Photographing Cars at Outdoor Shows

The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance on March 11-13, 2011 officially launches the outdoor car show season. Sure, it’s still snowing here in Colorado but maybe if you’re lucky to live in a warmer climate people are taking the car covers off their collector cars and polishing them up. It’s show season!

Photographing at car shows can also be the prelude to having an in-depth photo session with that same car but away from the show. To do this you’ll need to talk with the car’s owner, but you needn’t be an expert on a particular marque or even cars in general. Most owners can talk for hours about their cars because there never was a restoration project that didn’t have some interesting twists and turns.

What’s my number 1 tip for photographing cars at outdoor shows? Don’t make photographs of cars with their hoods raised.

Do not make photographs with the cars hoods—or bonnets if they are British—raised. Many cars like to display the cleanliness or sparkling chrome underneath, but that’s not the best way to photography any vehicle because it breaks up the car’s lines as you can plainly see by the example at right. Since the owner is probably nearby, ask them if they would close the hood so you can make a photograph. In exchange, offer to give them a print or e-mail and image file. That gesture automatically positions you as a photographer who cares and opens photographic marketing opportunities too.

The 1948 Bentley (above) was captured at an all-English car show early in the day. Shot with a Canon EOS 1D Mark II N with an exposure of 1/200 sec at f/5.6 and ISO 200.

Author: Joe Farace

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