The scene setup – by placing parking a car in the shade of a building on a sunny day, you can use the ambient light as your main light, illuminating the contours of the vehicle.
Take a look at the image above, you can see that I have a Tesla Model S set up in the shade of a building, on a sunny day. The lighting diagram – after getting an exposure of the ambient light, I was able to determine where to best place my three speedlights. The raw file – the shadow areas are filled in with accent lights, although some cleanup in post-processing was needed.
The lightroom settings – I chose to desaturated the image, one color channel at a time (rather than toggling over to Black and White mode or lowering the global saturation) in an effort to retain the mood in the photo. The most obvious issue that needed taken care of was the unsightly reflection in the car door. I also chose to desaturate the image, since it was already essentially monochromatic, except for the grass.
The final shot – once the image was color graded and minor spots had been removed, I opened up the file in Photoshop to remove the white-board reflections, specifically the white panels at the base of the building in the background and the edge of the roof, (Figure 6).
The lighting diagram – similar to the previous Tesla scenario, I used two of my lights to illuminate the front, and back ends, of the car. Since I had come to the shoot prepared to photograph portraits and not cars, I didn’t have white panels to bounce light off of. The final shot – my favorite part is the open-air engine that allows you to see straight through to the back wall. Should take you 15 min to get it right and 2 or 3 tries to get your exposure to pop ratio right.
I’ve just started chooting cars 2 years ago but I only use natural light and bracket 3-7 shots. Mind, I _do_ appreciate the time and effort you spent to set up the Tesla and the street rod! To take a photograph of a cityscape once the evening has come, find a spot that shows off all the buildings and office lights that are lit. Stunning architecture takes on a new life at night time, especially when juxtaposed with movement. One of the most interesting effects you can capture at night is movement, shown through the figures of people moving and cars and buses driving past. Photographing cityscapes at night can be challenging and you should expect to be outdoors for some time, experimenting with shutter speeds and effects. So, as you can imagine, photographing cars, which are essentially just giant reflective objects, is really difficult. By positioning the car so that the ambient light illuminates the overall contours of the car and then placing lights in the shadow areas, it treats the ambient as the main light, and uses the surroundings to advantage, rather than fighting against them. Though the white panel served in lighting the contours of the side of the car, it left a garish reflection.
Note that I kept the file in Color mode, rather than toggling over to Black and White mode or lowering the global saturation, and opted to instead desaturate the individual color sliders in the HSL panel. If specialized cleanup is not your forte, it’s totally acceptable (if not recommended) that you send the file off to a retoucher to finish it up for you. This time, however, I placed my third light between the car and the back wall, creating a nice separation between them.
I am like you, I like to look at and photography cars but I have no desire to drive some of them.


Likely the healing brush, patch tool and cloning to retouch those areas and a few other distractions as well. Now, there’s nothing like whipping out my iPhone when someone asks about my work, and show them what I do. Amongst the concrete and tall buildings there is an opportunity to capture the cityscapes from an interesting angle; at nighttime. The combination of a bright sign and a dark background can confuse the camera, leaving you with an under or over exposed image. Once again place your camera on a tripod and position it so that the bridge, the water and buildings can be seen; we want interest in the foreground and background. You will need to place your model in the foreground and choose an interesting backdrop; something with passing cars or lit buildings. If attempting this kind of image you would ideally use a tripod and cable release with a wide-angle lens. To capture light trails successfully, use a tripod to keep them straight and the background sharp. It is possible to handhold a camera and still shoot at night but this may require a wider aperture, a higher ISO rating and some flash so that the images dona€™t become blurry.
It comes with all the same challenges, magnifies them, and adds the new wrinkle of your subject being too heavy to reposition easily.
This will minimize the frustration of trying to eliminate the ambient light, which would likely be an exercise in futility, especially when using small flashes. It will allow you to see exactly what the ambient light is doing and whether you need to reposition the car to change the angles of the light falling on the car. Eliminating it required something a bit more powerful of a tool than the what Lightroom’s Spot Removal tool offered. But just like the previous scenario, I used the ambient sunlight as the main light, adding accent lights to the front and back portions of the car. Once it gets dark in a city, the artificial lights come on and create the opportunity for some stunning shots. You need an accurate metering mode that you can control, so choose spot metering and choose a mid toned area for a balanced shot (in this case the red lettering). Use your cameraa€™s self-timer or a cable release to take the photo with absolutely no blurring.
It is the one time flash is highly recommended at night, since it is needed to freeze and light the subject.
The results arena€™t always predictable because the majority of the lighting is artificial and at times not stationary.
Instead, I used Lightroom to color grade the image as well as bring up the highlights in a few areas, (see above). I also used the Luminance sliders to control the highlight and shadow portions of the image. So, when the owner of this beautiful machine led me back to the spot where his latest project sat, I got really excited when my eyes caught sight of the immaculately restored, 1932 Ford Roadster (I only know the name because he told me). I quickly scanned the area, spotting a one-story brick building across the street, with a wall, still in the shade.
Understandably, they want their wall signs and logos featured, sometimes I’m forces to shoot the dark side of a vehicle. Place your camera on a sturdy tripod to avoid camera shake and turn off the flash if you are too close to the sign.


The best time for this kind of shot is during the two a€?golden hoursa€? which are the first hour after sunrise and the last hour before sunset. Even with flash, the subject must be told to stay still, as there can be a slight delay from the time you press the shutter to when the camera fires the flash.
If you use a tripod then you can afford to use AV (aperture priority) mode and let the camera choose the shutter speed.
Tripods allow you to have longer shutter times and therefore avoid using flash, which can look unnatural and harsh in night photographs. It can be, and it can still be pulled off without the use of a commercial studio, a giant cyclorama wall, or car-sized softboxes. The red highlighted areas show where I painted in a brush adjustment, raising up the Exposure, Brightness, and Clarity sliders. For example, by lowering the Yellow slider in the Luminance panel, I dimmed the highlights in the grass, which had yellow in it, and shifted the focus back to the car. I asked if he could drive the car over there, positioning it just inside the shade (see above). You can get dramatic shots of beautiful monuments if you use a narrow aperture and let your shutter remain open for a longer duration to allow more light. The image of the Houses of Parliament required a 6 second shutter speed, which is slow enough to capture the traffic trails.
Since I couldn’t set up a third panel to light the middle of the car without blocking my view of it, I set my third flash on the ground, aiming it into the tire rim. Though I knew nothing of its history, and didn’t even really care about driving it or even riding in it, I knew that I had to photograph it. This meant that the back rear flash was able to light both tires this time, freeing up my third light to be placed between the car and the building behind it. Above all, a good rapport between you and your subject will help you convey some meaning in the portrait.
Cable release and shutter remotes are useful to avoid touching the camera during a long exposure.
The owner pulled out a vintage magazine photo of a similar car and asked if I could make a photo that looked like that.
To capture some truly unique street portraits, you should use the smallest aperture possible or set the ISO of your camera to 400 or higher.
The more you practice the more you will become tuned to the exposure you need for the effect you want. You can also use special filters at night, such as a star filter that makes lights look like they are small stars. Name (required) Mail (will not be published) (required) Website Featured Article What is Vignette in The World of Photography?
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