Photographing Cars at Cars and Coffee

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

Light has four major qualities: color, quality, quantity and direction. As photographers seeking to master the art of exposure, seeing that light is the key mastering the art of exposure

If there’s any secret at all to obtaining the best possible exposure, it’s learning how to see the light falling on your subject, especially the range of shadows and highlights within the scene. Italian Renaissance painters called it chiaroscuro and it’s the use of effects representing contrasts of light to achieve a sense of three-dimensionality within a two dimensional frame.

Learning to see light is not difficult but does take some practice. That practice should take the form of not only constantly making new images but also taking the time to analyze those photographs after you’ve created them.

One of the first tips that I give to aspiring car photographers is that they should slightly underexpose black cars to render them as black and overexpose white ones, so they look white. When you think about this concept, it makes perfect sense: By forcing the exposure toward middle gray tones, which is what your in-camera or handheld light meter will do, you end up with a white car that looks gray or a black car that looks a different shade of gray too.

The images you see here were made at the monthly Cars & Coffee event sponsored in part by Vehicle Vault, 18301 Lincoln Meadows Parkway Parker, Colorado 80134. The next event is November 10, 2015. Starts: 9:00 am, ends: – 12:00 pm. Hope to see you there.


Light is the primary element of any photograph, but it may also be the most frustrating. Rick Sammon can help you eliminate those frustrations. With over 300 new images, Exploring Photographic Exposure takes you through the basics of exposure and how to apply them in any setting