How to Take Good Pictures---Guide

online170

online170

G-Body Guru
Oct 28, 2010
728
269
43
#1
I've been wanting to post this for a while, because i see some really cool/clean cars but the pictures are lacking.

This post is aimed squarely at the “G-BODY of the MONTH” section. I can share some tips on how to help OTHERS see your ride, the way YOU see your ride. It has to do with the Photo. If you do photography professionally, you can skip over this one.

First off, photography is NOT about the camera. You don’t need a $1000 camera for a good picture. The equipment helps, but the photo is more about the content than the equipment. Meaning, this applies to everyone, including a lot of us now, who snap pix with our cellphones.

With that being said, not everyone washes and waxes their car, and poses it just right like a magazine shoot to take a picture. Some of us just snap a pic when we feel like it cuz we want to capture that moment. So EACH TIME you go to pull out your phone or camera, just consider these tips and you will have a wicked picture on your hands. These are general tips so they apply to anything, not just cars.


QUICK GUIDE TO NAILING THAT PIC OF YOUR RIDE:

  1. TAKE YOUR TIME: If you rush your picture, it will look rushed. If you spend a moment to think about how its supposed to look, it will show through many times over. Slow down, take your time, keep steady.
  2. BACKGROUND: Change it by moving the subject, or changing your angle/position. Squat, crouch, tilt, twist, bend, scooch, etc... Position your subject as you would expect to see it in the real life. ie: Car on road, horse on field, bird on branch. Keep the background SIMPLE. Busy or cluttered backgrounds distract and take your attention away from the subject.
  3. LIGHTING, LIGHTING, LIGHTING!!!!!!!!! Light is extremely important. Shoot your pic 1 hour after sunrise, or 1 hour before sunset. If in the middle of the day, make sure you have no shadows on the main parts of your car, and also that the light is not too bright making parts of your car white, that aren’t supposed to be white. If the sun has set, put your camera away. For Interior pix, make sure to get lighting, or don’t snap the pic. Flashes are generally NOT pleasing, so don’t use it.

  4. RULE OF THIRDS. Imagine your picture (frame) split into 3 sections, split up by imaginary lines. Put your car (subject) on one of these lines, and have it face “into” the middle of the picture (frame).

  5. Motion or Still? If the car is moving, some of the car should be blurred. This can be done by adjusting shutter speed. If you don’t have those controls, look for the “modes” on your camera and pick the OPPOSITE of what it tells you for motion. So when you are shooting a moving car, pick portrait, or scenery or beach, something that’s supposed to be “NOT moving”. This will have a slower shutter speed and make your moving car slightly blurred. For still subjects, just pick the CORRECT mode, or a slower shutter speed if you have the option.

  6. BACK UP, GO LONG. Ever see yourself in a shiny spoon? Not very flattering is it big-nose? When you walk up to your car and take a pic, that’s what you’re doing. Don’t make your car a big nose, back up as far as you can, zoom in, and still keep the picture detailed and sharp. If you have removable lenses, "long, or numerically higher zoom" is better.
  7. GET LOW, AT EYE LEVEL. I think of the headlights as the “eyes” of the car. You may think the bumper markers, or the windshield or the grille are the “eyes”. Whichever you think is correct, be at “EYE-LEVEL” with it.

  8. CHECK THE PICTURE. A lot of people just don’t do this step. They push the button and expect the “camera to do its job”. That’s totally incorrect thinking. The camera’s job is to expose the frame. The “picture”, and all of its content is UP TO YOU. So check it, make sure its what you thought you were going for. I look at my pics and ask myself, could this be a magazine cover? If yes, then im happy with it. If no, take it again. You can make your own criteria lol.
  9. HAVE FUN WITH IT, BE CREATIVE. There are no real “rules” for taking a photo. Put your own personal touch on it. Play with lighting, angles, weather, colors, shapes, details, etc…


P.S.
If you enjoyed learning and applying these tips, i encourage you to explore;
a. Balancing Elements (visual tension)
b. Rule of (negative) Space
c. Leading Lines
d. Depth
e. Natural Framing
f. "Composition Tips" <<---type it into google
 
Last edited:
kalidromos13

kalidromos13

Master Mechanic
Oct 12, 2016
363
425
63
Palmdale, CA
#2
I am notorious for taking terrible photographs haha i find this very useful! Thanks for taking time out of your day and posting this!
 
Texas82GP

Texas82GP

Comic Book Super Hero
Supporting Member
Apr 3, 2015
4,590
7,361
113
Spring, Texas
#3
Sticky!
 
Jeff L

Jeff L

G-Body Guru
Nov 20, 2016
502
631
63
Southern AZ
#4
Thanks for posting. I have been taking pictures for many years as a hobby and it is never easy, even when you have a little bit of know how.

Still have my old 35mm camera from the 70's but have been digital past 15 years. Even with the tech, I still end up deleting 90% of my pictures for one reason or the other. I do like being able to clean photos up, crop, etc where in the old days of waiting a week for your pictures to come back and hope they look good!

The creativity and having fun is the most important aspect. So true about not worrying about the type of camera. I have a 2 year old iphone and it still amazes how nice the pictures turn out. I never would have believed this 10 years ago.

Thanks again for the great info.
 
GP403

GP403

Administrator
Site Admin
Moderator
Feb 25, 2005
3,192
1,753
113
Inola, OK
#5
yes brilliant and stickified!

I'd also add be mindful of the background. When I was doing the calendars I had to photoshop out any number of garbage cans, crummy neighbor cars, billboards, puddles/driveway stains (even from my own pix! also guilty of this!) .... makes a big difference in the end.
 
online170

online170

G-Body Guru
Oct 28, 2010
728
269
43
#6
YES! Background is incredibly important! I fixed the original post. Theres so many great tips to help with composition, i just picked the ones i thought were most important to beginners who have never thought about this before. Bound to forget a few though.

My goal with this post was to get people curious, and interested so that they continue to explore on their own.

I wish i could add more photos! I have a limit of 10, but could definitely have had double that easily.
 
Opie Knievel

Opie Knievel

Whiskey Fueled Midnight Mechanic and Moderator
Moderator
Sep 6, 2010
1,493
1,738
113
Brodhead, Kentucky
#7
Great tips. Something that helps me is taking a lot of pics at a time. A lot of times I'll snap a pic 4 or 5 times or more at the same angle, then change angles and snap another set. This gives me more pics to choose from. Even at the same angle, if you're shooting free hand there are usually subtle differences in each frame.
 
Jeff L

Jeff L

G-Body Guru
Nov 20, 2016
502
631
63
Southern AZ
#8
YES! Background is incredibly important! I fixed the original post. Theres so many great tips to help with composition, i just picked the ones i thought were most important to beginners who have never thought about this before. Bound to forget a few though.

My goal with this post was to get people curious, and interested so that they continue to explore on their own.

I wish i could add more photos! I have a limit of 10, but could definitely have had double that easily.
I remember in a photo course how they talked about background and how it can make or break the photo. One was a picture of a family at a park and in the background was some old guy scratching his butt and another was a picture of a car at a show with trash bins and garbage all over and on a bench was someone picking their nose. Yikes!

One of the worst offenders is trying to get landscape shots and making sure power lines and towers are not in the shot.

Never be scared to get into different points of perspective for that unique shot. Laying on the ground, getting on a ladder (safely) to take car pictures offer so many cool looks of your car.

A great way to understand perspective is to take pictures of someone holding the camera above their head looking down, shooting the picture at level with them, take another shot from ground level looking up at them. It is amazing how that same person can look so different from another angle. This process can help the beginner to start thinking outside the box and experiment like the OP mentioned.

Photography is a fantastic hobby and can give you so much satisfaction when you take that great shot.
 
ed1948

ed1948

Royal Smart Person
Aug 6, 2016
1,216
1,399
113
Toronto
#9
Yep, there is a difference between a picture and a photograph.
 
motorheadmike

motorheadmike

Comic Book Super Hero
Nov 18, 2009
3,352
6,252
113
Ottawa, Ontario Canada
#10
LOL... Now I know why you commented on my GBOTM pictures the way you did. I took your suggestion, so I had better win now!

https://gbodyforum.com/threads/1980-pontiac-lemans-station-wagon-its-alive.49375/page-43#post-571857

The kids at the park thought I was a nutjob moving the car around a few feet here and there. But, I had my subject matter in mind and knew what I wanted. I was just a little rushed because I had to get back home to my own kids.

I was stirring at the house waiting for the sun to start setting, and ran out the door when I knew I had a 30-45min window. If you notice the car is positioned so the shadow is away from the car, the interesting thing is shadows can go from a framing box to a long visual distraction quickly. Also you need to get a decent lens so that you can stand back and not have your shadow encroach the frame.

I was also using a polarizing lens which is why the sky is so vibrant; the images were only resized and cropped in MS paint - my PC with Photoshop on it died recently, otherwise it would have had some contrast and colour balance work done. Oh well.

Also, if your car isn't waxed/shiny park it next to duller things (like me) and it will provide an improvement in its percieved glossiness. I have yet to wax the wagon.

I enjoy having a design degree for times like these.
 

Similar threads


Please support GBodyForum Sponsors

Classic Truck Consoles Dixie Restoration Depot Mike's Montes P-S-T Southside Machine Performance UMI Performance

contact [email protected] for info on becoming a sponsor

copyright ©2018 Ripp Technical Services, All Rights Reserved.