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FORUMS Photo Sharing & Visual Enjoyment Transportation 
Thread started 19 Mar 2013 (Tuesday) 15:11
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Car Photos - help me improve

 
jeffherald
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Mar 19, 2013 15:11 |  #1

Here are two nearly identical pictures. One is overexposed to show some detail in the shadows, but it blows out the background. The other is more properly exposed but the shadows are too dark. I'm not one for post processing, I'd prefer to find a way to get the shot right when I take it. Any advice is welcome. Thank you.


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battleborn_nevada
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Mar 19, 2013 15:49 |  #2

Get your camera closer to the ground for better perspective, and shoot early morning or evening when the sun is lower to get better (less harsh) lighting. Additionally a Circular Polarizer can help control reflection and glare. In this case an HDR or bracketing three exposures or more could have helped you capture details in your shadows and control your highlights.


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halitime
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Mar 19, 2013 15:56 |  #3

Good CPL and lower. All of ^^^^^^


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PhotosGuy
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Mar 19, 2013 17:05 |  #4

That location could be better, as you've got a building at your right reflecting in the side. See the links in my Sig, and...

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JMartel
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Mar 19, 2013 19:14 |  #5

You picked a pretty bad time of the day to shoot a black car. If you had to do it at this time of day, you should put the sun to your back.

There really isn't much else you can do in those conditions without shooting RAW and editing. My advise is to incorporate minimal editing into your photos.


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reole
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Mar 19, 2013 19:34 |  #6

its so much easier from the sun side ;)


its not how you take the picture, its the final result before editing.

  
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XBAMBOBEE
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Mar 19, 2013 19:46 |  #7

reole wrote in post #15733819 (external link)
its so much easier from the sun side ;)

Bingo!!

OP avoid shooting with the shadows being in the front of you.


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jeffherald
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Mar 19, 2013 20:33 |  #8

Thank you for the advice so far. I appreciate your help. As for the location, if I want the skyline (Louisville, KY) in the shot, I am aiming south. There is no time of day where the sun is to my back in this setting. Yes, that time of day is poor, but the weather was nice and I got some other shots that were better.

I was thinking maybe a reflector to shine light back at the car, and the circular polarizer as previously recommended.


-Jeff

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jeffherald
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Mar 19, 2013 21:14 |  #9

Ok, I went out this evening and took more photos near sunset, while the car was still clean. I searched for a nice setting and found this church. I realize I should have used a shallower DOF to further blur the background and, oh those reflections! Still this has to be an improvement. Thanks for your advice.

(PhotosGuy, I did some "light" reading on the links in your sig, good advice. Thanks)


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battleborn_nevada
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Mar 19, 2013 22:20 as a reply to  @ jeffherald's post |  #10

Getting better! The perspective is better, as is the lighting, in terms of preserving detail in the car. Might try a background that is less busy or a shallower DOF, as you mentioned. Keep shooting and keep looking at some of the amazing stuff posted in this section, for inspiration!


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evan55
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Mar 19, 2013 23:51 |  #11

If you can shoot in raw, try to lower the highlights and raise the shadows


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PhotosGuy
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Mar 21, 2013 10:09 |  #12

jeffherald wrote in post #15734158 (external link)
Ok, I went out this evening and took more photos near sunset, while the car was still clean. I searched for a nice setting and found this church. I realize I should have used a shallower DOF to further blur the background and, oh those reflections! Still this has to be an improvement. Thanks for your advice.

(PhotosGuy, I did some "light" reading on the links in your sig, good advice. Thanks)

The light on that one looks a lot better to me, but now you've got the building reflecting in the roof & a tree in the hood. SO much to be aware of, right? ; D


FrankC - 20D, RAW, Manual everything...
Classic Carz, Racing, Air Show, Flowers.
Find the light... A few Car Lighting Tips, and MOVE YOUR FEET!
Have you thought about making your own book? // Need an exposure crutch?
New Image Size Limits: Image must not exceed 1600 pixels on any side.

  
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aemravan
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Mar 21, 2013 12:12 |  #13

black cars are tough to learn on. Heck, black cars are tough even when you have some experience.
Just yesterday I had a discussion with a youtube keyboard warrior who claimed that what I was saying was completely incorrect. Here is what i stated:

"you cannot light a black car by throwing light at it, you can only do so by introducing highlights into the paint to bring out the certain details you want to show"

I bring this up because you mentioned getting a reflector to bounce some light back at the car. The answer is this. If you can get your hands on large white reflector that is about 10' or so across (in white) go for it, if not stay away ;) . This goes back to my statement above about not being able to light black cars by throwing ilght at them.

The theory is correct, that i am fairly certain off. Now my explanation might not be as I have been thinking about this long and hard on the way t and from work these last couple of days.... here is an observation i think you might find interesting. Next time you are on the road (preferably morning or evening) take a look at the different color cars. What you will find is that the closer the color is to black, the less reflections you see in it, with black being the closest to mirror-finish and white barely showing any reflections at all. Tell me if I am crazy, but i found this to be true about 95% of the time (obviously depending on angles of incidence, lighting, car dirt, etc etc., we are just talking general trending here)

Now, here is the reason. Black, what is black? More importantly, what does it do? Black absorbs all light. Opposite of white, which reflects all of the visible spectrum (correct....? or am i wrong?) So theoretically, what happens to black if you shine more and more light at it? It absorbs it, correct? here is where the keyboard warrior again told me I am wrong. He sad, "if it absorbs all light, then it would be impossible to have ANY reflections, and anyone knows that any glossy paint shows reflection!"

I said correct, keyword there being Clearcoat (the FINISH) "WRONG!" he says "the clear coat is just that, its CLEAR therefor it has nothing to do with reflections" that is where I stopped my debate with him and let him be.

But lets look at what reflections are. Reflections are the direct result of the surface finish. The smoother the finish the more lightwaves can bounce on the surface and continue on at the same angle back to your eyes, lens, etc (angle of incidence) now when you start having imprefections in your finish (like without a clearcoat which is buffed to perfection) some of these lightwaves dont bounce at the angle of occurance but rather shoot off in many different directions. Well, the more waves that bounce different ways, the less reflection you get.

Now, lets look at a car and how it shows reflections. All modern cars have a nice glossy finish, so you would say, well why is that that i cant see them as well in the white as i do in the black? Here is my reason why. As I mentioned above, white reflects, black absorbs. Ok. So basically, the more light that ou throw at white, the BRIGHTER and more visible it becomes. So what happens? Not only are you seeing the reflections, but you are also seeing more of the color, and the more of the color that is shown the less of the reflections become visible. So with a black car, when light hits it, the "color" (black) does not become any more or less visible, However, as the lighting changes on the background (whether it becomes mroe or less bright) the more, or less, reflections you see.

This is why you can't shoot a black car teh same way you would shoot a white car (especially when using strobes, and anyone that shot strobes and black cars can tell you that you can power your strobe all the way up and blow out the ground, wheels, etc, but the black just stays....well ....black..)


sorry for the long-winded post, but its been on my mind for the last few days and I thought it was appropriate to your situation :)

here is what I suggest to you, study light, learn light, understand what it does. Further more (as you continue shooting and practicing) look up pictures you like, and try to understand how the light and reflections were used, try to understand what it is abotu the image that appeals to you and how you could go about recreating it. Become more cautious about the surroundings. First learn to shoot with nothing in the background. Shoot just the car and focus on the reflection and the lighting. You can start incorporating backgrounds when you become more understanding of how light works and how you can use it to your advantage.

Its either that, or you shoot in RAW, multiple exposure, and learn to edit like a pro in Photoshop (which is also an option and more and more people are going this route these days ) :)


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jeffherald
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Mar 21, 2013 12:30 as a reply to  @ aemravan's post |  #14

Thank you for the detailed response. I do appreciate it. I will take your advice and look for more optimal ways to use the available and reflected light. I will also take it under advisement to learn to use Photoshop like a big boy. ;-)a

I work with computers as a career which is why many people I know find it surprising that I don't use Photoshop. It tell them it's like this, I can make a web server sing, but I have no talent for creating web pages. I find working with Photoshop infuriating because there are SO many options, it's hard to know where to begin. I prefer the method of trying to get the photo right in the camera, as much as possible. That comes from my years of film shooting. I didn't do any darkroom work. Photography is a hobby for me and I want to enjoy it. Using Photoshop is too much like a job (my job).

As for the black car, it was a recent purchase and I wanted photos of it while it was new and clean and the weather was nice. I have to teach a teenager to drive in it so this may be the last time it looks nice. Ha ha! I took this as an opportunity to learn a bit from you all.

So I appreciate the help everyone has given. That's why I use this site to learn. I rarely inflict my pictures on the crowd here. If I do, I am seeking advice or information, not admiration. I just appreciate the help you all provide to me, and so many others. I have learned much and I have much yet to learn. That's what makes photography fun. That and the hardware. I am a gadget guy by nature. ;-)a


-Jeff

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winam
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Mar 21, 2013 14:00 |  #15

Use the HDR techique. One of the best Software for that is Photomatix. http://www.hdrsoft.com​/ (external link)


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Car Photos - help me improve
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