Making Black Cars POP!

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by dtlasky, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. dtlasky

    dtlasky TPF Noob!

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    I am completely obsessed with and LOVE cars, therefore it's only natural that I take pictures of them right? Well it just so happens that black is my favorite color for cars, especially nice ones. I did a photo shoot with one of my friend recently (We will both be attending RIT next year, hopefully....) and his BMW which is black.

    I was looking for any insight into how to make dark colored vehicles stand out and what I like to call "POP" out in low light photo situations. Keep in mind that my resources as far as equipment are limited to some extent, however my post processing resources are not... Take a look and tell me what you think.

    C.C. Only please!

    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2533/4025288964_01fd0ac1c3_b.jpg

    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2570/4006597889_5bdf5ff2ae_b.jpg

    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2426/4010584822_b0f205a176_b.jpg

    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3208/3952312490_83974a960b_b.jpg

    Strobist (1st and 3rd photos): 1 SB 600, behind car 1/8th power. 1 SB 600, Camera right full power but using built in diffuser. And one Cheap-o Sunpak flash set up as an optical slave, camera left. Full Power.
     
  2. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Of the top of my head, I can say that your framing can use a little work - 1 & 2 are examples of that - you have so much junk there that it is distracting.
    Good friend of mine is a car fanatic. Here is his site Point & Shoot Photography If you like what you see, send him a message, he'll give you his pointers.
    Good Luck
     
  3. PHILLIP MAC

    PHILLIP MAC TPF Noob!

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    If you want to shoot cars think about what you're doing ,the backgrounds must be chosen to make a nice reflection in the car?
    The only one where yo are near is the last one but whaat's the number plate doing inside the screen
     
  4. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Two words...........back lighting. Either rim light the car, or light the background.

    You want to keep reflections to a minimum and can do so by using a CPL filter.

    You want very plain backgrounds of a complementry contrasting color for cars, with no other visual distractions in the frame.

    Outside, the best times of day to shoot are just before sunrise or just after sunset and use 4 or more speedlights with modifiers.

    The easiest way to shoot cars is inside a studio.
     
  5. Pugs

    Pugs TPF Noob!

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    :thumbup: Total agreement here! Definitely need to use light to define the outline of the car to kick it out from the background.
     
  6. Soocom1

    Soocom1 TPF Noob!

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    One thing to keep in mind....... In the world of painting, one adds yellow to black to make it pop out more. (It has to do the color frequency).

    Anyway, don’t use a warming filter, but rather try adding yellow to the car in PS.
    And adjust it as necessary. You will have to play with it a bit.
     
  7. kkamin

    kkamin TPF Noob!

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    I'm not an expert, but the only way you are going to see a black car is by controlling the direct reflections off of it. And I think you will need reflectors larger than the car's various dimensions. You can kick it out from the background with lights or the color of the background, but you'll want to see some detail in the car, and that is going to take some strategically placed, giant reflectors. You can see from your photographs that #4 is working the best to show definition of the vehicle; if you exchanged the reflections on the hood and the door with something more simple rather than the background and had a few strategically placed highlights, it would be a slick photograph imo. If you haven't read it, check out: Light:Science and Magic. It is a bible for lighting and it explores these types of tricky lighting problems.

    here is a link to someone lighting a black car

    Lesson 1- How to shoot cars and big reflecting objects on location | Manfrotto Experience

    good luck! : )
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2009
  8. dtlasky

    dtlasky TPF Noob!

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    Thanks everyone for your responses! I'll be sure to look into all of your suggestions....
     
  9. dtlasky

    dtlasky TPF Noob!

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  10. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    If the artist likes it, that is all that matters.
     
  11. kkamin

    kkamin TPF Noob!

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    In my opinion, I think if the artist is happy with the perceived clarity of his/her intention, then that is what matters.

    I think the last shot has nice definition in the grill and bumper, but the top melts into the background a little bit. I don't think you are going to find a perfect natural low light environment to accomplish what you want. I can tell what you are aiming for: some really sweet images of shiny black cars. From what I know it is going to take some leg work and research to get the outstanding results you want. You can do it, I think you have a good eye.
     
  12. dtlasky

    dtlasky TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Kkamin, thats exactly what I'm going for. We searched and searched for something with a better background cause I was gonna do what someone else suggested earlier and find a higher contrast background. And you're right, it think its just gonna take some time and energy to get it right...

    I gotta get my portfolio together for all these college apps REAL soon and I need some new decent pictures to bring it up to snuff.. I'll keep at it and report back....
     

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