Those that follow my stuff know that I predominantly work with models and the like with a few motorcycle images thrown in from time to time. Truth is I love motor-sport and automotive photography but often don’t get the chance to shoot it. Its always fun when I get the chance to shoot with my studio and lighting techniques and I get to hang around a car or a bike.
I have worked with Brooke some time ago it was brought to my attention that she had purchased a 1996 R33 Skyline. Now those that are into cars will know how difficult it can be to get unique cars to shoot. I jumped on the chance to work with her to shoot both herself and the car.
My primary goal for the day was “Shoot a car in full sun without making it look like I had used studio lights”
When we turned up, Brooke went of with the make up artist and left me with the keys to her car. I had scouted this location earlier and knew where i wanted the car to sit. The most important image in my head was the front 3/4 shot. The type you see in magazines or video games. (Anyone play Real Racing 3?) In the past I have used two side lights (with softboxes) and a speed light in the grill. I setup the image in the same way but elected to go bare with the 2 flash heads and put them up much higher. The reason for this is that I want to A/ get more power out of the heads as the sun was bright, B/ Try to eliminate any reflections on the car that would come with a large soft box and C/ by having the lights so high, the angle of incidence of the lights will not reflect back into the camera.
This is the car sitting out there with the correct exposure of the background and elements light by the sun.
I placed the lights and turned on the AB1600 that is closest to me
I turned it on and balanced the fill, bearing in mind this is also where I was going to introduce my model later on. (I was going to switch this one out for a softbox.) Once I was happy with that exposure I turned on the back light and adjusted as such.
Once this was done I did not worry about filling the grill in with the speed light as the suns angle was just right in lighting the front for me.
Both lights are full power into the 7″ reflector. I was using the vagabond battery pack and I chewed through a full charge in about 100 frames. After that I went looking for some shade to bring the power down.
This is the image I was after.
One of the hardest issues when shooting cars is to have the space to work with. I found a large open space that worked really well. The 3/4 image was shot on the D7000 at about 98mm and I was probably 60m away laying on the ground. The difficulty in my area is finding urban sprawl that you can access and have the room to move.
At the end of the day I was quite happy in that I feel i met my brief. I feel that I was able to light the car in the 3/4 shot to make the image look like their is no obvious use of strobes. Especially considering it was a silver car. Next project! Anybody own a McLaren MP4-12C?
And a final note, the model in question is actually the owner of the car and don’t get in her way. Brooke Terrell, check her out here https://www.facebook.com/pages/Brooke-Terrell-Model/206844306075129