Tag Archives: Automotive Photography

Automotive Studio Photographer

Detroit Automotive Photographer Tom Kirby

I love shooting cars. Day-to-day I shoot everything from massive aerospace tools to tiny fasteners, but photographing this Ford GT was a treat. Using a light painting technique we walked around the car shining a light at it while the shutter was open. After seeing the results we would alter how fast we walked, where we held the light and where we pointed it until we had a dynamically lit image.

Lighting is crucial for every photo and this car is no exception. These are the kind of jobs that get me excited forty years into this business. As always I look forward to your thoughts.

Ford GT Engine

Automotive Paint Photography

Detroit Automotive PhotographerThe science of automotive paint is stunningly complex. This car only has an “E coat”; it’s the initial coat of paint. It’s a process not unlike electroplating, where the paint is attracted to the metal by an electronic charge. The upshot is that the paint gets onto all of the surfaces of the body including all the inaccessible little nooks and crannies. This, among other things, is why our cars last longer than they used to. My job of course, is make an interesting and compelling photograph for use in an ad. Let me know what you think.

Charger Hellcat Profile

HellCat-7099This is another in the series I photographed of a Charger Hellcat. Black cars can be tricky to shoot because of the conflict between needing to be gray and needing to look black. And it needs to look shiny too! Too light, and it doesn’t look black. Too dark and you cannot see the shape or detail. Let me know what you think.

1966 Shelby Mustang

 Automotive PhotographerI got to shoot a fully restored 1966 Shelby Mustang. Ok, it was a job, but it was a treat! This beautiful car had original tires, an original battery (it was just the case of course), tags from the dealership still on it. Let me know what you think. Automotive Photographer Automotive Photographer

Automotive Studio Photography

Automotive Photographer Not long ago I had the opportunity to photograph this customized Dodge Charger Hellcat. It’s a beautiful car, though I’d have preferred red to black. Black is nice, but red is just hotter! You can see it’s 700 plus horsepower engine on the studio blog. I am always interested in your thoughts.

Car Photography

Outlaw-Mustang-2326There is nothing like a body kit to jazz up a car. I had the opportunity to shoot this Outlaw Mustang in the studio. It’s really beautiful! The wheels, suspension, engine and lots more are enhanced! Being black makes it more challenging to photograph, but you cannot deny it’s elegance. Other images from this shoot are on the Blue Sky blog. Let me know what you think!

1966 Mustang

Metro Detroit Car PhotographerI recently met Barry at a parking lot where a lot of, well, car nuts (enthusiasts, whatever, this is Detroit!) hang out with their hot, customized, modified, cars. Barry’s 1966 Mustang has 500 plus horsepower under the hood, a strengthened frame so it doesn’t twist, because that’s a lot of power. It has a new hood scoop, tires, wheels, awesome! He brought it to the studio so I could photograph it for a day. This is the first of a few shots that I did. Afterword, I showed it to my friend Jim Tocco from Designers & Partners. He added some art direction and text. You can see the original here. As always, I’m interested in what Emmeline or anyone else thinks.

Photography for Digital Illustration


Automotive imaging in metro DetroitThis image for Goodyear was created in the studio and with stock photography from Medioimages/Photodisc. The process of shooting for strip or input photography as I heard a colleague call it, can be quite involved. For this illustration, we carefully matched the angle and perspective. To do this, you must first decide where you are going to place the image within the background. If it’s up close, you need to be closer to the product with a wider lens. In other words, you need to match the actual distance that it would have been had it been there when the background was shot. Moving the camera right or left just a few inches can make a huge difference. Camera height is crucial as well.
Next there is the lighting. In this case, I tried to keep the contrast a little lower than normal to match the relatively low contrast scene. We added artificial snow and ice too! On the windshield, after scattering the snow and ice, we ran the wipers to create the clear area on the windshield. We even captured the wipers in a few different positions, but they were not used because it got in the way of the people inside. We put snow and ice on the grill, bumper, hood and roof of the car. We also shot with the headlights on and off so that decision could be made later. Then Dave took a turn, and lit then shot the models. No easy feat with that many people in such a tiny space. The retoucher, hired by the agency, put it all together with a few touches of his own. As always, let me know what you think.

Detroit Automotive Photographers

Teamwork Photography

Detroit Automotive Photographers

This is the result of the teamwork of a bunch of people. Client, gotta have a client or you can’t get started. Art director(s), cause you gotta have something to say, visually speaking, and the creative team comes up with concept. Photographers, that’s me and Dave. I lit and shot the exterior of the vehicle, then with the camera locked down, Dave lit and shot the models. There was lots of pre-production too – finding vehicles and models – yes, models and the agency too – and stylists. Granted, you can’t see a lot of clothing. Nonetheless, a lot of work went into finding the right coat, shirt and props. Make-up stylist – yup, gotta make sure that the models are looking their best. And, there was a really great dog named Huckleberry and another photographer, Mariusz Niedzwiedzki (based on the metadata), who shot the stock photography. Finally, the retoucher, who put all of the elements together. This was very much a team effort! As always, let me know what you think!