It’s harder than you think!
It’s summer and it’s car show season. Every rain-free weekend will have a car show and one will probably show up within 30 miles of your home eventually. The shows usually have a theme. Muscle cars, Italian cars, German, etc. Pick a show that interest you the most and go. The owners LOVE displaying their expensive trophies and they can be fun to see. It’s not every day you can catch a Lamborghini Diablo driving down the street. They are the ultimate example of form and function.
Now let’s grab the cell phone, tablet, point-and-shoot camera or your DSLR and take some amazing photos of these amazing machines.
What you’ve pictured in your mind’s eye quickly vanishes after your first exposure. People are everywhere and they are showing up in reflections. These cars are painted and clear coated to the point where the finish becomes a mirror. EVERYTHING reflects in the paint and the chrome.
In some instances, you get folks stepping into your shot or parking themselves right in front of your lens as you are about to hit the shutter. That’s just going to be the hazards of the event.
In all my years of pro photography, I’ve only found a few work-arounds that will produce semi-acceptable images. First, get there early when the sun is low and the color of the morning sky is rich and warm. Second, use a polarizing filter. This will reduce or eliminate a lot of the reflections like clouds in the windshield or reflections in the paint. You’ll never be able to remove the multiple glare spots caused by the sun but that can be done with selective angles or in post-production using “content aware delete” in Photoshop. The cloning tool can work too. The images will never look like you took them in a studio but it’s the best you can do in an uncontrolled environment.
The third solution is to only photograph sections of the vehicles. The attention to the details of a Ferrari, Porsche, Rolls Royce, etc. are astonishing. Close-ups of headlights, tail lights and interiors can look amazing. The design and machining of these parts are works of art in themselves and can make for some cool images.
The best advice I can offer is to go and enjoy the car show for what it is. If you strike up a conversation with one of the owners, maybe you can offer to photograph the car at some other time in a more controlled environment.
©2017 Wayne Dion / Dion & Company