Monday, March 17, 2008

Getting Your Own Shots

Car Shots

Many people with attractive cars, and a goodly number with ugly ones, want good photos of the vehicles. When they find out what guys like myself have to charge to make a living, that desire tends to take a back seat to mortgage or rent, food, college savings for the kids, gasoline, insurance and other every day nuisance items.

You'd still love to have some shots larger than the 4x6s stuffed in your glove box, or in a flipper book in your trunk, but the idea of dropping $750 on a camera and $750 more on a couple of lenses, plus $250 for a flash unit, makes the idea of a pro photographer look better...or makes the entire project something that gets shoved to the rear of the stove, to simmer but to never make soup.

It doesn't have to be that way.

Most digital current cameras are capable of giving excellent automotive shots, with a bit of care, and, maybe, a few other bits of equipment.

As a pro, I don't use the most expensive gear around. First, for magazine publication, it isn't necessary. Second, I'm semi-retired and don't want to deal with too much work, which I'd need to do to drop $4,500 for a camera body and another $4,500 on lenses.

I'm time constrained today--that really means today, I'm more semi than retired--so we'll look quickly at a couple of items, and leave the rest for later.

Cameras: Digitally Speaking

Yes, a digital single lens reflex (DSLR) and an array of three lenses is best, if you have the experience to use them. Failing that, a decent point and shoot (P&S) camera works and
can be made to work well. You're unlikely to be able to go much over 8" x 10" in print size, but a 5, 6, 7 megapixel (MP) P&S can do the job, though the lack of a true wide angle possibility means you need multiple shots to cover the interior stages.

Most of my shots are done with a Pentax DSLR, using one of a variety of lenses. As DSLRs go, the Pentax line is low cost, but with high end features and structure (for the most part). When I get time, I'll take my wife's Canon A460 along, and use its 5MP sensor to get some shots for this site, but until then, all you'll see is from one of my Pentaxes.

For the moment, then...check out Jack Akers' 1969 Pontiac convertible.