Speedway Motors is America’s Oldest Speed Shop® and has been a trusted source for high performance parts for street rods and racing for over 66 years. Speedway Motors has built a reputation for providing friendly expert advice and superior service. Whether you are racing, building a street rod or restoring an old classic, Speedway Motors has the performance parts you need – in stock and ready to ship today.
Photographing Your Car
You can admit it; you have dozens of pictures of your car. It is okay, we all do. Did you know that Speedway Motors wants to see them? That’s right, we like it when you send us photos of your pride and joy. If they are formatted properly, we might even be able to use them on our website or in our catalogs. To maximize your chances of seeing your car in print or on the Web, read through the following tips and tricks our resident shutterbugs put together for you!
First, while the cameras in today’s smart phones are becoming more and more capable, a good quality camera such as a DSLR or at least a quality compact will still offer a higher resolution and sharper photos. This will come in handy if you decide to enlarge one to hang on your wall, or submit it to us. (We like high resolution images.) You always want to make sure you have a spare battery, and a few extra memory cards. Have the memory cards formatted to the camera already, this will save time. Also, take lots of photos; you can always delete the ones you don’t like later. (This is why we mentioned multiple memory cards.) Next, get a tripod. No matter how steady you are, a tripod is steadier. Plus, tripods help in situations where you are using a slower shutter speed.
Lighting is a fundamental part of photography, regardless of what camera you’re using. Any outdoor photo is going to benefit from being taken at one of the two best times of the day, early morning and during sunset. Shooting a photograph in direct harsh sunlight produces dark shadows that can be distracting and take away from the overall image. Most dedicated cameras have a setting called “Auto” that controls shutter speed, aperture, and ISO, but try to learn how these controls work on your own. The DSLR cameras have a manual mode that gives you absolute control over the camera.
Location is probably one of the most important aspects in automotive photography. Scout around, find that great spot that works for your subject. Can you add an overall theme to the photo shoot by placing a classic Mustang in front of an old barn? Get an idea of when it is busy, and when it isn’t. Planning a downtown photo shoot? Try a Saturday or Sunday morning, before 11am. Not only will it be quieter than during the week, the lighting will be just about right, softly highlighting the lines of the vehicle. If you go too much later after that you will have the harsh direct sunlight washing out those lines. Also, think about the context of the photo; don’t put a racecar on grass, and try to avoid parking a modern vehicle in front of an old filling station, things like that. Try to avoid having a telephone pole growing out of your vehicle.
Try different angles. There are a lot of people that favor the traditional “eye-level” shot. Change it up by climbing up a step ladder and shooting down towards the car. Also, reverse that and lay down in front of the car. This can create a menacing appearance in even the most mild-mannered car. Vertical shots are a break from tradition as well, but art directors and catalog layout designers like these. (Hint, hint.) Avoid using the sun a backdrop in the photo, as this tends to overpower the camera. While it can be done, getting a good picture this way is extremely difficult.
Are you taking pictures of a convertible or roadster? Drop the top! Chances are you have a beautiful interior, why not show it off? You can sit in the back seat and recline the front seats to get a nice shot of the dash and components, or focus in on that one distinguishing characteristic. Who knows, maybe you want to focus in on Carroll Shelby’s signature on the dash? Don’t limit yourself to just inside characteristics either, think about something that screams “I only belong in this car.” Side scallops on a Ford Mustang, the Rolls-Royce “Flying Lady,” the split grille of a GTO, those sorts of things that just don’t belong on any other vehicle are great things to photograph. Do you have any Speedway parts on your project? We really like seeing our parts installed!
Now we will cover the “Rule of Thirds.” The way this works is that you imagine a grid over the prospective image dividing it into 9 equal segments. The focal point of the image should be at the intersection of two of these grid lines. Proponents say this creates greater visual impact in the photograph.
We’ll leave you with some suggestions:
1) File Size: The bigger the better. Our website requires at least 3000px by 1200px.
2) Try not to cut off parts of your car. Back up far enough that the entire car is in the photo.
3) Leave plenty of room on all sides of your vehicle.
4) Submit a combination of vertical and horizontal images. (One style we use for the catalog, the other gets used on the website banners or even catalog features.)
5) Try to avoid having excessive reflections in the windows and paint. Also, watch your own reflection and shadow: keep them out of the picture.
We love to share our passion with our customers, so if you would like to share your project with us please email your photos to email@example.com.