I had an open weekend and realized I had absolutely nothing to do. I quickly realized that if I don’t get up and make some automotive images, I was going to go absolutely insane. So I got up and went lookin’ for cars early in the morning at a local dealerships and learned a lot on my expedition.
I wasted my whole morning going from dealership to dealership, introducing myself, asking for permission, and scanning show room floors. It was my first time actually looking at showroom floors in hopes of getting some good imagery.
Definitely easier said then done.
Lighting is always strange, people are walking around, backgrounds are insanely distracting, promos are everywhere, and people alway want to know what you’re up. All of these things aren’t really that big of an issue but the only issue I really had that most of the showroom floors had in common were that they were jam packed full of cars.
clusterf*ck central, no doubt.
Dealerships just cram as many cars as they possibly can onto their floor space and nine times out of ten cars were generally lined somewhat off with the center lines or positioned without thought. Nothing breathed, cars didn’t have their own space, everything was butted up against everything in hopes to sell, sell, sell.
But I get it. They gotta sell cars, gotta work that hustle and you gotta have options. But damn, the presentations are hard to look at. Its actually pretty overwhelming. So jumping from dealership to dealership and running into super insane composition after another, I was ready to throw in that towl and give up.
And on my way home I ran into another dealership and really contemplated going or not, but, alas, the last place I hit was Baron BMW in Kansas City. And to my surprise the presentation was very interesting. Cars had room to breathe from one car to another and the building was so much more interesting and intimate. Each car actually felt like it had its own space.
Bust out the camera, make some damn images.
After introducing myself and gaining permission to shoot, I looked for a spot that was most open and had the least foot traffic. That area was at the top of the showroom floor at this BMW i3.
The building was somewhat dark and light was being filled in by the huge windows in the building. I figured why not just blow the highlights and go for a hi-key effect. Scary world when you blow things out intentionally, especially when photographing a white car, but I’m happy with the results!
I then went off to find a car interior. I haven’t really tried to do car interiors and as far as I’m concerned,
this was the first time I’ve done an interior shot.
Interiors are crazy things and I wish I had access to the keys to light up some instrument panels and I wish I was on a tripod so I could go off and flag some reflections but the situation was super run and gun and the angle I was at didn’t allow for the tripod that I brought along. But overall, I’m pretty happy with it. Always learning, always experimenting.
After making a few shots I decided I would head over the Mini side of the BMW dealership.
Over here, things were pretty cluttered and pretty crazy, but I knew I wanted to make at least one more shot.
All in all, I’m actually surprised that I got the images that I did considering that I just walked around to different dealerships all day. I was expecting to go out and at the very least just practice, but I actually had a lot of fun dealing with the challenges of not actually having control and access to positioning cars and light for that matter.
It was more practice for me shooting completely natural, not light painting, no strobes, and really forcing myself to find compositions from what was already there.
Not too bad for just walking around.
I’m stoked to shoot some more cars in ambient lighting. I can’t get enough of this look.
And hopefully I will get good enough to start mixing light situations of ambient and artificial, but until then, I’ve got to really experiment and get a grasp on how ambient only and artificial only react before I start mixing away.
What a day.