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  • Share your photography tips here!

    I'm not a professional photographer; it's just one of my hobbies. Nonetheless, knowing a bit of the basics, I thought that we could all share photography tips in this thread, so please post your photos and explain your photography thought process behind them and what you wanted to illustrate, and any photography tips you used to take those great shots.

    Before I ordered my C8 after the reveal, I scoured the internet for photos to get a good idea of how the C8 actually looked, but it was harder than I thought. Many of the photos or videos taken were with cell phones, with the people taking them standing close to the car. The result of that was a distortion of the C8's proportions, which made it hard to get a handle on.

    Focal length/Lens distortion

    We've all heard many people say 'The C8 doesn't photograph well' or 'You really have to see it in person - it's totally different than in photos'. The main thing that determines whether a photo matches what we see with our naked eye is the amount of distortion from the camera lens. The closer you are to the car and the shorter the focal length (wide angle), the more distorted the proportions will be. I thought that this would be a good tip to start with - do yourself a favor when snapping that photo and take a few steps back, then zoom in a bit with your phone. You'll get a much better proportioned photo. Same thing with a camera.

    I took a series of photos below to illustrate what focal length does to the photo. I tried to keep the car the same size in the frame and I walked further away from the car for each photo and zoomed in. You can see how the angle of view changes from wide at a short focal length to narrower at the longer focal lengths.

    I think that a focal length of 35mm - 70mm will get the most natural proportions for car photos.

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    In this series of snapshots below, you can see that the wider angle (shorter focal length) has more distortion. Stepping back a few feet and zooming in a bit helps produce proportions closer to what I see with my naked eyes.

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    I just happened to snap this pic as another 'Vette drove by - a lucky shot!

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    Where's the sun?/Where is the main source of lighting from?

    Observing the angle of the sun to the car, where the shadows are etc can make a difference between a well-lit car that shows nice details, and one that looks flat. To get a better photo, you might have to move the car a few times to change the angle to the sun, or take it at different times of the day if you can. Just don't shoot with the sun behind the car unless that's your intention and you want it to be in shadow.

    Here are a couple of photos taken on different occasions and times of the day in almost the same spot. Of course, I'd rather not advertise for Hyatt, and I could photoshop it out, but the roof of this parking structure next to Hyatt can provide a pretty neutral background depending on where I take the shot.

    This first photo is taken in the late morning with the sun high in the sky, and coming from my right. We don't get many highlights and the car looks a bit flat. I take a lot of shots and this one was in the 'not a good photo' pile, but I picked it to show it here because of that. It's definitely a 'boring' shot.

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    This next shot was taken at the same spot, with the car at a slightly different angle, but in the early evening with the sun low in the sky to my left. We get some highlights and reflections showing the lines of the car much better (my wife likes this shot because it looks like 'liquid'), and overall it's a much more dramatic shot. I could pick this shot apart more, like taking more time to find an angle that might get the wheels illuminated more equally between the front and rear, but didn't take the time to do that.

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    Backgrounds

    This is very subjective, and it depends on what you're trying to accomplish. The background can do many things for the photo; enhance it, be the main subject, detract from the car, etc. If I'm trying to just take some pictures to illustrate my latest modifications, I want the focus to be the car, so I try to choose a relatively simple background. Here are a couple of examples of relatively neutral/monochromatic backgrounds where the main focus is the car, and to allow the orange color to 'pop':

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    Different car positions - move the car

    Depending on the lighting, you may have to move the car multiple times. It helps to have two people - one to move the car with the direction of the photographer, but I'm always doing this by myself, so I'll move it, get out and look, move it again etc. Usually when I'm trying to take some photos of my car, I'll have to move the car at least half a dozen times. If you've got a background that you like, and sun angle you that's working, move the car instead of walking around the car and taking pics as you'll never get consistent lighting.

    Here's an example of two similar shots, but with two different car positions. These were taken on the same day and time in the same location. The main difference is where the car is pointed towards. In this shot, I wanted to ensure that the wheels were lit, so the car is facing to my right with the sun to the left. My main purpose of taking these two shots was to show all the different and interesting lines of the C8 hood.

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    In this shot below, the car is facing towards my left, sun in the same spot. I should have moved the whole car to the right to get more of the light bouncing off the concrete wall on the right, so the wheels in the shadow could get that, but didn't notice it until after I got home. I think that it's also a bit more interesting as it's off-center.

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    Last edited by shiumai; 04-11-2021, 09:37 PM.

  • #2
    Nice shots, good tips. Hopefully others will share some more ideas.

    What camera and lenses are you using?
    '64 Silver Grey Coupe (custom paint)- still our favorite
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    • #3
      shiumai, any tips please for those of us whose camera is a smart phone?
      GBA Black; HTO Twilight/Tension interior; Z51 & Mag Ride; E60 lift; 5VM visible carbon fiber package; 5ZZ high wing; FA5 interior vis CF; ZZ3 engine appearance; 3LT; Q8T Spectra Gray Tridents; J6N Edge Red Calipers; SNG Edge Red Hashmarks; VQK Splash Guards; RCC Edge Red engine cover; VJR illuminated sill plates. Lifetime, annual contributors, and 23 year members of National Corvette Museum. Home is the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

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      • #4
        Pretty serious amateur auto racing and aviation photog here, but mainly action. I find it hard to get what I think are good shots of static cars. That being said, in your 3/4 front view shots there is a post growing out of the quarter panel. I know these are just to show angle of view, but just wanted to point out that you want as clean a background as possible, nothing growing out of the top of the car.

        As for cell phones, I got nothing, not a serious tool when your hauling DSLR's around. I just use them for quick shots to upload to social media.

        One thing I can add is put the car in the bottom of the frame, the car is on the ground, it belongs in the bottom of the frame. Sage advice given to me by a IMSA pro shooter years ago,
        Last edited by TAdams65; 04-10-2021, 08:38 PM.
        The greatest sound in the world is a Rolls Royce Merlin over 100 inches.

        1LT, Elkhart Lake Blue, Adrenaline red seats, Torch red seat belts, Z51, FE4, Bright red brake calipers, Bright Silver 5-open spoke wheels, chrome emblems

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        • #5
          Ever the amateur photographer myself, I have an older 35 mm Canon digital SLR, with filters, wide angle, etc. and also use my iPhone too. I’ve found that the only way to get good shots resulting in a good photo, is by taking multiple shots of the same angle, subject, mountain, etc. More is better in that it allows you to “eye” after the fact, the shots which look good. This is where digital photography is more helpful than waiting on developing that 35 mm roll of Kodachrome for instance.

          Once you’ve become acquainted with the type of shots that you’ve experience with taking, you’ll find that you may not have to take as many to get a good “photo” but again, more is still better, in that over the course of seconds, things can change subtlety as in small clouds covering a little of the sun that may not be very noticeable to the naked eye but the camera lenses notice it or suddenly as when the wind may pick up, and these subtle or sudden changes will affect your photography, however, after having taken multiple shots over the course of 30 seconds for example, not only might you have gotten that shot with perfect sunlight, but you’d also have that shot with a subtle darkness to it, and thus make the shot look a little foreboding. Filters also can help in this regard, but, as I’m no expert, I’ve enough knowledge to know how to enjoy the hobby, but also possess enough humility to know I’m no expert. 🤓
          07/01/20 Deposit @ VanBortels on 2021 C8 Coupe; 08/01/20 Prelim Order Status 1100; 01/21/21 Final Order Status 2000; 01/27/21 Status 3000; 03/06/21 Status 3300 (TPW 03/22/21); 03/16/21 Status 3400; 03/22/21 Status 3800; 03/23/21 Status 4B00; 03/26/21 Status 4D00: Status 4200; 04/02/21; 04/06/21 Status 5000; 2LT Coupe; GMO; DSZ; Q8Q; HTA; AQ9; E60; FE2; NPP; ERI

          ”I’m not the best in town, but I’m the best, until the best comes around“

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          • #6
            My standby photography advice is this: if you take thousands of pictures, a few of them are bound to be spectacular.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by George View Post
              Nice shots, good tips. Hopefully others will share some more ideas.
              What camera and lenses are you using?
              I used an older Nikon D80 for those pics, with a 18-200 Nikkor 3.5-5.6 lens. I also have a Sony Rx-100 as my pocket camera when I don't want to carry around the DSLR

              Originally posted by John View Post
              shiumai, any tips please for those of us whose camera is a smart phone?
              Like others have mentioned here, the same principles of composition and lighting apply to smart phones as well as cameras. But, I think the simplest 'tip' is just to step back a bit and then zoom in to reduce the distortion.

              Originally posted by TAdams65 View Post
              I know these are just to show angle of view, but just wanted to point out that you want as clean a background as possible, nothing growing out of the top of the car. ,
              Yup, just to illustrate focal length, not as example of good pics. I had to park it where I could walk back enough distance for the zoom shots. So, TAdams65 brought up another thing to be aware of - your background and what's in it that can detract from the pic.

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              • #8
                Squat or kneel. Or even lie down. Our natural tendency is to shoot from a standing position, but cars photograph better if you get down to their level. Even as low as putting your camera on the ground and aiming up at the car. Or, if you have a way to do it, shoot from high up, down on the car. Both give a more dramatic view than normal standing height.

                shiumai gave some good examples of focal length, but don't rule out the distortion caused by wide angle lenses. Getting up close to the car with a wide angle won't give a realistic image, but it can give very dramatic ones. And shooting from further away with a telephoto can give interesting results, too.

                And as TAdams said, pay attention to the background. Not just to keep light poles from sticking out of the roof of your car, but to try to avoid distracting elements that draw your eye away from the car. Although sometimes a dramatic background can add to the overall image. Rather than just taking pictures where the car happens to be, look for a location where you have a good background.

                Light: Photography is all about light. Noon light is the worst, early morning / late in the day the best. In general, you want the light hitting the side of the car you're photographing, not from behind the car, although sunrise or sunset photos are obviously an exception. And light coming from an angle, rather than straight on (90 degrees to the side of the car), will highlight the shapes of the car better.

                Try shooting at night, with both ambient lighting and flash. Flash can provide a lot of light on the car while leaving the background dark, but may make the car's reflectors the brightest part of the image. A lot of cameras, even cell phones, now have a shake reduction feature (image stabilization, vibration reduction, different manufacturers use different names for it.)

                Also related to light, watch out for reflections. Reflections aren't necessarily good or bad, but be aware of them. If they're so bright they obscure the car or it's details you might want to try to change the angle of the car relative to the sun, or the camera relative to the car. Or makek the reflections a key part of the image.

                Consider the color of the car vs. the background. A tan car against a tan background, or a green car against a green background, probably won't work very well. You want the car to contrast with the background, not blend in.

                If you have someone you trust to drive your car, and a safe place to shoot from, try to get some shots of the car in motion. Using a slow shutter speed and panning (moving the camera to keep the car in the frame) can give you great motion blur. So can shooting one moving car from another moving car close to it. Even many cell phones now have a "pro" mode that lets you set shutter speeds.

                A little thing, but pay attention to how your front wheels are turned. You want to see the wheels, not the tread. If you're shooting from the front 3/4 view, try turning the wheels to to opposite side you're shooting (e.g., if you're shooting the left side of the car, turn the wheel to the right) so you get more of the wheel visible. If shooting from the rear 3/4, do the opposite.

                Remember that you don't always need to shoot the entire car. Close-up shots, focusing on particular details, and shot from low or high can be very interesting.

                If your camera allows you control of depth of field, consider blurring the background to focus more attention on the car. Many modern cell phones allow this via software (look for a setting called bokeh if you don't see anything about depth of field (DOF).

                Finally, look at car magazine websites. You'll see lots of good examples you can try to copy.
                Last edited by meyerweb; 04-11-2021, 09:30 AM.
                Delivered 5/29!: Scarlet Fever 2021 2LT HTC, Red Mist Metallic Tintcoat, two-tone Natural w/ suede inserts, Mag Ride, Performance Exhaust

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                • #9
                  Yes, I spend a lot of time laying on the ground shooting airplanes. That is my tripod in the first pic. Camera on the ground in the second pic. At the race track I am on me knees a lot. Can't lay down with media credentials in case you need to move fast to get out of harms way. One thing to mention about shooting at night, if you are shooting your car rolling or in motion at night, never, ever use flash at night. I know it may seem nuts to say don't use flash at night, but it you do the car will look like it is in motion, but the tires will be frozen, not a good look. Click image for larger version  Name:	11999050_10205056576956887_5105922049215718228_n.jpg Views:	0 Size:	62.9 KB ID:	258900 Click image for larger version  Name:	1980113_10202966283500857_5963812715710703076_o.jpg Views:	0 Size:	89.5 KB ID:	258901
                  Last edited by TAdams65; 04-11-2021, 11:04 AM.
                  The greatest sound in the world is a Rolls Royce Merlin over 100 inches.

                  1LT, Elkhart Lake Blue, Adrenaline red seats, Torch red seat belts, Z51, FE4, Bright red brake calipers, Bright Silver 5-open spoke wheels, chrome emblems

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                  • #10
                    I'm no photographer, I just take pictures.

                    Overhead shots are good, here are a few of my favorites from above.

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                    1966 coupe - Sunfire Yellow / Black
                    2004 Z06 - Millennium Yellow / Black

                    NCM Lifetime Member since 2003

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                    • #11
                      If you want inspiration, follow the pros on social media for ideas. One of the best at making cars pure art is Amy Shore from the UK. She is very active on Instagram and does amazing work.
                      The greatest sound in the world is a Rolls Royce Merlin over 100 inches.

                      1LT, Elkhart Lake Blue, Adrenaline red seats, Torch red seat belts, Z51, FE4, Bright red brake calipers, Bright Silver 5-open spoke wheels, chrome emblems

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                      • #12
                        Nice pics! Your car looks great lowered! You missed a fun group drive yesterday, maybe next time.
                        2021 2LT HTC, front lift, MRCS, GT2 natural Napa 2 tone seats, Perf. exh and all wrapped in Red Mist metallic, lowered w/Paragon collars and riding on BC Forged wheels 😎
                        Delivered 1/26/21 VIN 00921

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MidLife View Post
                          Nice pics! Your car looks great lowered! You missed a fun group drive yesterday, maybe next time.
                          Thanks! Maybe next time!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by TAdams65 View Post
                            If you want inspiration, follow the pros on social media for ideas. One of the best at making cars pure art is Amy Shore from the UK. She is very active on Instagram and does amazing work.
                            Amy Shore's pictures are great - they have a sense of classic nostalgia. Definitely look at the pros for ideas on composition, for a start. When looking at some professional car photos, you may be surprised at how the final photos are arrived at. Some are created, not just 'shot', and are composites. Pepper Yandell is a popular automotive photographer who creates visually stunning shots - his website is https://www.pepperyandell.com/

                            When you look at this shot, you can imagine him riding in a car, driving beside the Ferrari capturing this rolling shot in a tunnel:
                            Click image for larger version  Name:	yandell.JPG Views:	8 Size:	86.8 KB ID:	260210

                            However, he has an insightful video on how he created this shot which might by quite eye opening:

                            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57P3...=PepperYandell
                            Last edited by shiumai; 04-14-2021, 05:53 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by shiumai View Post

                              Amy Shore's pictures are great - they have a sense of classic nostalgia. Definitely look at the pros for ideas on composition, for a start. When looking at some professional car photos, you may be surprised at how the final photos are arrived at. Some are created, not just 'shot', and are composites. Pepper Yandell is a popular automotive photographer who creates visually stunning shots - his website is https://www.pepperyandell.com/

                              When you look at this shot, you can imagine him riding in a car, driving beside the Ferrari capturing this rolling shot in a tunnel:
                              Click image for larger version Name:	yandell.JPG Views:	8 Size:	86.8 KB ID:	260210

                              However, he has an insightful video on how he created this shot which might by quite eye opening:

                              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57P3...=PepperYandell
                              I have seen rolling shots like this done many times at the race track. Little secret, they are barely moving. Photogs hang out the back of a van and shoot super slow shutter speeds while the cars crawl at 15-20mph.
                              The greatest sound in the world is a Rolls Royce Merlin over 100 inches.

                              1LT, Elkhart Lake Blue, Adrenaline red seats, Torch red seat belts, Z51, FE4, Bright red brake calipers, Bright Silver 5-open spoke wheels, chrome emblems

                              Comment

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