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  • Pimp my Photo

    Hello everyone. As many of you know I have a big passion for both cars and photograpy, and that passion gets more so when the two are combined. So I got to thinking, we're already accepting pictures for the 2010 calendar, which gives us a lot of time to work on those photos. So I wanted to start this thread as a place to ask questions about photographing your car, questions about post-processing the images (please tell me you don't take an image straight from the camera with no tweaking!), critiquing an image, etc.

    If you're the type of person who thinks that any photo with an S2000 in it is a good photo, then this is not the place for you. Anyone is free to post a pic or ask a question. Anyone is free to solicit their critique, advise, etc. But we need to keep in mind a few things:

    1. All critiques are of the photograph itself, and not of the person who took the photo. This isn't personal.

    2. We all need to be polite, but that doesn't mean sugar coating anything either. If an image has serious problems, say so, say why, and explain what to do different. This is a learning experience.

    In the end we should not only end up with a calendar with better photography, but we should end up with a bunch of people who just take better pictures. I see this as a win-win.

  • #2
    I have wondered for a long time what the gain is with the coated polarizing filter over the uncoated (for the $100 more or less)?

    I am really glad you started this thread ... I definitely look forward to all it should bring . . .

    Comment


    • #3
      Good thread idea, Bill.

      I'll post one that I know has some flaws, just to get the ball started and get people into a groove of critiquing and hopefully seeing what can help make a good photo.

      Direct link is here - http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3389/...b3fe9136_b.jpg - if you want to see it in 1024 pixel width (much clearer).



      A few issues I see off the bat:

      1. No CPL filter on the lens so heavy glare on the windshield
      2. Bad reflection (to my eye) on the front fender - it changes the lines of the car.
      3. Loss of detail in the tire/fender well area (single shot can't compensate for both light and dark in such extremes).
      4. The garage door frame goes through the windshield - possibly a distraction or complication of the shot.

      I'm definitely open to opinions on how the car is angled (general posture), how the background works, and if the picture is too boring, too busy, or about right. Also interested in if I cropped it suitably (I cut about 10% of it down, vertically, but kept it mostly the same horizontally).

      Actual work on the photo (using the Canon software only) included a tweak of the white balance, slight saturation, slight sharpening, and cropping the picture slightly.

      Comment


      • #4
        We should have made this thread long ago! This could be a place where advice could be given on purchasing equipment as well. I get so many questions in pms about what and of lens to buy or what camera is best for them. Now we can make this public for anyone who wants to see instead of just helping one person at a time.

        Many of us know that you never really stop learning about photography so I would love to do help out others! Bring on the questions!

        Comment


        • #5
          Good question about filters Dave. In general, coating is better than none, and multi coating is better than single coating. The reason is simple: glass is not 100% transparent. Anyone who has looked outside their living room window at night knows that a sheet of glass, which is what a filter is, is partially reflective. The coatings on filters are designed to minimize the reflections.

          What you don't want is the image reflecting off the filter and the outermost lens element. This creates a mild ghosting, and its enough to degrade the image sharpness. This is why it usually best to shoot with no filters whatsoever. (In other words, if you were talked into buying a UV filter you probably just added $$$ to the camera store with little benefit to your images). A single coated filter is good, but a multi-coat filter is worth the extra bucks.

          Circular polarizers are a great investment for automotive photography. The effect they give on the image, when adjusted properly, can do wonders to the picture of your car. And it happens to be an effect that you cannot replicate in Photoshop. In other words you can't save the expense of the filter and hope to Photoshop the result back in later. Ain't gonna happen. The draw back is the expense. I have 77mm lenses, and a muti-coat CPL from a top-notch manufacturer costs about $200. But it was money very well spent.

          The only other filter I ever use are graduated neutral density filters, and I use those for times when I need to seriously cut down on how much light enters the camera, usually so that I can get very slow shutter speeds. And those are multi-coat as well.

          I don't own or wish to own any other types of filters though.

          Comment


          • #6
            JonBoy, you've got a good start and you already see a few things to improve. The Circular Polarizer will ineed make the windshield look better. As you mention having the garage door end part-way through the windshield is a bit of a distraction. Might be better to not have that transition behind the car at all -- all brick or all garage door. Speaking of, the garage door is dirty.

            The angle of the car is good, but I'd rather see the wheel turned more to the right or be dead straight. That mild turn looks a bit sloppy. By the way, never turn the tires towards the camera -- seeing front tire tread is bad, but seeing more of the rim face is good.

            The only way to get some detail in the tires and wheel wells is to hit it with flash, and for that you'll need the flash off the camera, perpindicular to the car and between the wheels. Or better, two flashes, one for each. But that gets to be tricky to control the lighting and not also get small bright hot-spots on the car, usually at creases in the sheet metal. The lack of detail there doesn't bother me any.

            One thing to try, but this is seldom actually possible, is to get the car quite far away from the building, and get yourself quite far from the car as well, shooting with a long lens (200mm?) and a large aperture for a shallow depth of field. The result is a pleasant blurring of the background that naturally draws the eye to the in-focus car. Again, hard to do, as this usually requires 200-400 feet of total distance!

            You had good light that day -- notice how soft the shadows under the car are. Very nice.

            Comment


            • #7
              These threads are nice.

              On the white S2k photo...

              The background is busy, however it works somewhat.
              The glare on the fender is fine.
              The glare on the windshield is also fine, although more severe than the fender.
              The lows are clipped, but it works in this photo really.

              Overall, I like it.

              EDIT: I have plenty of photos, but none contain S2000's what are the rules on that?

              Comment


              • #8

                For some reason after all the pics of my S i keep going back to this one. It was a picture i took right when i got it home from buying it. I know there are some problems and id love to hear what i can do to make these photos better. Great idea for a thread and im looking for to getting critique and giving it.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by JonBoy View Post
                  Good thread idea, Bill.

                  I'll post one that I know has some flaws, just to get the ball started and get people into a groove of critiquing and hopefully seeing what can help make a good photo.

                  Direct link is here - http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3389/...b3fe9136_b.jpg - if you want to see it in 1024 pixel width (much clearer).



                  A few issues I see off the bat:

                  1. No CPL filter on the lens so heavy glare on the windshield
                  2. Bad reflection (to my eye) on the front fender - it changes the lines of the car.
                  3. Loss of detail in the tire/fender well area (single shot can't compensate for both light and dark in such extremes).
                  4. The garage door frame goes through the windshield - possibly a distraction or complication of the shot.

                  I'm definitely open to opinions on how the car is angled (general posture), how the background works, and if the picture is too boring, too busy, or about right. Also interested in if I cropped it suitably (I cut about 10% of it down, vertically, but kept it mostly the same horizontally).

                  Actual work on the photo (using the Canon software only) included a tweak of the white balance, slight saturation, slight sharpening, and cropping the picture slightly.
                  Not sure if I'm liking the pink

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Dr. Gonzo View Post

                    For some reason after all the pics of my S i keep going back to this one. It was a picture i took right when i got it home from buying it. I know there are some problems and id love to hear what i can do to make these photos better. Great idea for a thread and im looking for to getting critique and giving it.
                    Its a really neat idea, which is why you gravitate back to it all the time. The image is a bit soft, and there could be several reasons for that. Camera shake is one. Lens quality might be another. Or you could be too close to get a good focus. You have a lot of tree reflections on the hood, which normally would bug me. But I think it works because it adds a symmetry to the trees behind the car.

                    One big problem with this type of shot is going to be focus (because of how close the front of the car you are) and depth-of-field (by that I mean getting enough of it, so that the whole length of the car is in-focus). Further complicating is that background, which is currently out-of-focus, which is exactly what you want. Good job there! But getting enough DOF to get the car crisp and the background a bit blurred, well, that's a bit tough.

                    The background is simple, uncluttered, which is good. It doesn't compete for the attention with the car, which is what you want. You might try a different height of the camera, see if you can get the entire horizon under the windshield, and see if you think its better or worse.

                    If I were to try this shot again I would try a tri-pod. I would try several elevations, changing the relation of the horizon to the lower edge of the windshield. And you might need to step back just a little to insure the lens can achieve focus on the headlights. For this shot to work you want tack-sharp headlights and pretty dang sharp A-pillar with softly out-of-focus horizon.

                    You're not that far from the end goal here.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Jasonoff View Post
                      Not sure if I'm liking the pink
                      May the fleas from a thousand camels invade your armpits. My car went from fast to furious in one fell swoop.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by bjurasz View Post
                        JonBoy, you've got a good start and you already see a few things to improve. The Circular Polarizer will ineed make the windshield look better. As you mention having the garage door end part-way through the windshield is a bit of a distraction. Might be better to not have that transition behind the car at all -- all brick or all garage door. Speaking of, the garage door is dirty.

                        The angle of the car is good, but I'd rather see the wheel turned more to the right or be dead straight. That mild turn looks a bit sloppy. By the way, never turn the tires towards the camera -- seeing front tire tread is bad, but seeing more of the rim face is good.

                        The only way to get some detail in the tires and wheel wells is to hit it with flash, and for that you'll need the flash off the camera, perpindicular to the car and between the wheels. Or better, two flashes, one for each. But that gets to be tricky to control the lighting and not also get small bright hot-spots on the car, usually at creases in the sheet metal. The lack of detail there doesn't bother me any.

                        One thing to try, but this is seldom actually possible, is to get the car quite far away from the building, and get yourself quite far from the car as well, shooting with a long lens (200mm?) and a large aperture for a shallow depth of field. The result is a pleasant blurring of the background that naturally draws the eye to the in-focus car. Again, hard to do, as this usually requires 200-400 feet of total distance!

                        You had good light that day -- notice how soft the shadows under the car are. Very nice.
                        Thanks for the critique and suggestions. Off-camera flashes seem like a no-brainer for car shots like these. Some day, I guess...

                        I've been looking for some place to do long shots and zoom in but it's tough to find a place like that. That kind of shot really does work well, especially if you can get your DOF so that the car itself is totally in focus all over (no softness whatsoever).

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by bjurasz View Post
                          Its a really neat idea, which is why you gravitate back to it all the time. The image is a bit soft, and there could be several reasons for that. Camera shake is one. Lens quality might be another. Or you could be too close to get a good focus. You have a lot of tree reflections on the hood, which normally would bug me. But I think it works because it adds a symmetry to the trees behind the car.

                          One big problem with this type of shot is going to be focus (because of how close the front of the car you are) and depth-of-field (by that I mean getting enough of it, so that the whole length of the car is in-focus). Further complicating is that background, which is currently out-of-focus, which is exactly what you want. Good job there! But getting enough DOF to get the car crisp and the background a bit blurred, well, that's a bit tough.

                          The background is simple, uncluttered, which is good. It doesn't compete for the attention with the car, which is what you want. You might try a different height of the camera, see if you can get the entire horizon under the windshield, and see if you think its better or worse.

                          If I were to try this shot again I would try a tri-pod. I would try several elevations, changing the relation of the horizon to the lower edge of the windshield. And you might need to step back just a little to insure the lens can achieve focus on the headlights. For this shot to work you want tack-sharp headlights and pretty dang sharp A-pillar with softly out-of-focus horizon.

                          You're not that far from the end goal here.
                          Thanks a lot, i really appreciate the input. I will definately take your comments and do the best i can to work out a better shot... I know there are a few things i can change and make a lot better and you pointed out some things that havent crossed my mind. Thanks! Hopefully tomorrow will be a sunny day in Colorado and i can enjoy my can and some photography. Thanks again.
                          -Stuart

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by JonBoy View Post
                            Thanks for the critique and suggestions. Off-camera flashes seem like a no-brainer for car shots like these. Some day, I guess...

                            I've been looking for some place to do long shots and zoom in but it's tough to find a place like that. That kind of shot really does work well, especially if you can get your DOF so that the car itself is totally in focus all over (no softness whatsoever).
                            If you can shoot at 100mm or longer and at about f/4.5 you should have enough DOF, and if the background is far enough away it will be nicely blurred.

                            This was 95mm, f/4.5, the background quite far away. Notice you can tell its trees, but you can't really see much detail in those trees. The car, however, is sharp. Your eye naturally goes to what is sharp, but that gently blurred background adds "enviornment" to the shot -- you know where its taken, but you don't pay attention to anything but the car.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The crosshairs help to focus, too.
                              "Blue Oh-Two" (#424)
                              Rick's header, Hondata gasket, Mugen thermostat/fan switch, Mugen radiator cap, Aussie mirror, Lucid's rear speakers, Alpine CDA-7893R & KCE-865B, Muz's saddlebag, Windscreen Light, Modifry's glove box organizer and lots of Zaino!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Photo effect, feedback wanted

                                Looking for feedback on this image. Thanks!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by bjurasz View Post
                                  Looking for feedback on this image. Thanks!

                                  I like it but I'm no expert.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Although for the Calendar Submission should we remove front plates?

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Bill, it's a neat effect. I'm wondering if it works at higher resolution/sizes? Seems neat in a smaller photo but I think it'd lose some in a bigger size. Do you have a larger size?

                                      Comment

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