Location Hunting for Awesome Sports Car Photography

So you have access to two really cool (and expensive) sports cars, your crew, your camera, and your lighting gear. What do you need to make some awesome photos? Awesome locations. Though your subject is the focus of your shot, the background can make all the difference in the final image. For instance, if you were shooting commercial photos of a kayak, which would you use: the leech-infested pond in your back yard or a beautiful white-rapid river sandwiched between two majestic mountain peaks? Alright, maybe that observation was a little biased. Maybe you have a very nice leech-infested pond. The point is location matters. Take a look at some of the spots that Pepper Yandell finds to photograph a couple of sleek sports cars:

Things to Consider When Location Hunting

  • Space. Do you have enough space for your strobes? Reflectors? Subject(s)? Do you have enough working distance to fully capture your subject?
  • Owners. Who owns the property where you want to shoot? Will you need someone’s permission to photograph at this location? Will you need a permit? Is it legal to photography here?
  • Weather. Will weather be a problem at this location? Is there another location you can go to should bad weather interrupt your shoot?
  • Perspective. Can you get the angle you need? Is there a place nearby that would give you a better angle? Do you need a ladder or other tool to help you get the perspective you want?
  • Time of Day. When is a good time to shoot at this location? Is there a time when this location is off-limits or too busy to shoot? How will the light change between the time you are viewing it now and the time you wish to shoot?
  • Light. Is the sunlight your only lighting here? Are there other artificial lights that turn on or off at certain times of the day or night? Is there a way you can block off unwanted light?
  • Safety. Is the location safe to shoot at? Is the building unstable or at risk for any other potential damage? Would your presence be disturbing to others nearby?
sports car photography ferrari gt-r

The background really sets the mood for this photo

Note that it doesn’t take a large crew to pull off a shoot. The majority of Yandell’s crew were filming the behind-the-scenes video. Not a lot of equipment was used either. The key grip only used one or two Profoto lights which she changed the locations and angles of between each exposure allowing Yandell to combine all of these photos later in post-processing.

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