Thread: Lighting automotive

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  1. #1 Lighting automotive 
    Hi guys,

    I’ve never done any automotive work, I plan on doing some in the near future. It’s a low budget job for a friend so there’s no stress involved, it’s more of a ‘practice’ job.

    Any tips on how it should be lit to accentuate the beautiful angles of the car? Best ways to light the interiors? I’d love to get any of your tips!

    Thanks
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  2. #2  
    Senior Member Karim D. Ghantous's Avatar
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    That sounds like the kind of challenge I wish I had thrown at me! In fact I do occasionally think to myself how I would shoot a car commercial. If you want my brain dump, I'll let you see it, but by no means should you be taking my advice.

    Here we go...

    So, one thing I would try and do is find a terrestrial drone that can drive ahead of the car at a consistent distance. This is usually another car, and many people like the Citroen with the pneumatic suspension (I think?). But the drone would be handy, if one existed, due to its size.

    AFAIK, it's best to shoot just after the sun disappears. Or, you could shoot on an overcast day, which might actually be better. Although you want a uniform cloud blanket if you can get it.

    As a photographer I like to keep an eye out for spots to park a car, where there is nothing except sky and land to reflect in the car's paint. This is probably not useful for motion, though. In fact, CGI is replacing photography for commercial images, but this is not necessarily the best approach for motion.

    Lighting interiors is something that I'd have to experiment with. Night time lighting would actually be easier for me, as I can be a bit 'creative' as to where I would place my lights. I'd have little LEDs with diffusion and I'd try to put them in all the storage compartments if possible. Then I'd see how they look. You might be able to shine some light through the AC vents.

    For daytime shooting, the sunroof can be used to shoot diffuse light into the cabin, but then what if you want the sunroof in the shot? I think some DPs put lights in the footwells and aim them at the roof. You could, if it were safe to do so, bounce a large soft box off the interior of the windscreen, back at the driver. I think that can work? I should try it. If you don't have to shoot the whole cabin at once, why not block off a window with diffusion and shoot light from the outside in?

    Depending on the needs of the client, why not shoot a car going through dust, dirt, water and so on. It's overdone, maybe, so think about it.

    Oh and there are all sorts of brackets and stuff which I don't know about and have never used. Personally I'm thinking of methods to photograph cars so that I have to do zero retouching. What's the point if I'm doing what everybody else is doing? It's not easy to do some shots in-camera, but if I can crack the code I'll be very happy.

    Photographers have the luxury of using cars with their whole roofs removed. Nowadays I imagine that the CGI artists get all that work.

    The only other thing I can think of is that you are going to have to keep the car clean at all times unless specified. That would be easy if you had a bigger crew.
    Good production values may not be noticed. Bad production values will be.
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  3. #3  
    Senior Member Blair S. Paulsen's Avatar
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    Curved shiny surfaces can reflect virtually everything around, including camera/lights/etc. Suggest you wear black and have a black drape for camera and sticks when possible. I'd also suggest large white, 4'x8' foam core or similar, panels that can be used to create smooth refections - and block things you don't want to see. Break a leg

    Cheers - #19
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  4. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josh Williams View Post
    Hi guys,

    I’ve never done any automotive work, I plan on doing some in the near future. It’s a low budget job for a friend so there’s no stress involved, it’s more of a ‘practice’ job.

    Any tips on how it should be lit to accentuate the beautiful angles of the car? Best ways to light the interiors? I’d love to get any of your tips!

    Thanks
    Is this Josh W I know? - (Sorry to derail)
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