Photo Tips From A Pro
Action shots are one of the most important aspects of vehicle photography, and the reason's simple: Motion creates emotion. A moving shot can add another dimension to a car, lending it action and energy, and in some cases completely changing the car's look once those wheels begin spinning. But there's more than one way to capture that infamous rolling shot.
Panning: This is likely the oldest and most recognized technique. Panning is the art of following your subject with your camera-and a steady hand-in order to capture the subject in focus while blurring the backdrop. Experimenting with various shutter speeds based on available light, and using a fluid, "twist at the hip" motion is important to nailing down the technique. Too fast of a shutter speed will freeze the wheels, which is the exact opposite of what you want. Too slow of a shutter speed will blow out the surrounding background. The perfect compromise will yield a properly exposed shot with a good amount of motion, and without blowing out the surroundings. If you're using a longer, heavier lens, you might consider a monopod or a tripod with a swivel head that'll keep the camera level and vibration-free. In most cases, the subject won't be as sharp as a still photo since the camera's moving, but the slightly unfocused shot can still be a good one as long as the background blur is prominent.
Car-To-Car: This method of shooting is pretty self-explanatory, but you'll need two assistants-one to drive the subject vehicle and one to drive yours. Position your vehicle wherever you want-in front of, behind, or next to the subject. Take shots using various shutter speeds and vehicle speeds until you get the effect you want. Like panning, numerous shots should be taken to ensure that you'll have something useable for your client. Safety is a big factor here, as well as avoiding authorities since the whole process isn't exactly legal.
The Rig Shot: Almost as much of an art as it is a science, the rig shot is the one that's constantly questioned and is a long sought-after technique. Some photographers don't exactly like sharing their techniques with amateurs while others thrive on that sort of thing. It's widely known that the "rig" is made up of aluminum poles, clamps, and suction cups or magnets, but the setup is more complicated than it sounds. The camera is attached to the subject vehicle and moves with it as the photographer or assistant pushes the car. A controlled and much slower shutter speed can be used in order to achieve the ideal, high-speed look. The benefits? Rig shots are undeniably sharp when compared to panning and car-to-car photography. Rigs also give the option for a safe and controlled environment with no need for long runways or open roads. Whatever process you choose, practice and experimentation are crucial to success.
Work For Ht...Sort Of
The Great Honda Tuning Photog Search
Think you've got what it takes to shoot a feature for Honda Tuning magazine? All it takes is that winning submission to Honda Tuning's official Oh Snaps! photo contest and you could be on your way to a life of automotive fortune and fame...or at least have the chance to shoot a Civic and get paid for it. Read on for contest rules and details.
EMAIL SUBMISSIONS TO:
Keep things Honda/Acura related and use your imagination. We need high-resolution images sized to a minimum of 4x4 inches at 300 dpi-low-res snapshots, links to photo storage accounts or websites, watermarked images, and blurry 3x5 prints will be tossed into the round filing cabinet. All submissions must be accompanied by complete contact information including your name, phone number, shipping address, email address, and website address (if applicable). You can't win if we don't know who you are. Eligible Oh Snaps! winners' photography will be printed each month, and Grand Prize, Honda Tuning Photog Search winners will be named in the July and Winter '09 issues. That's right, you've got two chances to win, and two photographers will walk away with an opportunity to shoot for Honda Tuning magazine.