A few weeks ago, a friend told me that he really dug my auto photography. He said, “All your car review shots have a sense of realism–which I love. Not in an art history sense, but a sense that if I owned that car, that’s where I would go with it!” He especially loved the action shots, like this photo, and wanted to know more about my locations. Do I scout all my locations? Where do I find these places?
My friend was on to something. Unlike most of the automotive print publications involving gorgeous, far away locations inaccessible to normal people, most of my work is urban and accessible to anyone–and not far from our offices in El Segundo, California. There’s a few reasons for this, chief among them that we only drive a vehicle for a week, which means that my time with it is limited so that the other editors on staff can also drive it. Thus it’s not likely that I drive much further than a 100-mile radius from home base. Fortunately, Southern California is an unrivaled mecca to car culture and the Los Angeles and Orange County areas are loaded with gorgeous beaches, picturesque mountains, and lonely deserts. The photo opportunities are endless.
Ever wonder how I achieve this lighting? Simple: I use a tripod, a circular polarizer, and the early morning sunrise.
Yes, I scout most of these locations, though I also consult with our news director (like in this spot with a 2012 Hyundai Accent, pictured above) and vehicle coordinator for ideas. And yet, even with a well-worn spot, I’m almost always able to grab a fresh image from a different perspective. The point is to be practical, and to show you a real-world representation of the vehicle. Which, for the most part, also means minimal post-production.
Got any other photography related questions? Fire them over in the comment box below.