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Thread: Car photos

  1. #1
    hacker extraordinaire
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    Car photos

    After a lifetime of not being a car person, I just bought myself a midlife-crisis convertible. Of course I figured I would combine hobbies and make a definitive (B&W) portrait of my car before I crash it. However i really don't know where to start having paid no attention to cars or car advertising over the years (and being distracted by the 'hood or ornament' models the rest of the time). Does anyone have a favorite hot rod or classic advertising photo? Any suggestions? I'm mostly not sure where the light should be coming from.
    Science is what we understand well enough to explain to a computer. Art is everything else we do.
    --A=B by Petkovšek et. al.

  2. #2

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    Re: Car photos

    Hey!!!! You're a car guy. I'm a car guy... just spent yesterday at the first car show for the season in our area. There will be 2-3 shows a month for the next 4 month, within 50 miles radius of my driveway. Exotics, customs, rods, restored, unmolested originals. You name it, I'll be shooting it (the show that is) for all of Summer.

    Anyway, I found this book at Barnes and Noble some years ago. The Author is a veteran car/motocycle photographer. The book is still available for as low as $13 used (as you can see). I always buy my books on Amazon used. Often they are better than if I had bought a new one after I've owned it for a couple of months. I'm for the savings. Never got one missing a page or written in or page corners turned down.

    As you can see by the reviews, the most common complaint is that it is out of date because it doesn't cover digital. That was perfect for me, because I am shooting film and I wanted to know how to light cars both in static settings,(adertising) and create great effects. This book is great that way.

    I think as a large format person who is likely to be shooting film, you will be pleased. Frankly most current books spend way too much time on digital and digital camera settings.

    http://www.amazon.com/How-Photograph...ar+photography

    PS.. for many years in the 70's and 80', I had a hobby shop at my home, restoring British cars, then moved to Italian (EYE-Talion). Mostly Alfa. I have often thought about renting about a thousand square feet of warehouse space and setting it up for static display auto/MC photography. I am swimming in an area of excessive abundance of show cars. Talked to a guy at the show yesterday that has about $250,000 wrapped up in a bright yellow Ford Cabriolet L1 powered. Surely he can afford a few nicely done pics...???

  3. #3
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    Re: Car photos

    I'm into Jaguar and Saab as far as ownership, but I like a lot of cars I see. Most of the books and catalogs and advertising are car porn.. Nothing wrong with that, but not particularly creative either. Journalism photos used to make people read articles. Tell us what you've got and perhaps we can guide you to something inspiration for your car and how it's been photographed. It varies much between cars, but often the details are as beautiful as the whole thing.

    Here's one of my flickr contacts who does much car photos:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/rc97/

    My stuff:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/13759696@N02/

    Also check Jim Galli's stuff. Google it.

    A couple of groups I follow:
    http://www.flickr.com/groups/limerockphotos/
    http://www.flickr.com/groups/cardetails/


    I'd stick to sunny side toward you and don't get your shadow on the car. Or pick a gray day. A lower shooting position such as 3-4' high also makes things look a little nicer than eyeball height.

  4. #4

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    Re: Car photos

    Years ago one of my colleagues, then an amateur photographer interested in drag racing wanted to try to sell pictures of dragsters nicely posed and in action to drag racing magazines. Took nice pictures, made no sales, complained bitterly to me.

    I counseled him to look at the pictures his target magazine published. And then told him that to my eye there were only three pictures in the magazine. It was a case of same picture, different subject, over and over again. He got the idea, started selling, and eventually was able to shoot as he wanted and still sell. To my eye, he's still taking the same picture over and over but I don't think he agrees. He ended up specializing in drag bikes. Matt Polito, you can google him.

    Go to the library, look at a couple of car magazines, and go from there. If you're not going to try to sell to the mags, don't let them box you in.

  5. #5

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    Re: Car photos

    The old Harrah's Automobile Museum in Reno (I don't know what they call it now) has a series of postcards of maybe a hundred of the creme. These are supurb examples of automotive "portraits" when it comes to background and lighting for cars, but these were all color. For B&W ideas, look at issues of Car and driver and Road and Track from the 70's (the Henry N. Manney and Brock Yates golden years!)
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  6. #6
    David Brown bigdog's Avatar
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    Re: Car photos

    You're not old enough to have your midlife crisis yet!

  7. #7
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    Re: Car photos

    Quote Originally Posted by bigdog View Post
    You're not old enough to have your midlife crisis yet!
    Might as well get it over with. Plus, you can never count on living an average lifespan so if I wait till the usual age I might miss out.
    Science is what we understand well enough to explain to a computer. Art is everything else we do.
    --A=B by Petkovšek et. al.

  8. #8
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: Car photos

    Better a sporty car for a midlife crisis than a foolish divorce.

  9. #9

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    Re: Car photos

    Quote Originally Posted by bigdog View Post
    You're not old enough to have your midlife crisis yet!
    Clearly you have not been told, nor have you read any Gail Sheehy.

    In 1984 Gail Sheehy released a book called "Passages: Predictable Crises of Adult Life". It turned out the be a very good read. I can't give you the complete text of the book but the premise was that as adults we go through 5-7 critical passages in our lives. The worst of these are often referred to at mid-life crisis' but we don't have just one, according to many theorists in psychological fields..

    The reason those passages have such a disastrous effect on our significant relationships is that individually we are navigating those "passages" at completely different time than our mates and other close relationships.... So, is every new sports car we buy an indication of ONE of those "passages".... probably not. But when, if ever, are we "too young" to have them.

    Frankly it was an extremely popular and interesting book in it's time. Her previous book was extremely informational about dealing with the Passages of women dealing with Menopause. It was titled Silent Passage.

    Sorry guys, but sometimes we just need to "release" and talk about these things. OOOH ... I feel the need for a new car. I just bought a 1991 Saab Convertible, and already need another fix.

  10. #10

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    Re: Car photos

    Quote Originally Posted by BetterSense View Post
    After a lifetime of not being a car person, I just bought myself a midlife-crisis convertible. Of course I figured I would combine hobbies and make a definitive (B&W) portrait of my car before I crash it.
    If you don't have a head full of car images, congratulate yourself and do your own thing. There are too many weak copies of the same old stuff out there already. Starting from scratch is a big chance to produce something original.

    Michael

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