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So you’ve washed and waxed your car. Maybe you installed a new part that you want to show us or just got a new digital camera. Whatever the case, you want to capture your car in all its glory.
This topic is for all you Mazda6Club members looking to take Photos of your car.

Here is a collection of some of tips that I’ve learned in the past couple of years while taking photos and browsing the internet. I thought that some things here helped me become a better photographer and now I’m passing it on to those getting interested in photography. I’m not a pro or anything like that. I’m still learning new things myself. Nothing here should be considered as a rule either, even I don’t always follow them. If you have tips of your own please feel free to share it with the rest of us.

COMPOSITION

Rule of Thirds
<<CLICKY<<
Anyone with the slightest bit of interest in photography needs to know the rule of thirds if they don’t know already. I try to follow it as much as I can. The gist of the rule is to not always have your subject or object of interest smack dab in the center of the photo. I try to place horizon lines on the bottom third or on the top third.

Camera Tilt /Rotation
Sometimes it’s cool sometimes its not. It’s easy to seem like it has been overdone, so try this at your own risk. To me a lil camera tilt adds motion to the car eventhough its parked. I’ve read that its best to always have the car’s front end pointing up, but I’ve taken shots where it was the other way and they seemed nice.

Distance
With my point and shoot I like to stand far back (around 10ft. at least) and zoom in somewhere between 2x and 3x. I think this increases the focal length closer to what things would look like to the naked eye. 50mm is a focal length that is considered normal. Practice taking shots at the same angle and only changing the distance, for example get as close as you can to your car while filling the frame with it and take a shot, then take 3 or 4 steps back, zoom in to fill in the frame with your car and take another shot. Repeat until you’ve gone as far back as possible while still filling the frame and you’ll see what I mean.

Height
I usually take shots of my car at a variety of levels. I have things like foot level, knee level, hip level, chest level, eye level and raising the camera in the air level. I have a screen on my point and shoot that folds out and tilts and spins so it’s easy for me to achieve different levels. I find that the most aggressive looking shots come from the foot, knee, hip and chest level. If you don’t have a nifty swiveling screen like I do, bend your knees.

Angle
I try to take shots all around my car, an entire 360°. If the front were 0°, then I try to get shots at or around the major angles like the 45°, 90°, 135°, 180°, 225°, 270°, and 315°.

Lines
Different points of view reveal different lines on your car. A side shot of the car (90°) can be taken just a tad bit off of the direct side to reveal more lines from the front of the car, or at a higher level to reveal more of the roof or hood lines. The lines from the background are important as well. Use the lines in the background to draw attention to the subject of the photo. Lines can also add "motion".

Background & Location
I try to keep the background simple so as not to distract attention away from the car. Some consider the background to be just as important as the subject. The main things I consider at a location are the lighting and how well it goes with the car. Generally I try to have the sun at or around my back. Nice shadow effects can be had by having the light source at the side or in front of the camera though. I also try to avoid having objects near the car that might distract from the car. Light poles and trees can disrupt the roofline of the car. Bright signs might draw attention away.
I try to look for backgrounds with patterns. Areas like parking garages, truck docks and beside buildings are pretty common. Try to find a place out of the way and different. I find it kind of fun hunting for a good location. I try not to take pictures of my car on the driveway unless I feel it’s absolutely necessary to show off something new or I’m just really lazy. I also hate pictures of cars on lawns. Sorry guys. Stick with asphalt. Parking lots are okay, as long as you’re away from those concrete bumpers or curbs.

Reflections
Try to be aware of the reflections off the car, keeping it simple like the background. Sometimes I might be in the reflection and not even realize it until later.

Horizontal (Landscape) and Vertical (portrait)
I try to take every shot in both orientations. This is one of the best tips I can remember. It’s not until I’ve uploaded the shots into my computer and realize how much one shot looks better then the other simply because it’s in the vertical orientation.
 

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taken with my Nikon D50 pretty much using those rules lol...Gotta love the rule of 3rds. can't even begin to say how much it improved my photography when I learned it. Defiently the FIRST thing any one should teach themselves when getting in to photography..
I havn't gotten to take any newer pics because I have been busy as a photographer for a paranormal group and their tv show, which is why i havn't been on here much lately.. (sounds crazy..ghosts and shit ..at first. but i've gotten to witness some crazy shit since i was brought on.I've always been in to that sort of thing since my father passed when I was 14.)


the main rule with WHEN to shoot is ...NEVER EVER EVER EVER shoot between 11 and 3. That is when the sun is the harshest. Colors won't look solid and dark. it might look normal to an untrained eye. but once you get in to i tand train your eyes for tihngs you will see exactly why.... the BETS time to shoot is as the sun is setting or as it is rising. Most all of my shoots I have set up I make about the time normal people are eating Diner. I'm not a morning person lol......and if you want to shoot some night shots. Keep it at the time of day where the sky is still light up a little. That way it isn't black and ruins the pic. that or if you can't help it then try to avoid the black sky being in the photo.


I use a digital SLR and I have noticed many people who use SLR's seems to have this problem...Remember never just POINT AND SHOOT. The car isn't going to drive off on you. So tkae your time. Line the shot to where it's exactly what you want. and remember the main thing. WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING AT THROUGH THE VIEW FINDER IS WHAT YOU WILL BE TAKING A PICTURE OF...so many people don't follow this rule and they take any picture and wait to review it in the veiwfinder to see how it lookes. Then they have to go back down, re set the shot. and do it over. so just remember. Pretend what you are looking at through the viewfinder is what you are looking at in the LCD screen on the back. that way you can get the photo right in the firt 3-4 clicks. without looking, reseting up looking, reseting up. then chose from those 3-4 shots which you like the best later on.

**EDIT**. I also forgot to add another rule to go by. It's the same rule artisits/Comic book artist follow as well. when you do choose where to put the main subject always try to keep the main focus to the right of the photo. Since we are trained to move our eyes from left to right (reading and so forth) that means our eyes will stop on whatever is in the right of the photo so that is where the main subject should be. (Granted there are always exceptions to ALL ruled so you will have to decide which exceptions to use and when)

Juts some additional stuff I wanted to throw in from my own experience. I got to say. You'd be surprised what that little camera can make you in the end. The guy I learned everything I know from, Brian Peterson, ( http://www.bryanfpeterson.com/detected.php?page=&pass= ) banked in, to date, over 40 grand off of just ONE accidental photo he took from a helicopter view of people laying on the beach through A stock company. and the camera doesn't mean anything other then more options and fucntions to learn. it's all abou tthe photographer. Read around. Smoe pro's bes tphoto's where accidental ones taken on cheap secondary cameras because there SLR or whatever else wasn't within reach. one for Nike of a marathon was even taken on a disposable camera purchased at a gast station station






Here is my camera with my 75-300mm Telephoto lense set on it. I just got the lense a few weeks ago....taken with my crap RAZR phone lol

 

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WOW Rock Steady, that has proven to be very informative. ESP. the rule of thirds. Sometimes I am amazed at just how much I can learn from you guys! Thanks a million. :)

HedsIc nice pics, I like the the last one the most (vertically aligned) nice touch!
Peace fellow 6'ers :drive:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
WOW Rock Steady, that has proven to be very informative. ESP. the rule of thirds. Sometimes I am amazed at just how much I can learn from you guys! Thanks a million. :)

HedsIc nice pics, I like the the last one the most (vertically aligned) nice touch!
Peace fellow 6'ers :drive:
[/b]
No prob...Now that you know about the rule of thirds, you'll notice it everywhere. For example, you'll see it in how shots in movies are framed, print ads, billboards..it goes on and on.

Oh I got stickied..woo hoo! Thats the first time ever.
 

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No prob...Now that you know about the rule of thirds, you'll notice it everywhere. For example, you'll see it in how shots in movies are framed, print ads, billboards..it goes on and on.


[/b]
I never thought twice about it but I just bought some artwork (pics.) of some of my fav. musicians and one in particular stands out as being an object of that technique. :yesnod: Sweet!
 

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I've REALLY gottin into photography since i got my car, I can go out and take over a Hundred pics,

I spend alot of time just driving looking for a good place to take some pics.

Lighting is very critical I would say, on mine and most other mettalic cars it's a difference between a non-reflective mettalic and a high gloss.

Angles as well, alway take lot's of pics... u can always sort threw them later instead of missing or not taking a shot.



angles and using the light to your advantage.


Like stated look through car mags, and look at the style of other pics, and get to know ur camera, all was said but that's the most important.

I put my camera on a tripod and just ghanged the modes on mine and she which focused better, etc.

I love using macro mode and a soft snap combo so the closet image is in focus and the back round is blured.

I myself have a Sony CyberShot 6MP camera, very good camera, and a very good night shot on it, and a quick shutter and auto focus.
 

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Finally, someone has put up sensible advice for taking good pictures. I'm tired of telling people how I take good pictures. Now I'll just link them here. :)

I would put composition section as being more important. :)

Well here's some of my pics. :)





 

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anybody have advice or tips for my picture taking skills....

i'm obviously an amature but i'm starting to get interested in photography. i could use some tips because i'd like to learn as much as i can. Great thread by the way....i have been messing with my camara since i read this thread to experiment. I'll just share a few of my shots....

Sony Cybershot 7.2 MP











 
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COMPOSITION

Rule of Thirds
<<CLICKY<<
Anyone with the slightest bit of interest in photography needs to know the rule of thirds if they don’t know already. I try to follow it as much as I can. The gist of the rule is to not always have your subject or object of interest smack dab in the center of the photo. I try to place horizon lines on the bottom third or on the top third.

[/b]

Heyy, can someone post an example of this? I'm interested but don't understand it too well. :yesnod:

thanks!
 

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Don't center the subject!

OK, the composition police aren't going to come knocking on your door should you break the rule, but it's a good guideline.

See, when most people shoot an image, they stick the subject smack dab in the center. Yawn.

Sure, sometimes it can't be avoided—maybe you have a subject that fills the frame and centered is really the only way to go. You may also run across a composition where anything but centered wouldn't look right. It happens, but not usually.

I've found that at least 90% of the time I can get a better image by moving the subject off center. Just how much off center—and in what direction—is the trick :)

There is a compositional rule known as the "Rule Of Thirds". Basically, it says to mentally take your viewfinder and divide it up into thirds—both horizontal and vertical. Where the lines intersect are the "power spots" (say that with a deep booming voice and an echo for the full effect). Try to put your subjects as close as you can to the intersections.



Here's an example of how this works. The frog is right on one of the intersections



Even if the subject doesn't look right placed smack dab at an intersection, try to keep it along on one of the lines. For example, if you have a landscape photo, try keeping the horizon either on the top or bottom line—don't run it right through the center of the image.

In my experience, this technique is a solid foundation for composition. It's where I start every time I look though the viewfinder. In fact, once you do it long enough, you'll find your compositions will become as much instinct as thought. You'll simply wiggle the scene around in the viewfinder until the comp feels right.

For example, in this shot the lady bug is close to an intersection and lies along one of the lines. It's not exactly on the mark, but this is generally what happens. You try it various ways, and end up close to an intersection or line.



Another cool "Rule of Thirds" trick is to try to string your subject from one third of the frame to the opposite third. It gives it a nice flow and is almost a guarantee of a powerful image. You can usually do this just by changing camera position

I know, you may not like snakes all that well, but look at how, from the head down, it flows along the grid lines. I started with his head (or her head, I didn't check) close to an intersection and moved the camera until I had the composition I wanted:



Here's the same effect with a waterfall. The main part sits in the top left third, then flows to the bottom right third:



OK, I want to stress that the Rule of Thirds isn't a hard and fast rule. I break it all the time. Sometimes elements in the photo simply don't lend themselves to a textbook "Rule of Thirds" composition. So, I fiddle around with it as much as possible. Bottom line: use it for a starting point and then adjust as needed. If you're shooting digital, taking the picture is free, so try it several ways.

Finally, when using the rule of thirds, pay careful attention to the rest of the image. You may find that you need to change the camera position to make the composition balance better. Just sticking a subject on a random intersection doesn't guarantee a great photo (a lesson I learned when I first started shooting).

In this last example, the waterfall not only sits on a line, but on two intersections. It was good, but not overly interesting until I found a tree for added interest. So, I moved around until I had the composition below. The waterfall is the main subject, but it's not just hanging out there, all unbalanced.



The trick is to use everything in the photo to add to the composition. Try all 4 intersections - you'll probably find that one will jump out at ya!

Give it a try, have fun, and watch how much more powerful your images are.

(by the way I didn't write that lol)
 

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A couple of other tips:

wide angle lenses distort so you get a different perspective on things. This was taken with a 17-40mm on a full frame digital camera (35mm equiv frame size). I was standing just in front of the car.



The ever popular tilt the camera shot car mags love. As a pro photographer told me, FTFF (Fill the F'ing Frame)

 

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very helpful for someone like myself trying to learn.
 

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and please. NO TANGENTS.

make sure your photograph emphasizes your car; not the tall uninteresting building that is behind it. (is this a photo about your car or the skyscraper?) make sure there is a focal point.

^just my 2cents
 
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