Need help/ideas photographing a car- now with images

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A good friend is selling his black 2006 chevy SSR.
He asked me to take some pictures of it for his ad.
This is a spotless show car- so driving it out into a field or boat ramp which would be my choices isn't happening.
This is kind of like asking a brain surgeon to take out your gallbladder- I have never shot a car before.
I figured I would just take a lot of images- and let him pick.
There are some people here that are really good at this-
Any thoughts/ideas?
Thanks
gary
 
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If taking the car too far is a problem, I have seen some excellent images taken not far from the driveway, sometimes in the driveway
The key is lighting and I am a sucker for blue hour photographs boosted with some "light painting"

The dark background will hide most of the non appealing (in most cases) elements around the car while the light pushed onto the car will make it stand out.
By light paining one can use a simple high-powered flashlight (diffused to avoid hotspots) and then walk around the car to paint it.
Of course this method is much easier when done on a live-view camera where one can monitor the progress of the "painting" while the shutter remains open.....
I don't think Nikon has such feature but my Olympus does

Sample image for inspiration

50593055317_3ed0054485_b.jpg
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river ghost by gnarlydog, on Flickr
 
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If the shoot is during normal daytime hours, the best, easy way is to photograph it on a cloud-covered day when the sun is highest in the sky, which will produce a soft shadow under the car. You'll be able to find lots of excellent photos of cars made in that circumstance.

If you want to go to a bit of trouble, especially in darker light, you can paint the car with light by walking around it and manually firing a flash gun's Test button. You can do that in one capture or by using a separate capture each time you fire the flash. You would then work with each capture in its own layer and combine the best parts of each layer to make a composite.

About not taking the car to an ideal location: If your friend really wants the best possible photo (it's understandable that that might not be the goal), the car could be hauled to that location and cleaned at that location immediately prior to the photo shoot.
 
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thanks for the thoughts. The shoot "has" to be this saturday- so I am hoping for a cloudy day.
Lightpainting sounds like a neat idea. I have never tried it on a large scale before- but I am up for the challange!
I'll post an image or two when we are done
Riverghost is a great image- thanks for pushing my artistic bounds.
Thanks
gary
 
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If you want to go to a bit of trouble, especially in darker light, you can paint the car with light by walking around it and manually firing a flash gun's Test button. You can do that in one capture or by using a separate capture each time you fire the flash. You would then work with each capture in its own layer and combine the best parts of each layer to make a composite.
The single capture method takes practice; I never quite mastered it. I used the multi-capture technique with remote triggers and had good success. As Mike says, each shot in the series is imported into Photoshop as a layer. Turning the layer's visibility on or off has the same effect as turning a positioned light on or off. This gives great flexibility when sculpting the lighting of the image.

Here is a recent post with a finished image and thumbs of its component frames, and below is another example:

6_King_2010_0748 composite II GRAY-50% copy.jpg
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Butlerkid

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Research member VisualEchos....he is a master at car photos! Here is a sample thread.... I believe he took multiple shots rotating a polarizer a bit before each shot as he paid particular attention to reflections on windshields, windows, etc. Hopefully looking at his work and reading his comments will give you lots of ideas, angles and tips and techniques for shooting and processing!
 
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I believe he used a polarizer

He explains that he used the polarizer turned to different positions for each shot and then combined the shots during post-processing. I had never thought of that (probably because I've never seriously photographed a car) but it makes perfect sense. That's because a polarizer's position affects only one plane. By changing the position each time, multiple planes are affected and can be combined during post-processing.

Now that I think about Gary's project more and more, it's really nothing other than a tabletop photo session except that it will be like photographing a very large subject on a very large tabletop. :ROFLMAO:
 

Butlerkid

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He explains that he used the polarizer turned to different positions for each shot and then combined the shots during post-processing. I had never thought of that (probably because I've never seriously photographed a car) but it makes perfect sense. That's because a polarizer's position affects only one plane. By changing the position each time, multiple planes are affected and can be combined during post-processing.

Now that I think about Gary's project more and more, it's really nothing other than a tabletop photo session except that it will be like photographing a very large subject on a very large tabletop. :ROFLMAO:
Yes, Andrew provided an enormous amount of information in his posts. I always enjoyed his images......and his explanations!
 
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Ended up just shooting the car in his driveway for 30min. He needed images quick for an ad.
Turned out "ok"
Nothing artistic- but it looks like the car.
The earlier input here helped!
gary
bron's car 91121  75879.jpg
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ron's car 91121  75735.jpg
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ron's car 91121  75799.jpg
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ron's car 91121  75871.jpg
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ron's car 91121  75739-Edit.jpg
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Butlerkid

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Nice job, Gary! You did very well controlling reflections and creating interesting compositions that show the great condition of both the interior and exterior of the car.
 

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