Behind the Scenes of a Professional Car Campaign Photo Shoot

Have you ever seen a professional photo ad of a new car and thought, “Wow, that car looks awesome. How did the photographer get such perfect light not only on the car, but on the whole scene?” Or said to yourself, “That’s not real, it must be Photoshopped.” Or, like myself, have you ever just wondered, “How the heck did they get the cars in that position?” When advertising photographer Dave Hill set out to shoot a new ad for the 2014 Scion line-up, he made this behind the scenes video of the six-day photo shoot, clearing up some of those nagging questions and giving us a better look into the process:

One car make and the five small business owners in LA who drive it. That’s what Scion’s 2014 “For the Driven” campaign is all about. Dave Hill was the lucky photographer behind the new ad that looked at five different small businesses in LA, the owners’ day-to-day work lives, and their Scion cars.

scion campaign photoshoot

But, what seems like a pretty straightforward project about a car took a few minor detours when Hill got caught up in the lifestyle side of his subjects. I mean, in all fairness, he was working with some pretty cool people—a wet plate collodion photographer, a young and savvy tonkotsu ramen restaurant owner, a neighborhood barbershop owner, your not-so-average backpack designers, and a limited edition art products, apparel, and decor retailer.

Since he was shooting in the business owners’ natural environments, it was easy to get swept away with photographing things like old-timey hair clippers and vintage art supplies. But, he did manage to get the locked down master images he needed each day, and they’re stunning!

professional car ad photo

scion car photo

The goal was to shoot primarily with natural light and get away from composite and Photoshop-heavy images, but he did composite when necessary. Hill shot with a Canon 6D and Phase One IQ250 medium format camera and tried to use the light that was available as much as possible. Luckily, a lot of the locations were outside or had big bright windows that let in amazing natural light.

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