Friday, October 10, 2008

Shhhhh.... It's a Secret!

The reason I started this blog was to give a bit of an inside look to how I go about taking photos of vehicles, plain and simple really. If it helps someone that’s great, if you chuckle at how dodgy I do things that’s also fine by me, but lately as get more and more feature car work you see the somewhat secret squirrel lives that are Automotive Photographers.

I remember when rig shots started becoming more and more popular in Australian Magazines like Wheels and Motor and wondering "how the hell did they do that" these were not the usual whole car in frame shot either, just a simple wheel shot or even an interior view. I researched Google for what seemed like hours and found the original "stickypod" product sold in the USA and thought it was pretty cool. Anyway… time passed on and soon I was witnessing guys on Photography Forums using the same technique, people were asking from every direction "how did you do that" or "is it all Photoshop" only to receive a reply from the Author saying "sorry it's a secret" oh c'mon… stick some poles out a car and push it, hardly rocket science.

As more and more of these shots became common place, the techniques for capturing them soon became well known, Hobbyist photographers were producing work that often put to shame "professional" old school Automotive photographers and there was starting to be a shift in trends as Generation Y photographers took over.

Complex composites, Intricate lighting setups and just plain creativity were now ruling the roost, and as a willing and eager youngin myself I was on a mission to do the same. I'd try and replicate the styles of the more creative photographers, dissecting their techniques through trial and error. I met some cool people along the way who made comments and criticism's on my work and it drove me to keep at it.

Around 2.5 years ago emailed a certain Australian photographer based in Sydney (name withheld lol) and asked him a few questions about how he goes about his work, how he almost has no reflections, how he finds locations etc. The reply I got from him was in Summary "piss off kid" This bummed me out something bad… all I wanted to do was learn, I wasn't out to take his job or steal his clients, I was just a young kid with a passion for cars and camera's and this brings me to the meat in my rant sandwich.

Whenever possible, I try and take someone with me on a shoot, someone who is like I used to be, keen and committed to learning. If they learn one thing from the day and put it into practice then my job is done, wether it be a simple thing like positioning of the car or something on a different tangent like location scouting or logistics then that’s good. I'm not playing my own trumpet here saying I'm this world renowned guy teaching guys Automotive stuff like I'm Jesus, I'm still a small fish in a big pond in the grand scheme of things but I'm a fish who is willing to teach other fish to get bigger.

About a year ago, Mark Pakula Autosalon Magazine invited me down to a Photoshoot he was doing for a Cover car, in those 4 hours I spent with him I learnt more than I had in 2 years of trial and error on my own! No kidding my head was literally filled with information and ideas to put into my own work. It's this kind of stuff you cant learn from reading a photography website, you have to be there… why is something done like this, why is that reflector there, why did you turn the wheels to exactly 39.99 degrees, no forum can teach that.

That's why I commend guys like John Jovic, who is showing how Pro Stuff is done -

So for those of you out there that do know what you are doing when it comes to using a camera, whether it be taking photos of cars or smokin hot chicks… Grab a youngster and teach them something, show them the ropes, make them carry your gear and get your lunch but most importantly… remember how hard it was for yourself starting out.

And as for the guy that told me to "piss off" all those years ago, well I received an email from him asking for advice on using small flashes not too long ago… how the tables had turned.


michaelv said...

ahahah who was it chris :P anyone i know?

Steven Le said...

Hey Chris,

Awesome blog! It's good to know that you're willing to help others, my friend and I both look up to your work. Maybe one day we'll be able to carry your equipment for you to one of your shoots :P.