In product photography, you pay a lot of attention to where and how the product is being lit. It becomes essential to keep an eye on how the lighting you use shapes the product while also ensuring that the right details are being highlighted. And when it comes to photographing cars and bikes, the challenge is even greater. While the basic principles of lighting are the same, the glossy surfaces on automobiles mean that you have to be more careful. And since cars and bikes are much larger than other ordinary products, the perspective, depth of field, and even the focal length you use matter a lot. Today, we have photographer Karl Taylor who shares 10 handy tips that you can use to photograph cars:
Focal length matters a lot when photographing cars. It determines the minimum distance you need to keep from your subject. This is vital if you have a limited space to work with. It dictates the angles you can work with and also affects the look and feel of the vehicles. Plus, it determines how much of the environment you can have in your final image. And importantly, focal length also dictates your depth of field. While wider lenses have a greater depth of field, longer lenses have a narrower depth of field. As Taylor suggests in the video, you’ll need to maximize your hyperfocal distance. You can do so by focusing somewhere around the middle of the car instead of focusing at the front.
When it comes to lighting, set up the cars and bikes to look as luxurious as possible. You can achieve this by using gradients of light across the panels and also by using hard light sources in selective regions of the vehicle. And if you do not have multiple lights, Taylor shares an interesting hack in the video. You can use a single light source and take multiple photos by lighting different areas of the vehicle each time. Then, you can stack them up in post and merge the layers to get a single image. And as he demonstrates in the video, you can even light paint the vehicle and mix it with flash.
There are a lot of other useful tips and tricks that Taylor shares in this elaborate video. So, if you’re thinking of getting into car and bike photography, be sure to go through the complete video. It’s a goldmine for sure!
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