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Tips on Photography

General Photography Tips:

Quality photos are critical to a well-designed showboard.  Ideally, depending on your vehicle’s finish, you’ll want to choose a setting that will minimize the reflections as much as possible.  It saves a lot of time to simply pick a location in your area where there is a large white wall and plenty of pavement or concrete with few or no potential reflections.  The simpler the background, the better overall quality the finished product will be.  Avoid shooting in grassy areas or backgrounds where there is foliage that will be reflected in your car’s finish. 

Tips for picturesque settings:

If you are intentionally shooting in a particular location you intend to be included in your show board (i.e. your classic 55 chevy at a diner, or your tuned import in an industrial parking structure), try to shoot in the morning, twighlight (with added lighting as needed) or on an overcast day.  Try to position the vehicle so as to minimize glare on key surfaces. If you want accurate color, definitely avoid shooting your vehicle when the sun is directly overhead.  This is especially important with dark finishes as they will mirror everything around them. Avoid using on-camera flashes whenever possible, they are generally not powerful enough to illuminate an entire car.  Natural sunlight on a cloudy day will produce the best results ~ unless you have access to a full photography studio with professional lighting.

A word on cameras and hardware:

While we can work miracles with today’s graphic design software, the better quality the original shot, the better the quality of your show board.  Many DSLR cameras have the ability to produce NEF or Raw photos which are ideal because they allow for maximum flexibility and contain the most data.  If you must use a ‘point-and-shoot’ camera, always shoot at the highest quality/size setting your camera is capable of producing.  Camera phones and other low-quality images are not suitable for large format prints such as showboards and printed materials.

Be Creative:

Your car is unique and no one knows your specialty vehicle and what’s gone into it better than you.  Give your car a wash, wax and tire shine, etc, and then really try to capture the angles and details you are especially proud of and try to prioritize them in order of importance so that the finished showboard is a true reflection of your vision of the vehicle.  Try turning the wheels in different directions, lights on/off, hood-up shots (if applicable) and photograph from unusual high and low angles, anything that will add visual interest.