edit in Photoshop to date!

Give this multiple exposure strobist blend layer mask type image a try and let me know the results in the comments below.

Cars & Couture 2014 Car Owners Gathering Event at Dimmitt Automotive Group Pinellas Park Florida

McLaren 650S in black at Dimmitt Automotive Florida during Cars & Couture Car Owners Gathering event - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/11 ISO 200 5-exposure HDR tripod mounted with cable releaseI was invited to an event at Dimmitt Automotive in Pinellas Park, Florida for a special Car Owners Gathering thanks to Dona who organizes many great car events under her Cars & Couture brand.  I brought along eldest friend Terry to help out with some of the photography.  As you can see from the above photograph, Dimmitt is a MacLaren dealership.  There were several Mclaren 650S supercars in the showroom.  It was my first time to see this update to the McLaren MP4-12C in person.  The 650S is a much more striking looking sports car in person than the 12C, mostly thanks to a new front fascia inspired by the McLaren P1 hypercar.

Guests at Cars & Couture Dimmitt Automotive stand next to a MacLaren 650S in black Clearwater Car Photography - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/5.6 ISO 200 1/60th - Strobist: SB-800 in shoot-through-umbrella to frame rightOften there is not much space to photograph cars at such events, but there was a black McLaren 650S kind of off by itself in a separate area of the showroom.  This allowed me to setup two speedlights and shoot through umbrellas and not only photograph the car itself in great detail (subject of an upcoming blog post), but also to invite guests over to be properly photographed next to the supercar.

The new MacLaren 650S supercar in yellow at Dimmitt Automotive during Cars & Couture event - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/11 ISO 200 5-exposure HDRIf you happen to prefer yellow, there was also a McLaren 650S in that color looking right out the front windows inviting you to come in and put a deposit down on her!  We got there early to be able to photograph the cars before there were too many people mingling about..

Yours truly with my friend Terry who assisted with the shots at Cars & Couture Car Owners Gathering 2014 Dimmitt Automotive - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/8 ISO 400 1/60th - Strobist: SB-800 & SB-600 in shoot through umbrellasFor the last shot of the evening, Terry and I stepped out from behind the camera and the lights for a self-portrait with the black McLaren 650S.  It took a little configuring using the self-timer to position myself symmetrically after pressing the shutter, but I am glad we made the effort to get ourselves both in the shot and add another photo to our scrapbook that now spans almost three decades.

Guests wanted to pose with the MacLaren 650S at Cars & Couture Dimmitt Automotive Clearwater Event Photography - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/5.6 ISO 200 1/60th - Strobist: SB-800 in shoot through umbrella to frame rightOne last shot to show how well the McLaren 650S photographs, especially when bookended by willing volunteer models!  Thank you Dona for another great car event and to Terry for assisting in the making of these photographs.