Monday, April 14, 2008


The past month has been hectic to a degree that has kept me from posting. I'm in the finishing stages of writing a fairly comprehensive book; Signs of age creep in, as I can no longer work with the speed I once was able to muster. Thus, to any readers who might be out there, I apologize, both for that, and for what has to be the brevity of this post.

Composition is always a consideration with automobile photography (as with any photography), so always try to think of what you want to show, or hide, before you start clicking the shutter.

For example, if a vehicle is short and stubby, you may need to think about emphasizing that, letting it ride, or shooting at an angle that stretches the apparent length. Direct side angles tend to tell the truth about the size, while 3/4 shots, from front or rear, emphasize length. Shoot lower (flat on the back works) and get more length; Shoot higher and get less. I always carry at least a 6' stepladder with me. For extreme height, the ladder sits in the back of my small pick-up (Chevy S10) and get as high as I want to go without a bucket lift.

For a time, I shot most of my vehicles on the best looking surface I could find, often grass. That, it turns out, is not what most editors want to see for their features. Cars and trucks are used on pavement, so shoot them on pavement or gravel or dirt of some kind if possible. Trees make wonderful accents, but bad overall cover as the leaves reflect in the paint and trim and glass, mottling the effect an owner may have spent thousands of bucks to create. Compose the shots so white lines are not present, unless you're shooting a moving vehicle.

Composing a shot with the vehicle as the central object is the intent. The entire vehicle, though, need not be in the shot.

Thoughtful composition beats just blasting away. It also saves time when you have to upload and process the files.

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