From the desk of Troy Kruger, the photographer of the 2008 catalog car.
Welcome the first part of a series of posts that will show you how to properly photography your Mustang. Whether it be for advertising it for sale, or just having fun with your camera and your favorite subject, you will appreciate these tips. We'll all appreciate seeing your great photos on the customer cars section of this website as well!
Today's topic is LIGHTING.
Good photography is 90% lighting. Since many of us don't have access to a studio large enough for our cars, we have to do with what natural light is available to us. Plan your photo shoot carefully. Avoid midday sun, as the light is very harsh and will wash out the top of your vehicle. Late evening/early morning horizontal light is the best. If you are lucky you can get some very good photos right at sunset. You have little time to get the perfect shot, though. That's why I recommend starting with sunrise time instead as you won't run out of time after the "perfect" moment. Make sure the light source is behind you, but don't let your body cast a shadow onto your shot!
Some have recommended using a fill flash, but I don't like it for exterior shots. It looks unnatural to me, and anything reflective on your car (like license plates and decals) will be way overexposed (Boss and Mach 1 owners know what I'm talking about). Instead, always use a tripod so that you can shoot without a flash. You can get a tripod at the local electronics store for under $50 - no need to break the bank if you are just getting started. A flash is often necessary for interior shots and underhood engine shots to fill in the shadows. I like to find some bright shade for these shots and use my flash. Watch out for harsh sun and shadows.
Another good time to take a photo of your car, especially if it is a darker color is during an overcast day. You have more time, and you can rely on your automatic settings with your camera if you are just getting the hang of things. Little can go wrong in this light (except rain!). You still need to use a tripod, so don't think you are going to get off that easy!
The pictures in this post show a car in both sunset, overcast, and flash lighting. You decide which is which, but in the end they all look good!
See more tips on my website: Custom Show Boards