So, what’s involved in getting your car or bike photographed to a professional level? Let’s take a look at the process:
ON THE DAY
We’ll meet at a pre-determined location to conduct the photo shoot. This will usually take place in the late afternoon, an hour or two before dusk when the light is nice and even.
The photo shoot is typically going to take between three and five hours, depending on whether it’s a custom bike or a car and also other factors, such as adding car camera rig shots to the process or if we plan to light paint your vehicle at night. Both these processes add time and complexity to the shoot. For instance, adding just one or two rig shots to the shoot will add at least an extra hour.
We generally supply any magazine with around 50 to 60 finished images per vehicle – car or bike regardless. However, as many as 120 images will be taken during a full photo shoot. We’ll take images of all the different aspects of your vehicle, from the outside (full front, side, full rear, ‘front 3/4’, ‘rear 3/4’ and variations from different elevations), shots of the inside (whole interior, close-up details) and close-up detail shots of other elements like wheels and brakes, badges, the boot, engine bay, undercarriage and even more, like motion shots and portraits of the owner.
All these separate shots require the setup of lighting and other tools to make your pride and joy look the way they do in magazines and it all takes time and experience to make it happen.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
While a four or five hour photo shoot might seem like a long process, more than double that time can be spent on the computer once the photo shoot is complete. An average car photo shoot will take an entire business day to process (8 to 10 hours). After culling those 100+ images down to the desired 50 to 60, it’s time to hit programs like Lightroom and Photoshop where those core images are finessed to obtain perfect exposure, contrast and colour. Besides experience and talent, the reason a professional can make your car look like a superstar is through careful and knowledgeable use of programs like this to tweak and perfect each image; removing dust spots, dents, scratches, light flares, rubbish, reflections and more.
If we’ve decided to photograph your car using a camera rig or a light painting technique, there will be five to 10 ‘layers’ of images for each angle we’ve photographed (in the case of light painting, lighting separate sections of the car in each frame). These are compiled in Photoshop, layered and blended to create a single perfect image. Even in late afternoon, daylight photo shoots, there will still be some blending of layers from multiple exposures that need to be worked in Photoshop. It’s this attention to detail that separates the professionals from the cheap (granted, keen and willing) amateurs.
10 THINGS TO REMEMBER
- Make sure your car is cleaner than it has ever been.
- The above goes for your engine bay and interior, too!
- Bring some basic cleaning gear with you in case it gets dusty.
- Leave all your mates at home – they’re just a distraction.
- One or two extra mates can actually be a big help. But not if they’re drunk.
- Have your tech sheet completed and ready on or before the day of the shoot.
- Unless your boot is totally stock or unmodified, make sure it isn’t full of junk.
- We’ll probably want to photograph you too, so wear something half decent.
- It’s going to take at least three hours. Don’t have somewhere else to be.
- YOUR TECH SHEET MUST BE COMPLETED BEFORE THE SHOOT BEGINS!
(See also: Private Shoots)