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What makes a great photo?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by SRVLIVES, May 28, 2011.

    Joined: Jul 5, 2004
    Posts: 142


    Considering taking this shooting pics of cars a bit more seriously, and I have to admit that my photos to present have been purely for my own pleasure. What makes a great auto photo, and I mean, more than just the content itself, is it the background, lighting, perspective?

    Here are a couple of pics which I find interesting, first has the lot, lighting, content etc
  2. truckncoupe
    Joined: Apr 4, 2009
    Posts: 1,427


    The content! Great pics by the way, thanks for sharing!:D
  3. glockkf
    Joined: Jul 10, 2007
    Posts: 52

    from st louis

    Has to be the content. Everything else will fall in place
  4. Motornoggin1
    Joined: May 24, 2011
    Posts: 168


    Content, framing, lighting, etc...

    I like all of those, very professional looking. I like the third one best as it seems to take advantage of the light and perspective.

    Joined: Jul 5, 2004
    Posts: 142


    Um... err.... hehe.... sorry for any confusion, those pics aren't mine, just some I nicked from the interweb that tried to convey what i was trying to say.....
  6. Thanks for the idea of photo shooting and what is ideal.I like the first one but if taking photos of a car.why have the young lady distracting what the image is. The Willys coupe is fantastic shot. I enjoy looking at other peoples photos to get idea's to use in my picture taking.

    Attached Files:

  7. In many cases I would ask the young lady to get the hell out of the shot. I dislike posing.
  8. brad chevy
    Joined: Nov 22, 2009
    Posts: 2,627

    brad chevy

    Post some of your pics and let everybody see your work,not examples.
  9. A good eye...
    Good lighting...
    Placement of the object...
    No distractions that take away from the subject...
    Pretty girl doesn't hurt,hahaha!
  10. fanspete
    Joined: Oct 22, 2006
    Posts: 686


  11. flatheadpete
    Joined: Oct 29, 2003
    Posts: 10,145

    from Burton, MI

    From one guitar slinger to rods, great secondary subject and great music in the background (SRV is a great start).
  12. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 18,057

    from California

    the key to good photography is to take lots of photos and throw out the bad ones before your friends see them. digital is free no matter how many shots you take, so take a bunch..

    ... most important rule of outdoor car show pics... no plastic crappers in the background.
  13. flatheadpete
    Joined: Oct 29, 2003
    Posts: 10,145

    from Burton, MI

    But at Sins of Steel we have Poopies Potties. What's not awesome about that?
  14. badshifter
    Joined: Apr 28, 2006
    Posts: 3,331


    Preferably big.
  15. flatheadpete
    Joined: Oct 29, 2003
    Posts: 10,145

    from Burton, MI

    Not offended by all.
  16. I've read about hair spray applied on chrome, to help with glare from the light source. I never forgot that, since it was rather different thinking.
  17. slammed
    Joined: Jun 10, 2004
    Posts: 8,151


    Subject and background. Wimmin'z.......sometimes thay really set the mood. Use of light. Few can pull off sunset/black cars like Steve Coonan. Hank Cash (remember him?) did some fine work. Wimmin'z. Tan-lines and beltlines, following the curves and hitting the angles with out being 'artsy'.
    Joined: Mar 30, 2010
    Posts: 3,253



    "and the bowtie rolls on"
  19. Church
    Joined: Nov 15, 2002
    Posts: 2,817

    from South Bay

    Everything. You can take a great photo of a shitty car just as easily as you can take a shitty pic of a great car. What is in the photo is equally as important as what isn't. Angle, lighting, contrast, shadows reflections, use of negative space, focal point, a fat guy inhaling a corn dog in the back ground etc.
  20. Big boobs & a lot of hairspray.

  21. Black_Sheep
    Joined: May 22, 2010
    Posts: 1,263


    lighting, composition, angle, subject matter, there are numerous elements to a great photo...
  22. nico32
    Joined: Oct 30, 2008
    Posts: 717

    from fdl, wi

  23. hotrodpodo
    Joined: Jun 28, 2006
    Posts: 1,300


    Composition is #1 in my humble opinion.
    Joined: Jul 5, 2004
    Posts: 142


    Ok, these were taken about a year ago at an indoor show, while I think they're nice pictures (I dislike shooting inside) I'm wanting to look at things from a different perspective, I'm reluctant to say (being humble 'n all) but think HAMB calendar shots is what I aspire to
  25. brad chevy
    Joined: Nov 22, 2009
    Posts: 2,627

    brad chevy

    Those are some pretty good pics. Its hard to shoot with all the fancy lighting and mirrors on stuff like that. The most screwed up photos of cars is seeing the cameramans reflection in the car.You got that problem solved already. When you put a fine ass woman in the picture,first thing everybody checks out is the lady"s body parts,not the cars.If you are taking shots of cars do just the cars.Nothing looks worse than a clean hotrod with a over tattooed chick stuck in the pic.
  26. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 20,095

    from Michigan

    Your right! Tattoos don't do nothing for me.. Guess I'm an old fart! :(
  27. wouterftw
    Joined: Aug 6, 2010
    Posts: 68


    Not saying I'm a pro at taking photos, but I like to make a few shots from time to time (at carshows, our own cars and projects, etc.) and there are always something you could call rules when I take the photos. One of them is: "Make sure everything you want in the photo is there, without sudden cuts or disturbing the lines.", not like the left front tire that's going out of frame on the 1st photo.

    Also, you could try and play with the angle some more. Sometimes this means you have get down on one knee (or maybe even lower) or go and stand on something.

    Carshows (like the one you took photos of) can be hard to get clean shots with all the people and extreme lighting. When that's the case you could try to find details, lines, etc. on cars and make close-up shots. When executed right they can be just as cool as a shot of the whole car.
  28. CutawayAl
    Joined: Aug 3, 2009
    Posts: 2,144

    from MI

    Adding to what has already been said;

    Your eye will accept things in person that it won't in a photograph.

    Your eye can see a greater range of light to dark then a camera can. Things that look fine in person can look bright, dark, or contrasty in a photo.

    Focusing on the subject of interest and disregarding other surroundings can result in a bad picture.

    In some cases, pictures taken too close can be a meaningless without enough surrounding frame of reference.

    A simple flash can make a picture possible, but it is not a substitute for good lighting.
  29. Mazooma1
    Joined: Jun 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,598


    Our own "Buick59"....

    ....look at his work for fine examples.
    Mike has great equipment...BUT, remember,'s the eye and mind of the shooter that makes the perfect shot, not the camera.
    Think long and hard about what you want you shot to "say"...
    Do you want a "style" or "lifestyle" shot?
    Fine, add the ladies and models, etc.
    Do you want to just SEE that car?
    Then keep the anything OUT of the photo that will distract from you subject.
    The viewer's mind will automatically "go" where it finds the most immediate "interest". That may be a prop, a woman, a overbearing background....that's fine if you are shooting for an overall effect that those things are added to add to that "effect".
    When I view cars that are for sale in ads in different publications and websites, I DO NOT want to see some woman getting in the way (unless she comes with the car). I never understand why some guys do that, unless she's blocking that huge dent in the fender.

    LESS IS MORE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Make your subject your ONLY subject.
    Anything else in the photo that is anything other than just plain bland WILL become part of the subject and the your subject will HAVE to SHARE the "stage" with something else. NOT GOOD, FOLKS!
    Make your "star" the only "star".
    No fancy-ass celebrity wants to share the stage with anything other than themselves.

    When I shoot cars, if there are people in the background, I try real hard to make them NOT part of the "picture"...either by making them slightly out of focus, or not having their face in the final, edited photo. No face, therefore, no person...just a part of a body is OK, but a face becomes a "subject" with a "personality" and then your "subject" has to share the stage with that face....
    I don't know if I am making sense....but maybe I am. don't really pay attention to that guy who's leg is on the rollbar because his face is not in the photo. Same with the man standing on the left. All that is now is a pair of pants. Your mind disregards these things immediately and then your eye goes, BOOM, right to the driver...and after a moment, THEN your eye goes to the engine....that's what you want the viewer to do. You want to control what the viewer sees and even the order of the items that are viewed. You want the viewer to see your subject first...then to the engine...and so on and so on...
    That way the subject matter commands complete control of the viewer's interest. That's what makes a good photograph stand out from snapshots.

    OK, enough out of me............:)
    Last edited: May 29, 2011
  30. Optical center and Spontaneity and both can make up for bad lighting and the other key points for subject shooting.

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