Multimedia

Chicago Auto Show Blog

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 #CAS16

Blog

More

Wednesday, April, 20, 2016

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Honda is encouraging safer driving habits with a social media campaign titled #PhoneDownEyesUp. The campaign ...

Wednesday, April, 13, 2016

Ford Now Accepting Applications for GT Supercar

For the first time, 2015 Chicago Auto Show goers were able to see the Ford GT supercar in person at the show and ...

Wednesday, March, 30, 2016

Cars are the Star of the Big Apple

Automakers lit up the Big Apple last week with an assortment of flashy vehicles that debuted during the New York ...

Monday, March, 14, 2016

Buick Presents Cascada to Midwest Automotive Media Association

Buick Vice President of Marketing Tony DiSalle spotlighted the all-new Buick Cascada during the Midwest Automotive ...

Monday, February, 29, 2016

Chevy Inspires Kindness in #DayItForward

Today is a unique day in history, one that does not come around often but has inspired goodness throughout ...

Friday, February, 19, 2016

Test Tracks Are A Gear Shifter

Of everything to see and do at the Chicago Auto Show, some of the most popular attractions are the test tracks, ...

Wednesday, February, 17, 2016

Women's Day Revs Up Excellence

Women's Day at the Chicago Auto Show is a revolutionary way to bring a diverse group of women with a common ...

Monday, February, 15, 2016

Nonstop Action at Family Fun Day

Presidents Day at the auto show featured an enthusiastic selection of family fun and appealed to all family ...

Saturday, February, 13, 2016

Acura Showcases New Concept Vehicle

As a wood panel walkway spins to unveil a luxury car, you know you are about to witness something truly ...

Saturday, February, 13, 2016

The new 2017 Genesis Vision G hits the floors of the Chicago Auto Show

Luxury is all about satisfying the senses. From cars to homes, leather seats to killer sound systems, these are ...

More

4/29/2016 8:33:00 AM

Look how far Jeep has come since the '61 Chicago Auto Show! #FlashbackFriday

4/28/2016 1:21:25 PM

How many LEGO pieces does it take to build this Porsche 911 GT3 RS? http://cnet.co/1qYJwJU

4/26/2016 10:07:28 AM

The Chicago Auto Show Changed their cover photo.

4/22/2016 11:41:35 AM

#FlashbackFriday to the 1967 Chicago Auto Show! #Globe #EarthDay

4/19/2016 9:31:03 AM

#TriviaTuesday! In the 60s, Ford Motor Company's robot's name was Freddie. Can you name Ford's current robot (that was at #CAS16

4/18/2016 9:48:40 AM

Scion may be on the way out, but the solid iM is here to stay." Head over to DriveChicago for the full review

4/15/2016 9:03:00 AM

The 2017 Ram Trucks Power Wagon that took center stage at #CAS16 is expected out this fall: http://bit.ly/RAMPowerWagonCAS #RAM #PowerWagon

4/14/2016 9:21:22 AM

#CASFanPic from @jmc.automotive. #Mazda #Racing

4/13/2016 4:33:20 PM

The day has come. #Ford #GT #Supercar

More

4/29/2016 1:33:32 PM

RT @ChiAutoShow: Look how far @Jeep has come since the '61 Chicago Auto Show! #FlashbackFriday https://t.co/wLP8yFK7VX

4/29/2016 9:27:15 AM

RT @ChiAutoShow: Look how far @Jeep has come since the '61 Chicago Auto Show! #FlashbackFriday https://t.co/wLP8yFK7VX

4/29/2016 8:29:01 AM

Look how far @Jeep has come since the '61 Chicago Auto Show! #FlashbackFriday https://t.co/wLP8yFK7VX

4/28/2016 1:23:05 PM

It takes HOW many @LEGO pieces to build this @Porsche 911 GT3 RS? https://t.co/vfT4ou1QnQ - via @CNET

4/27/2016 2:35:31 PM

RT @automobilemag: The hot new @Acura NSX looks even better in Chicago than it did in Detroit thanks to improved lighting. #CAS15 #NSX http…

4/26/2016 6:02:06 PM

RT @ChiAutoShow: . @drivechicago has launched its Twitter page! It's the only local source for more than 100,000 new & used cars. #DriveChi

4/26/2016 3:55:57 PM

RT @WWDr1ve: RT @ChiAutoShow: @drivechicago has launched its Twitter pg! It's the only local source for more than 100,000 new & used cars.…

4/26/2016 3:31:07 PM

RT @ChiAutoShow: @drivechicago has launched its Twitter pg! It's the only local source for more than 100,000 new & used cars. #DriveChicago

4/26/2016 11:07:23 AM

RT @ChiAutoShow: . @drivechicago has launched its Twitter page! It's the only local source for more than 100,000 new & used cars. #DriveChi

4/26/2016 10:46:18 AM

. @drivechicago has launched its Twitter page! It's the only local source for more than 100,000 new & used cars. #DriveChicago