Multimedia

Pro Photography for Dummies

Posted by: Jennifer Ferm

I am far from a pro when it comes to taking pictures. Sure, I have a digital camera that I occasionally snap pictures with but I don’t even come close to being a professional. Even though I was never trained in photography, I happen to work in an office where everyone is well-connected and, thus, was able to get in touch with two renowned professional photographers. We thought this information will benefit the “average Joe” who wants to take professional-looking shots with his/her digital camera at this year’s Chicago Auto Show. That’s right, folks, remove the old camera from the shelf and blow off the dust because I’m going to share tips that’ll have you looking like the paparazzi.

I first spoke with Mark Elias (of Mark Elias Media Services) who is both a photojournalist and a writer. Mark began his career as a photographer for The Associated Press from 1983-1994. In 1994, he moved to Florida where he freelanced in the auto business. His work has been published in AutoWeek, Car and Driver, Road & Track, Palm Beach Post and Bloomberg News, among others. Self-described as “a photographer who writes,” Mark is currently the lead new car editor for LeftLaneNews.com. Below, you’ll find some inside tips that he generously provided.

Put on Auto White Balance. When taking photos with a digital camera, turn on the auto white balance to eliminate funky color shifts. 

Use the Flash. If you have a flash on your camera, use it. If you have an advanced camera, use the balanced fill flash (or, “drag the shutter”), which will provide ambient light for more visible displays in the background.

Capture Interesting Details. Look for interesting details on cars (i.e. logos, certain touches, headlights) to capture the essence of the vehicle.

Put Yourself in Your Friends’ Shoes. When you show your friends pictures from the show, you want them to be a collage of unique attractions—not repetitious photos. For instance, the collage should encompass all aspects of a car including the wheels, logos, headlights, etc. as well as the entire body of the car. Try to capture the fundamental nature of the entire car. Remember: nobody likes to look at someone’s summer vacation photos because they all look the same. Get creative.

Use a Monopod. Leave your tripod at home; it will just get in everyone’s way. Instead, bring a monopod if you have one. The monopod will help steady the shot. 

Seek out Vibrant Colors. White or silver cars will reflect any object that sits beside it. Try to capture cars with vibrant colors.

Use the Polarizing Filter. To cut down on reflections, adjust your camera to the polarizing filter. You may need to increase your IS0 from 400 to 800 or 1600 to compensate for darkness.

Think Outside the Realm of Cars. Capture other interesting attractions at the show besides just cars. When people view the photos, they’ll then grasp the essence of the show. If the guy from the ShamWow commercial is at the show, be sure to capture him on film—he’s hilarious!

I also spoke with Brenda Priddy (of Brenda Priddy & Company) who has been recognized as one of the world’s top automotive “spy” photographers. Her undercover exclusives are a regular feature of LeftLaneNews.com, Auto123.com and other popular Web sites. Her client list also includes publications such as AutoWeek, Car and Driver, Road & Track, USA Today and The New York Times. Brenda’s business has been highlighted in Newsweek, Motor Trend, Sports Car International, along with various domestic and international newspapers, and her pictures have appeared in various books -- from automotive interests to textbooks and even encyclopedias. Below, you’ll find her helpful tips.
Nix the Flash. Unless shooting the interior of the car, don’t use the camera’s electronic flash.

Increase the Film Speed. Set the camera’s ISO to about 800 to compensate for the indoor lighting. At a higher setting, grain and “noise” may be noticeable. 

Use a Tripod. The tripod will help to steady the shot when shooting long or time exposures. Try adjusting the camera to a slow shutter speed; this will create a stationary car with people in motion. If you don’t have a tripod, you can still use the slow shutter speed effect; use a shutter speed of 1/30 or 1/60 of a second.

Be Patient. Patience is essential when taking photos at a large event. People may walk in front of your camera numerous times, ruining what could’ve been the perfect picture – so wait it out. Your patience will pay off once you see the final product.

Reduce Glare. Reducing glare also takes patience. You may look through the camera’s viewfinder and see unwanted glare and disturbing reflections caused by spotlights illuminating the cars. If you see glare or hot spots while looking through your camera, simply move a few inches and recompose your shot. You’ll be glad you did!

Get Low. Instead of shooting a car from eye-level, get lower (or higher) than the car for a different perspective.

Change it up. The traditional (and always successful) way to take a photo is by taking "3/4" views: capturing the front (or back) of the car, along with the side, all in the same photo. While these will turn out to be great photos, try tilting the camera slightly sideways for a different and distinctive angle.

Capture the Essence. While cars are the obvious main focus of the show, try taking photos of McCormick Place, interesting banners, unique lighting (while getting the car in the background), or even unique signs at exhibits. Capture the essence of the show and make a collage of the unique photos.

Digital "Film" is Cheap: Don't worry about taking too many pictures. Many times it's the very last one that's the best.

Don’t Forget Yourself. Make sure to get into your favorite car and have someone else take the picture.

« Last Post Next Post »

View all Posts from this Blog

Follow Us Socially Using #CAS15

Blog

More

Thursday, October, 16, 2014

Preparing Your Vehicle for the Long Chicago Winters

Yes, I know fall has just begun. If you're a Chicagoan, you know that means winter is right around the corner. ...

Friday, October, 10, 2014

Subaru Fights Accidents With EyeSight

When Subaru introduced the all-new 2015 Legacy at the Chicago Auto Show this past February, much mention was made ...

Tuesday, October, 07, 2014

Chicago Auto Show Stars Hit the Road at MAMA Rally

This year's Midwest Automotive Media Association's Fall Rally featured a number of 2014 Chicago Auto Show ...

Monday, October, 06, 2014

MAMA Fall Rally Picks

Each fall, approximately 70 MAMA members flock to Autobahn Country Club of Joliet for the chance to jump behind the ...

Saturday, October, 04, 2014

Z06 Officially Fastest Production Chevy Ever!

Chevrolet continued the recent tradition of making manufacturer news at Midwest Automotive Media Association Rally ...

Friday, October, 03, 2014

SUVs for Everyone the '14 MAMA Fall Rally

Given the opportunity to test more than 70 vehicles on the street, track and trail at the recent Midwest Automotive ...

Thursday, September, 25, 2014

All-new 2015 Ford Edge Available Early Next Year

Will the 2015 Ford Edge be the most popular utility vehicle among Millennials next year? Ford sure hopes so.

Wednesday, September, 24, 2014

Volkswagen Beetles Out To Prove They Can Win

The No. 34 Rockstar Volkswagen Beetle GRC made is world debut at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show this past February with ...

Wednesday, September, 17, 2014

Hyundai Continues the Fight against Childhood Cancer

Since Hyundai launched its Hope On Wheels program in 1998, the automaker has been able to rise $87 million for the ...

Tuesday, September, 16, 2014

National Child Passenger Safety Week is Underway

This week, communities across the nation will participate in National Child Passenger Safety Week by hosting local ...

More

10/24/2014 10:33:04 AM

#FlashbackFriday to a cartoon from the Pope Manufacturing Co. in Hartford that ran during the 1907 Chicago Auto Show. It shows a horde of salesmen all vying for the attention of the prospective buyer who has loads of money. The ad concludes that the gentleman chose the 1907 Pope-Hartford. Can you guess how much it sold for

10/23/2014 2:36:03 PM

#ThrowbackThursday to the @Ford robot in 1966 and in 2014! Did you see it at either of these shows

10/23/2014 12:54:31 PM

The votes are in and the crowd favorite for the new #CAS15 is… the ad featuring the white car! Thanks to everyone who helped us choose the design for this year’s show. We hope to see you all in February

10/23/2014 8:00:02 AM

We’ve launched our new site for #CAS15 and it now features seamless social media integration. What do you think of it?: http://www.chicagoautoshow.com/

10/22/2014 3:00:00 PM

Today is the last day to win 2 tickets to the 2015 Chicago Auto Show by letting us know which ad is your favorite. What will it be blue, red or white

10/22/2014 9:15:05 AM

Check it out, we’ve launched our new #CAS15 site! Our favorite new features are the expanded social media feeds. Let us know what you think!: http://www.chicagoautoshow.com/

10/21/2014 12:00:01 PM

Fill In The Blank: My favorite design for #CAS15 is _______ (Red, Blue, White). One fan will win two tickets to the show

10/21/2014 9:04:05 AM

It's time for some more tagline trivia: Which automakers tagline is "The Ultimate Driving Machine"? #TriviaTuesday

10/20/2014 12:01:07 PM

Yes, fall has just begun, but if you're a Chicagoan, you know that means winter is right around the corner. Plan ahead this year and prepare your vehicle for the winter season ahead. We've complied five steps to help you get your vehicle winter-ready. http://bit.ly/1CwkC3r

10/20/2014 10:00:00 AM

Don’t miss your chance to cast your vote for the 2015 Chicago Auto Show design! We’re awarding tickets to one fan a day who selects either red, blue or white

More

10/24/2014 2:12:07 PM

Give up latte a day and upgrade from a Nissan Versa to a Nissan Altima, really. http://t.co/eLOzEdYT4k @ChiAutoShow http://t.co/OE6vfq3Vp3

10/24/2014 12:04:08 PM

This #1907 cartoon ad features the 1907 Pope-Hartford, which sold for $2,750. #FlashbackFriday http://t.co/6Bg344RnEv

10/24/2014 8:45:51 AM

Flashing back to the delicious @Chevrolet #cupcakes we devoured at the 2014 @ChiAutoShow #FlashbackFriday http://t.co/qZJRfuyDEz

10/23/2014 2:57:51 PM

You're welcome @ChiAutoShow! - #GESGlobalTeam

10/23/2014 2:36:02 PM

#ThrowbackThursday to the @Ford robot in 1966 & in 2014! http://t.co/dNAyVB7pkC

10/23/2014 2:34:31 PM

@GESGlobal Thanks for noticing and sharing our new look!

10/23/2014 12:58:02 PM

@ChiAutoShow first look is Friday the 13th?! Spooky :-)

10/23/2014 11:25:43 AM

Daily Motoring News is out! http://t.co/RHXJH0aiJo Stories via @ChiAutoShow @LAPSINC

10/23/2014 10:08:26 AM

The Mustang Milano concept debuted at the 1970 @ChiAutoShow. Guess the design elements used in later models. #TBT http://t.co/M7nV2YqJwp