Automotive Photography and Graphic Arts

  1. Introduction:

If you have just picked up a camera for the first time, or have been taking pictures for years, the information contained in this guide will ensure that you do not overlook anything as you frame and shoot that picture. Taking your photographs to the next level, by using a few computer tools, no special filters, and free clip art, we will walk you through the steps to create a picture like the one on the cover of this book as easy as 1-2-3.

When displaying your vehicle at a show, enthusiasts like yourself pay close attention to every detail down to the shine on the bolts to ensure that the automobile is perfect. The end quality of your pictures is dependent upon your attention to details. Whenever we take a photograph for a client and create their unique art we do exactly the same. Starting with the right photograph is key and we will provide some often overlooked aspects of automotive photography. Remember that you must start with the right photograph in order to obtain good and even great results

  1. Digital Photography Basics For Automobiles:

There are two assumptions made here. The first is, that you are interested in color photography and the second is that you have read your camera owners manual and understand the features and capabilities at least at a basic level. With that said the intent of this guide is to help you get started with taking photographs and getting the best possible results. Before we continue, there is one thing often overlooked until it is too late that will ruin a great photograph. Shut off the date and time stamp feature. You can be sure that it will always take away from the picture or be in the wrong place where no amount of editing can account for it.

The focus here is to start with the best of everything possible and use your camera to the fullest. This does not mean that you need to spend $2000 on a camera and special lenses, but it does mean taking advantage of the best capabilities your camera provides. Even a $100 camera can create good small prints. After you understand your cameras feature menu and how to navigate it go back and re-read the picture quality section again. Once you understand that section set your camera to the BEST modes possible

2.3. Always Use The Flash- Well Usually

No matter if you are using a standard film camera, or a digital camera you want to be sure that your camera ALWAYS uses the flash. The only possible exception to this would be for indoor photography where there are halogen or other obtrusive lighting that you may have to experiment with. To force your camera to use the flash set your camera to “FORCE Flash” or “Fill Flash”, not “AUTOMATIC Flash”. This flash is often represented by a “lightening bolt” symbol. Automatic flash will determine if the flash goes off based upon the amount of light detected. When we tell you to use your flash in the sun, automatic flash will almost never turn on since it will think there is sufficient lighting. Using the flash helps to illuminate the shadowing areas, as well as minimizing any glare along with balancing the overall lighting. Force flash should be used for exterior shots, cockpit shots, and engine bay shots.

You compose and shoot that great engine bay shot and then realize when you are working with the photograph later that all you see if the top of the engine and nothing more. The flash will make the steering box, headers and other components stand out as well as enhance the top of the engine detail and make the colors stand out even more. The following examples show the difference with and without flash. In the first figure the image is rather washed out and with the blue not so blue and the red and other colors not all that brilliant.

2.7. Lens Filters and Shades

If you must take photographs in bright sun, such as an outside car show, use a lens shade and force to overcome the harsh sun. The other alternative to use especially if your flash is not powerful enough flash is to use a polarizing filter instead of the flash. The polarizing filter is one of the most useful filters for outdoor photography and is a requirement for any serious photographer, especially for those that use a digital camera. A polarizing filter will reduce the glare and make colors stand out more in harsh sun conditions. These filters can significantly reduce white-outs or wash-outs (surfaces with the primary color all washed out) due to bright reflections. Some photograph flaws can be edited out and touched up, however, these flaws are nearly impossible to eliminate after the fact and make look natural.

A second important tool to have in your camera bag is a lens shade. A lens shade is inexpensive and is attached on the end of your lens to keep excess light from directly entering lens. It basically provides a tunnel that shields the optics (lens), and due to its black color absorbs any bouncing light. This helps the camera to better detect the light levels of the subject.

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