How to shoot cars like a pro
5:49

How to shoot cars like a pro

Auto Tech
-A beautiful location, great morning light and a dove-gray portion of 356 outlaw, pretty good toolkit for Michael Alan Ross to use as we do a photo shoot today. I'm here to look over his shoulder for you to find out what technology he uses and more importantly, what tips and tricks we can use for when we snapshots some cars we take. -The back-end of this car is so unique with the louvers on it. -Yeah. -And I just love the way those little red-- those little simple red lights look right now. So what I'll do now is I'll do simple shots to the rear of the car, do it in 2 different angles. And then what I'll do is I'll put the long lens on and I'll actually go in and compress all these little images around from the headlights to the taillights to the wheels-- -Those are your detail shots. -on a little detail stuff and get that out of the way. Interior is absolutely stunning. -So, Michael. What are you doing now? What is this current kinda shooting at this hour? -You know, in my line of business, you're always dealing with the lights. So, you have to work with the light is right and that light is either right first thing in the morning or at the end of the day. -What simple think about the long lens for when they can't get to the subject. You could get right to that car but you're using a long lens. What's going on here? -Yeah. The reason I'm doing is I'm compressing the car a little bit, compressing the image. It'll really bring the focus in on a car and illuminate everything else. It'll really make that car pop out 'cause everything else become soft and everything else becomes not that important. An automobile is reflective. I wear dark clothing all the time. -You told us as we were coming out here, no white sneakers, no light cloth-- -Please. Yeah. -I never thought of that. -Everyone goes to like a car event, you know, if they're taking pictures of the cars, how many times do you try to get rid of the white sneaker you wore or the guy next to you wore those khaki shorts-- -It's right there on the door, right? -Yeah. Car-- you have to realize you're shooting a big mirror. -Why so many shots. -It gives the art director a little bit of variation. It gives them a much broader scope. I kinda do it the old way. I like to see all the images in small thumbnails on the screen no matter what whether it's digital or film. That is still the same. If it looks good this big and imagine what's gonna look likewise big. -So I'm gonna switch to the 70, 200 to weigh image stabilization lens so that I can utilize this light that we have right now. So-- I'm gonna pop this one off first thing I'm gonna do. I hate dust so I try to keep my lens down. Even though there's, you know, sensor cleaners here and all that, I still do it the old way. We make sure that the body is open as little as possible. -You're using flash now for the first time today. What are the tricks to make it look good? -Less is more. Direct it in another direction. Use it bounced off or something else. If I had a white card here, I bounce the light away from the card into the white and then have that feel the full thing evenly. You know, most people would put the flash in here. But, with this, I take it up. Now I take it up but I'm gonna angle it. If it's too much, I just swing it the other way. -What do guys do all the time? What does any car person do, you know-- -Oh, let me sit and look into the hood. How do you make it sexy? That's the thing. Everything is so precision like in there and I wanna bring that out a little bit and show you how beautifully simple it really is. I'll do everything nice and crisp and then I will go in and do some shallow depth to feel things-- works better against the red, I think. You look for the right car and you look for the right photographer and the right eye. There's just-- there's all those sort of things that's all the technical. And then there's just the feeling and some of that is captured in the moment with good equipment and a good eye. But also, a lot of it is now captured after the fact in post-production. Michael is one of the few who applies treatments that work for me. -It's basically like a chef and the gravy, you know-- -So you'll show us a few of these steps. But there'll be a few ingredients you'll leave out. -Of course. -Of course. -I can't give you everything Ryan. You know, it's-- -When I say typically, what do you do Lomo shots? -The great assist for me in terms of touch-up. I usually crop in the camera as much as I possibly can but a lot of times there are little things that you miss. It's always better to have more and be able to come in than to be too tight and then miss something. So first thing I'm gonna do here is I'm gonna go in and I'm gonna crop this little piece out that I don't like. -To crop-- -Yeah, to crop. I don't like things that are [unk]. You know, I have to start somewhere and it has to go on a journey. If you start in the middle, where do you go? Let the mind take a little journey and then come back and rest. We're so used to high-def television and everything is really popping right now. -Yeah. -So a lot of time, I'll take an image, pump up the blacks a little bit by pumping up the blacks were actually making those other colorful pieces pop out even more. -It's the contrast thing. -Exactly. All these little details around the window, that's gonna get a little bit darker. All of the sudden, that blue starts to come out a little bit more. Another look that's really popping right now is if it's kind of-- car's got a little bit of an edge to it, bleach it out. Make it really different. Now I've got an attitude there. I've lost the blue line here. I've lost the color but I've got a real kind of interesting little effect. It's really about the mode. -I've seen you take some shots and kinda just around the perimeter on the very edges kinda bring a little bit of a shadow, a little vignette? -A little vignette. You don't wanna go too far, where you noticed what I did. -The vignette. -Yeah. -I never want to do anything that makes it look like, "Oh, the photographer did this." -Yeah. -I want you to look at the photograph and go, "Wow, that's cool." And not notice any of that. That's the key to it not go too far. -Now, you may not be a pro-shooter. But with a few tips from guys like Michael Ross, you can shoot cars like this pretty damn well. And the nice thing about vehicles, is that they're the piece of moving tech we encounter every day.

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