Going through my unused archives from a Lamborghini Gallardo shoot from December I spent a little time experimenting with the filters in Color Efex Pro 4. It took me awhile to get used to the UI changes in this new version, but after not liking 4 I now prefer how you can add multiple filters at once. In this Lamborghini shot I used no less than four filters, starting with the usual Pro Contract and Polarization filters, then the Glamour Glow filter before finishing with the Cross Color filter. The image started out as a 9-exposure HDR. The biggest impact of the filters was a contrast improvement, a softening of details and an overall warm tint to the tone of the image. What do you think . . too much or looks cool?
My last photo shoot of the year was a special one, a Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 with custom black ADV.1 wheels. The owner contacted me wanting some personal images made of his new Lamborghini with some stress on capturing the custom made ADV.1 wheels. For the location of the shoot, there were some potential warehouse locations to use, but in the end we went to my tried and true Ybor City location. I had previously shot there in the late afternoon and dusk, so this was my first bright daylight shoot there featuring Tampa Car Photography.
Despite the abundance of sunshine, I knew with the white car I wanted to make a shot that had a largely black background. The above image was made by using a fast shutter speed in the field, then adding some vignette in editing afterwards. The lights under the car are two speedlights I placed to show detail in the custom ADV.1 wheels.
I first found this curbside composition when doing a Porsche 911 shoot in July. To change things up this time I shot the car from the rear to show off the quad exhaust and rear diffuser.
One of my trademark shots is to feature the center of the car's wheel, the brake rotor and then a side wall detail. In this case you can see the ADV.1 logo on the wheel, part of the Lamborghini logo on the brake caliper and the LP 550-2 badging on the side of the car. That means 550hp and rear wheel drive.
More stylizing for this shot. When I made it I knew I would ultimately like to cut the background out, so I shot it with the background overexposed in the field, then just cut it completely out in Photoshop as well as darkening the foreground.
For further variety, I composed the Lamborghini to look small in the frame and let the background compliment the supercar. This was all just part 1 of photographing the client's Lamborghini. There will be another shoot coming up at night that I am really excited for!
Ben called me up about photographing his custom Porsche 911 in Tampa Florida which I learned was done at Champion Porsche, as you can see by the 911 on the back being replaced by F77. The Porsche 911 has long been my favorite sports car, since I was a kid, and I have not had the opportunity to photograph one for a client yet so I was very excited. This shoot was a little different though as Ben wanted photos for selling the car! Many of the shots I made for him were stylized, but a bit less so than I might normally making them more like the shoots I do for big auctions houses that just want the car show from all angles. Thus, some of the shots you see here were edited just for my portfolio, and not necessarily included with the ones I sent to the client.
The above shot was my first time to photograph a car from this above and behind angle, partially to show the vents over the rear engine hood on the Porsche. This shot also features the custom "F77" badge. Oh, and if this location looks familiar to you, this is the fifth car shoot I have done at this Ybor City location! Clients see my previous images from here and want to have it for their own cars also.
This shot I made black & white for myself, as I thought it made the 911 look even more agressive and menacing just waiting there in the middle of the street for any challengers.
This was the first time at this Ybor City location that there were no cars parked on the street, which allowed for just parking the Porsche in the middle of it and getting some new shots I have not made here before in the previous shoots. That said, some dude did just show up and park his car right by our shoot! Now this is a desolate area, and after 5pm everything is shut down for blocks around. So we politely asked the guy if he could move his car, which he did. Then he proceeded to walk way off to who knows where. Why park here then??
HDR is not always needed to shoot in mixed lighting, as seen in the above shot. No sky is featured in the shot, so I just let the shutter speed stay open until I got the exposure I wanted. Shooting with my Nikkor 105mm VR micro f/2.8G lens, which of course is a prime lens, resulted in the starburst look coming from the headlights.
This exact interior shot was my first attempt, and the lighting looked cool and dramatic, but not appropriate for the purpose of trying to show the interior for selling the car. I liked the image for myself, though, and made it more stylized by converting it to black & white. For the client, I introduced another speedlight on the driver's side to produce an evenly lit shot.
I never remember to get a shot of me at my shoots, but this time the lights were already setup and I asked Ben if he would mind getting in a portrait with me and his Porsche. Good luck selling it Ben!
In part 1 of the Nissan GT-R in Ybor City shoot I did for 360|Forged wheels, I featured daylight images. Here in part 2 are late evening to night car photographs made using strobist techniques. Thanks to help from the owner of the GT-R and his friend, I was able to make these bonus shots during the shoot with very specific light placement. Basically, instead of my speedlights just being on light stands, the lights were able to be used upside down pointed at the wheels or areas of the car I thought best highlighted the GT-R.
For the above shot I achieved the black background by first aiming the two speedlights only at the car to manage background light spill, and then using Photoshop to turn any visible spill to pure black. In reality, this shot was made in the same spot as the first photograph in this post.
Where in the first two photographs the lights were both pointed low toward the Nissan GT-R, in this shot one light was held high above the hood of the car (see setup shot below). Another light was used along the rear quarter panel and driver's side to let shadows be created for showing the different lines of the car's design. The slow 1/8th shutter speed was used to pull some light out of the Tampa skyline for the background.
I received a phone call last week from 360|Forged about photographing a Nissan GT-R in Tampa owned by one of their clients. They make custom wheels and wanted a shoot of the GT-R focused on showing the wheels. They saw my Lexus IS F shoot and liked that Ybor City location so the whole GT-R shoot came together quickly. (view Part 2 night strobist images)
I had done three previous car shoots at this particular Ybor City location that I found on my own during a scouting trip a few years ago for the IS F client. I never like to repeat myself when I go out shooting, but having already made close to three dozen car photographs in this spot, I had to really look to find some fresh angles and backgrounds. Luckily, there were still plenty of new setups to mine from that Ybor City location as the above shot I had never done before. I utilized the ONE WAY sign in the shot, pointing in the opposite direction of course to create a more rebellious nature to the look of the image.
I knew for the photo above I wanted to make just a front quarter panel composition of the Nissan GT-R in a long shot using an 80-200mm lens. I shot from downhill to further exaggerate the angle. Quite a bit of distraction was cleaned up from the backround leaving just the white Nissan GT-R on red brick framed by white clouds.
I often shoot with a lot of extra space around the intended subject. This was the case in the above photograph. In the uncropped version the sky was visible as well as the intersection down the street. I liked that shot as it was, but I decided to crop in and put more of the focus on the car and the red brick background.
Thank you to the GT-R's owner and his friend for assisting in lining up the car for these shots. This collection of Nissan GT-R photos is just part one, all in daylight. Part two will feature strobist twilight images.
Dustin contacted me about photographing his 2004 Corvette Z06 in the same Ybor City Tampa location he has seen my photographs of a Mustang and a Lexus IS F. He was open to me shooting however I liked, not wanting any replicated photos and I really wanted to try and produce some different shots after having already shot at this exact spot twice before. Thanks to our well timed shoot and Mother Nature cooperating with a very well positioned sunset, I was able to produce some new shots for this Corvette shoot.
One of the big differences with the shots from this car photography shoot was I did not rely on HDR for most of the shots. I still shot a majority of bracketed shots, but I ended up using one of those exposures, as in the shot above, to produce the final image. I feel this improves my car photography shooting style offering future clients even more variety in final images. What motivated me to shoot like this? Looking at lots of photographs of cars on Autoblog.com. Looking at photographs is a great way to improve your own photography, no matter what you are shooting or what experience level you are.
One of the original reasons I scouted this Ybor City shooting location was that the client wanted to have his car near train tracks. Well these tracks are very active as you can see above allowing me to make a "Corvette vs. Train" shot. I wonder what the train engineer was thinking?
I still did make some 9-exposure HDR final images though, like the one above allowing me to show the full details of the red Corvette and full detail in the bright sky background. As you can see in the shots above, with a single exposure that much detail in the sky cannot be preserved unless you make an HDR image.
Most car shots are usually from a low angle, but I wanted to show more of the shape of the hood of this Corvette so I maxed out the leg height of my tripod to get this upper view of the car and used another 9 exposures to make this HDR image.
A tight rear quarter panel and rear wheel composition is one of my favorite views to photograph a car from, as seen in the photo above. I think it creates a somewhat exaggerated and therefore interesting view of a car, especially if it has nice wheels!
For the last shots of the afternoon we went to the other side of the warehouse out of direct sunlight. Even though there was no bright sky to contend with, I chose to shoot in brackets and ended up using all 9-exposures to make the HDR image above. In doing so details in the shadows of the car and gate above were revealed.
I returned to an Ybor City location I used some time ago to photograph a Lexus IS F. This time I met a client with a 1996 Ford Mustang Cobra in the rare mystic color that can look green or purple depending on the light. The above shot used a new technique that I tried for the first time involving taking many shots as I walk around the car with a speedlight in a brolly. Then all those shots are blended together into a composite showing the best list portions of each one.
For this shoot the surrounding environment was really included as-is, which meant the dumpster with graffiti was composed in the frame to contrast with the car, the ominous sky and the distant city skyline. Using a 9-exposure HDR composite allows for shooting into the sun like this.
More subjects of varying contrast in this shot starting at the top with the American flag waving coming down to an American icon in the Ford Mustang. The flag was waving but appears without blur in this HDR image because the final step I took in editing was to mask in a single frame of the flag.
In the above shot you can see some interesting "hearts" graffiti on the brick wall. I wondered who would make such an expression in such a place and thus definitely wanted to feature it in the background of some of the shots.
No hearts in this rectangle of red graffiti. Maybe a yet to be finished work?