Shooting Challenge: Cars

Every week, we get a few car photographs in our Shooting Challenges. I get it. You like cars. So for this week's Shooting Challenge, take a really fantastic photograph of a car.

The Challenge

Take a picture of a car or cars (a good one!). Be as creative as you'd like. Use post production to enhance/clean your shots. But make the car the star of the photo.

The Technique

Cars are remarkably easy to photograph. Why? They've been designed by hundreds, sometimes thousands of people to be visually striking. Even the ugliest of cars have interesting lines and curves that you can hone in on in a tightly cropped shot. Cars, at their core, have character. And if you approach the shoot like you would a person's portrait, you're sure to have good results.

That said, find a really cool car to photograph, OK? Consider going to one of those local "we've all parked our cars with the hoods up in some parking lot" events that every city seems to have. Make a friend. I'm sure they'd love to have their car photographed well.

But as for actual technique, there are many generic sites that promise car photography tutorials, but actually kind of like Car Photography Tutorials. It's full of pragmatic workflows, from the photo shoot to the post processing.

I also like this video tutorial by Lynda. Only part of it is available on YouTube—the rest is in some subscription service I'm not very familiar with—but even this 12-minute teaser will take you into the mind of a professional car photographer, thinking about lines, contrast and spacing as they do.

The Example

Our lead shot is by flickr's Brian Johnson. It's an HDR photo that I'm guessing used a bit of post production sharpening to really make the car cut through the frame. It's sort of like poprocks on your eyeballs—a bit too much of everything—and that's fantastic for cars. Because if we didn't want our cars to be at least a bit absurd, we'd all just ride around on gas-sipping bikes. That said, I think the photo could probably afford to put some space in front of the car's headlights, just as you would offer space in a frame to a person looking off into the distance.

The Rules

0. No watermarks. They're so ugly.
1. Submissions need to be your own.
2. Photos must be taken since this contest was announced (read more on that above).
3. Explain, briefly, the equipment, settings, technique and story behind shot.
4. Email submissions to contests@gizmodo.com, not me.
5. Include 970px wide image (200KB or less) AND a 2560x1600 sized in email. I know that your photo may not fall into those exact high rez dimensions, so whatever native resolution you're using is fine.
6. One submission per person.
7. Use the proper SUBJECT line in your email (more info on that below)
8. You agree to the Standard Contest Rules - though we DO accept non-US resident submissions.
9. If the image contains any material or elements that are not owned by you and/or which are subject to the rights of third parties, and/or if any persons appear in the image, you are responsible for obtaining, prior to submission of the photograph, any and all releases and consents necessary to permit the exhibition and use of the image in the manner set forth in these rules without additional compensation. If any person appearing in any image is under the age of majority in their state/province/territory of residence the signature of a parent or legal guardian is required on each release.

Send your best photo by Monday, October 1st at 10AM Eastern to contests@gizmodo.com with "Car" in the subject line. Save your files as JPGs, and use a FirstnameLastnameCar.jpg (970px wide) and FirstnameLastnameCarWallpaper.jpg (2560px wide) naming conventions. Include your shooting summary (camera, lens, ISO, etc) in the body of the email along with a story of the shot in a few sentences. And don't skip this story part because it's often the most enjoyable part for us all beyond the shot itself!


This week's Gizmodo Shooting Challenge is brought to you by Intel. Take a look at their Intel-inspired Ultrabook Shooting Challenge here.