Car Show Photography: Tip o’ the Week

by | May 8, 2012

TIP: Ask owners to remove any placards that are placed under their windshield (windscreen if British) wipers.

It’s getting to be car show season again: If you get to the show early and you should placards may not have already been placed under the windshield (windscreen if you’re British) wiper and the added benefit to being an early bird is that it’s also less crowded so people won’t walk into your shot. Most owners can talk for hours about their cars because there never was a restoration project that didn’t have some interesting twists and turns. While chatting ask them to also remove any show placards such as the identification cards placed on the dash or under the windshield wiper. Don’t do it yourself!  Always ask the owner before touching any part of his or her car! It’s best to have them to remove any show placards, so ask politely

Nissan-powered Hot Rod at SEMA

This Nissan-powered hot rod (above) was photographed at the SEMA auto show in Las Vegas—with the hood up! (Sometimes you can’t always get what you want.) Exposure with a Canon EOS 5D was 1/40 sec at f/4.0 and ISO 800.

You don’t have to be an expert on a particular marque or even cars in general, but you should be curious and polite when inspecting a car that might make an ideal photographic subject. If you see the owner, ask them a question. People who own interesting cars often have interesting stories to tell about their cars before it reaches the state where you would want to photograph it. If the owner is not around and the light is perfect, just shoot it as it is and try to select and angle that minimizes the placard or makes it easy to remove using Photoshop later in the digital darkroom.

Allard in Infrared

This Allard above was captured using a Canon EOS D30 that had been converted to infrared-only capture by LifePixel. Exposure through an eBay purchased Russian 16mm f/2.8 lens was 1/160 AT F/16 and ISO 200 in Av mode.

I’ve found that Life Pixel does a great job with IR conversions and they’ve done most of the conversions for my Canon DSLRs and all of my Panasonic Lumix G-series cameras. This is not a paid or sponsored endorsement, just my experience.

My book, The Complete Guide to Digital Infrared Photography is available from Amazon with used copies selling for $9.99 as I write this. Creative Digital Monochrome Effects has a chapter on IR photography and is available from Amazon with used copies starting at $4.00.