Behind the Scenes – Classic Car Shoot

This was a fun shoot I did recently. If you know a car enthusiast, wouldn’t one of these look great in their office or garage?


I thought it would make an interesting post to explain how I go about creating one of these. I use a technique called “Light Painting” which is the only way to really properly bring out all the details, curves, and reflections that make a car guy (or girl) swoon!

Let me start by saying that these take a LOT of work and skill to put together. But for anyone who may be interested in learning how it’s done, here goes.

First, here is a “before” shot… which is how the scene actually looked. Found a nice, but simple location and started the shoot about 15 minutes before sunset and established a “base” shot. Using a moderately wide angle lens allows us to accentuate the lines of the car, in this case a classic ’72 Corvette, AND make it stand out from the background.


Not a bad picture… but we want that bad boy to jump off the page, so with the camera on a sturdy, rock solid tripod so that it does not move even a millimeter during multiple exposures, we start to take individual photos lighting each of the cars features:

Here, I’m lighting the front wheel:


Here, I’m illuminating under the wheel well and grill.


Next, the back wheel and side pipes.


Here, I’m lighting the car’s far profile and edge of the right fender and windshield.


Adding some reflections to highlight the hood.


And the top part of the hood and roof.


Can’t forget the interior, which would be black without some illumination.


And then, the grass under the car to help separate it.


And, of course, the grill.


Then, we begin the painstaking task of layering the individual highlighted parts over the base image.┬áThen, using a technique called “masking”, we hide the parts of each individual image that we do not want to show. So, we end up with a picture where all the individual elements are combined into one image that we could never actually create in one shot. Enhance the sky behind the car, and done!

Beautiful, isn’t it?

Viit 01a

Here’s a before and after to see the transformation you can do with light painting:

Viit 01e

If you know someone who has a hot or classic car that they love, this makes an absolutely awesome gift!!  Call me at 856-228-4399 and I can create a one of a kind look for you too!

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