As National Photographer’s day is observed on August 19th, what better occasion to try your hand at automotive photography?
Here are some recollections and a bit of life hacks to make automotive photography one step easier from my short stint in trying to act like one.
GEAR DOES NOT MATTER-
The best camera is the one you have with you, right now. A little paraphrasing by Casey Neistat. Forget fancy Mirrorless and the league of DSLRs. Modern smartphones can pack a decent punch, and can even hold a massive candle to professional cameras. Download a manual camera app if you’re feeling frisky and you’re good to go, as it almost gives you the same control over parameters that a conventional camera has. Practice on model cars if you do not have the 1:1 subject. Diecast photography is still a niche category which makes it all the more rewarding. Moreover, smartphones make it learning to take pictures all the more user intuitive, which brings me to my next point.
Stick to the conventional profile shots, while being creative with it. Enable the “grid” from your camera settings. Learn the rule of thirds (place the subject on the third imaginary line on the grid. Angle and composition goes hand in hand. Repeat after me; there are no rules to photography. You do you. Meanwhile, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Be inspired and don’t be afraid to copy your favourite photographers.
One thing photographers will usually rave on and on is about golden hour. That time of the day when the sun starts sinking into the horizon, and you’re treated to a warm spectrum of colours ranging from yellow to orange (and sometimes, a purplish red when the weather machine breaks). That being said, one thing us photographers hate more than vampires hate garlic naan is shooting under the mid-day sun. Not to say completely avoid it, but stick to golden hour (sunrise and sunset) to get the perfect equilibrium in lighting.
So you have done and dusted the lion’s share of the work. Now comes editing. Again, there is nothing wrong with copying others. (While I’m about to give an appreciation shoutout to my favourite automotive photography related youtubers, my idols; Mark Riccioni, Alex Penfold, Richard Pardon, Daniel Bronshteyn to name a select few, deserves your follow on Instagram, as do I @thatbrowncarguy) One photographer I find everyone copying is Peter McKinnon and North Borders (Mike), (I do too). Do check out North Border’s YouTube channel. They’re a mix between light hearted banter with the mates while diving deep into hands on, POV style tutorials on all types of automotive photography that you can and will dive down the rabbit hole into. Generally speaking, try not to alter the colour of the car, a mistake I see photographers quite often (hey, while we’re pointing fingers, let’s point a massive index to my face, I used to do that all the time!). Try to be faithful to what you think looks best. (Also side note, if you’re still big on HDR photography in 2020, you should consider going back to the future, atleast 5 years ago. HDR has no place in 2020. Capeesh? Capeesh.)
The only way to exponentially increase your learning curve is to ask for constructive criticism to whomever you can. What floats your boat, may not float everyone else’s.