With curved and straight reflective painted surfaces vehicles are difficult to photograph – especially darker colours and metallic finishes. Thrown into the mix are chrome, glass, leather, carbon-fibre and different textured plastics: Everything interacting with light in different ways and all influenced by the locational environment.
In a studio situation and depending on a client’s specific requirements Tim Salix can install anywhere between 10 to 15 lights, where a full day is necessary to absorb the setup/pack-down time. Otherwise, with smaller assignments he will utilise outdoor natural or indoor ambient lighting. These commissions still come with the benefit of his specific techniques built-up over 14 years of being a photographer and understanding the complexities of photographing automobiles.
The primary lens Tim uses for his car photography shoots is a Leica 24-90mm. The range this lens offers covers the majority of vehicles and avoids any ultra wide-angle lens distortion issues.
Problems of reflective badges and mirror chrome grills, when photographing directly in front of and the camera/lens/tripod appear in the image, is resolved by using a Nikon 85mm tilt/shift lens.
This specialist lens has the ability to position off-centre to the specific subject matter and ‘shift’ so the photo appears to have the camera looking straight on but without it showing up in the final image.