I have always loved automobiles, as a child I had book after book about the history of the important marques, and could recite the specification list of all the newest exotic vehicles. As I aged, I began to be interested in not just the cars but also the photography. I marveled at how photographers could freeze a moment in time and use it to tell a story.
After getting my own car I quickly began to modify it, opening my eyes to a new world of automotive culture. The aftermarket automotive culture is composed of a variety of different groups of people, but all are united in the spirit of modifying cars to be better in some way. This group of people is where I have met many of my friends and fellow photographers. Now, wherever I go, I can never stop thinking about photography. Whenever I see a unique location, I imagine what kind of car could be best photographed there. Capturing not only a car but the atmosphere around it is what can make a photograph tell a story.
When photographing an automobile I try to capture more than just a picture of the car; I try to capture the aura of the car. In my opinion, the most important components of any photograph are lighting, composition and location. These are especially important with automotive photography. I try to match these components with the car that I am photographing. I always have a vision of what I want the final images to look like. I have no definitive shot list; I just shoot until I feel satisfied with the images that I have taken. Sometimes I take hundreds or thousands of images, where as other times I will take only 40 or 50.
I try to work with the owners of the cars, as it is their car. If there is a certain picture they want, even if it is not what I envisioned, I gladly take it for them. The owners are the ones who are giving me this opportunity to do something that I love; to some it may seem like work but to me it is a dream. I never imagined that one day I would be the one taking the pictures that impressed other people. One of the best feelings is taking a picture, showing it to the owner and seeing their face light up with delight. It is great to be able to bring a smile to someone's face while doing something that I love.
Recently, I have been focusing on post- processing. Post-processing is using an image editing program, such as Photoshop or Lightroom, to edit the images. There are some photographers who use this to alter the photographs but I prefer to use it to enhance them. My processing is fairly simple; focusing mainly on color and contrast, but it has been gradually getting more complex as I learn new things. One of the hardest things to process is rig shots. These rig shots are accomplished by attaching a camera to the end of a long boom and then attaching the boom to the car via suction cup mounts. This provides a sturdy mount to capture a long exposure of the car moving, giving an incredible sense of speed to an image where the car was actually only coasting at a fraction of the speed it looks like it is going. Editing these images can become difficult and time-consuming because the rig must be cloned out of the picture before I can begin processing it for color and contrast.
I am still only an amateur photographer, but I feel that I am constantly improving and finding new inspiration every day. This is my first post and I hope that it will help to inspire other young photographers to pursue their passion. In future articles I plan to explore other aspects of automotive photography, including one of my favorites, automotive racing. As I expand my horizons I hope to branch out into more street and landscape photography, but automotive photography will always be my first true passion.
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