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FORUMS Photo Sharing & Visual Enjoyment Transportation 
Thread started 08 Sep 2006 (Friday) 20:12
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Car show etiquette question

73 posts
Joined Sep 2005
Location: Northern California
Sep 08, 2006 20:12 |  #1

Hi all,

First off, I apologize if this has been posted/asked before. I did a search and didn't find what I was looking for.

I am going to a local classic car show tomorrow and really want to get some good photos. I have never really taken pictures in public before and am a little uncomfortable about the whole process. Do I just walk up and start shooting the cars? Or do I try to locate the owner and ask if I may take some photos of their vehicle? The cars aren't roped off or anything - everyone will just be milling around.

Being that it's a car show, I assume that picture taking is a free-for-all type of thing. If I had my old little camera I wouldn't think too much of it, but I wonder if I will get strange looks if I haul my big camera out of a huge bag and start snapping away. I also don't want to make anyone there uncomfortable either (though I'm sticking strictly to cars- no photos of people).

Thanks for your time! :)

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Ballen ­ Photo
20,358 posts
Gallery: 13 photos
Likes: 717
Joined Nov 2003
Location: Southern Nevada and Idaho
Sep 08, 2006 20:30 |  #2

Hi Matty, Depends on how "Chatty" you feel. I like to at least aknowledge the owner, saying Hi, and mention that I like His/Her car. Thats a no brainer, as I probably wouldn't be shooting it in the first place if it wasn't.
Actually, If you're really interested in the car, it helps to talk to the owners. They well often ask if You would like a shot with the hood down.
Remember, These folks are proud of their cars, and are there to show them off. They also love talking about them, so dont be shy. ;)

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Curtis ­ N
Master Flasher
19,129 posts
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Joined Apr 2005
Location: Northern Illinois, US
Sep 08, 2006 21:16 |  #3

Talking about their cars is what those guys live for. You'll make their day if you just walk over and tell them you like their car and maybe ask a question or two.

If you upload a picture here you hope people will comment on it. These guys are the same way about their work. If no one showed any appreciation they might go home disappointed.

And I think it would be a kind gesture if you offer to email them copies of the pictures you get.

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Joined Jul 2005
Sep 08, 2006 23:00 |  #4

I had one person ask me what I did with the pictures. I told him that I keep them for myself since photography is a hobby for me. And that I share them online. He thought it was cool. We even got into a discussion about photography since he does it too. So far no one has told me they didn't want pics taken. But, I have seen the crazy looks. lol.

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73 posts
Joined Sep 2005
Location: Northern California
Sep 09, 2006 03:31 as a reply to  @ lvph2's post |  #5

Thank you all for the advice! You make it sound so simple! :) I had thought about offering to email people the pictures - so I'll definitely do that. Again, I really appreciate your input! Hopefully I'll get some good shots to post in here! :D

Canon 20D
EFS 18-55mm

75,898 posts
Gallery: 8 photos
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Joined Feb 2004
Location: Middle of Michigan
Sep 09, 2006 08:02 |  #6

Talking about their cars is what those guys live for.

If you don't see the owner, ask one of the guys at the next car. They all know each other.
Never touch the car. Most will open the door or hood if you just ask. Some will even pull the car out a bit.

but I wonder if I will get strange looks if I haul my big camera out of a huge bag and start snapping away.

A black cam with a 28-70 f/2.8 & a petal hood gets you instant respect. People will move out of your way. ;)

And I think it would be a kind gesture if you offer to email them copies of the pictures you get.

I print up slips of paper for them with the link to Transportation. If they aren't online, I tell them to give it to one of their grandkids. Some of them have told me that they made great 8X10" prints from the 80kb web image!?


Have fun, & good luck.

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1,003 posts
Likes: 1
Joined Aug 2006
Location: Glasgow
Sep 09, 2006 10:20 |  #7

they expect it to be photographed. they are not going to put their cars on show and complain that its being snapped at. you take pictures and chat if you want. bigger the camera the more space people tend to give you lol

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Senior Member
295 posts
Joined Apr 2006
Location: Rochester, NY
Sep 09, 2006 17:13 |  #8

I just start shooting. I figure if they didn't want it photographed, they shouldnt take it to a show.

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Jamie ­ Holladay
Cream of the Crop
21,557 posts
Joined Nov 2005
Location: Gadsden, Alabama, USA
Sep 09, 2006 21:13 |  #9

Most people actually like thier vehicles to be photographed. They will even put the hood up/down if you ask them too. (this usually requies a little chat). And the comments about the bigger the equipment the more the space people give you is about right. But a lot of time spectators are just rude. Something you just have to work around. If you find a vehicle of particular interest, chat with the owner he/she might move it to a near by location where you would be able to shoot it better. This has happened for me once.

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33 posts
Joined Sep 2006
Sep 10, 2006 00:30 |  #10

guys at these shows love to have their cars shot. I love when people look at my car at shows. I take alot of pictures of everyones and never ask. They love it trust me.

Canon S3 IS

165 posts
Joined Aug 2006
Sep 10, 2006 01:32 |  #11

Just shoot, if you are the talkative type, start a conversation. But as another point of ettiquite, shoot with a wide angle lens and be patient. I shoot plenty of car shows, and nothing gets more anoying than a self ritous photog. with a 50mm chasing everybody out of the way so they can get their shot.

Oh and don't touch the cars, you probably allready knew that, but just a reminder. I was at Pebble Beach and a photographer took it upon himself to close the hood of a $3mil. Delahey, the owner was righfully pissed and the security guys asked him in a not too polite way to leave and never come back, they also banned the mag. he was working for from ever coming back.

Digital photography is a fad.

Mike ­ Reynolds
1,412 posts
Joined May 2006
Location: Joshua Tree, CA
Sep 10, 2006 08:29 |  #12

Bruce nailed it. But for me , going to a car show is too much like going to work I rarely go to one unless I there to cover it and I got to talk to the owner and get the appropiate info or perhaps line up a photo shoot.

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45 posts
Joined Jan 2006
Location: Livonia, Michigan
Sep 10, 2006 11:31 as a reply to  @ Mike Reynolds's post |  #13

Classic Cars is the other passion in my life, and we all like having our "pride and joy" photographed. Always have business cards with you as this is a great way to find new customers. I've gained over a dozen new individual customers and become the official photographer of three car clubs in just this way.


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Senior Member
309 posts
Joined Jun 2006
Location: BC, Canada
Sep 11, 2006 10:57 |  #14

Don't sweat it... anybody who has worked hard enough on their car in order to enter it in shows would be thrilled to have a good photographer take some pictures of it. Having your car sitting and showing itself off almost implies that it is okay to take pictures of it, and it is to be expected. Coming from the other side, I couldn't ever imagine asking people not to take pictures of my car at a show, it's what many people go to the shows for in the first place.


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38,631 posts
Likes: 23
Joined Jul 2006
Location: Berkshire, UK
Sep 11, 2006 11:01 |  #15

I've been to loads of car shows, and everyone assumes that pictures will be taken.

General rule is, look, take as many pics as you like, but never, ever touch or allow anything (clothing/straps etc) to touch the cars.

And carrying around erected tripods close to cars also gets the owners very jumpy as well...!

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Car show etiquette question
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