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Cars > ModernMuscle’s Garage > Blog


ModernMuscle’s Profile Photo


M –43
Hammond, Indiana
United States


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Been Gone For Awhile

By ModernMuscle

Hello again,

I've been pretty busy over almost the last year. Since starting the new job, I've been back and forth between home and California a few times, on the road a lot and managed to move, change my kids' school, etc. Anyway, I'm sorry I haven't been here for awhile, but I'll be around a lot more now that things have settled down. It's going to take quite a while to catch up on what everyone's been doing. Again, sorry I haven't been around much!

Photo Blunders

By ModernMuscle

This blog is just a set of tips for shooting your ride and goes along with my album "photo blunders". I'm only covering exterior and motor shots; interior and artistic will be hit at a later date. The approach to the shot is the difference between a snapshot and a photograph. Ever wonder why the magazine cars look so good? It's because of the picture set up.

Looking at the first picture, I had good soft lighting at sunset, but did not force the flash. Most cameras need more light to see what we do. It was much brighter on the lcd screen, but the resulting shot is dark and murky almost like it was shot at night.

The second picture was shot just after the first, this time using the night setting to get the colors of the sunset and forced flash. The flash set up like this does not add light, it redistributes the existing light and chases shadows. Not a scientific statement, but accurate for net effect in picture taking. Another point, these were shot low to the ground and I made sure to get all four tires in the picture. These kind of shots will make the car look more aggressive and avoid the infamous "three wheeler" shot. The third shot shows that effect; notice how the car looks off balance and less aggressive that way?

Our fourth photo looks clean, but not magazine style. Let's look closer; the biggest offence is the utility pole that appears to "grow" out of the trunk. Use a portrait setting instead and focus on the car to help blur the background if you can't avoid eyesores like that. The second issue is the line on the pavement. It ruins the flow of the picture. Try to avoid marking lines in the picture; if you can't totally avoid them, position the car so you can crop them out later.

The fifth picture looks much cleaner; the only detraction from the overall is the tree branch on top of the roof line. The cropping and blurring of the background help in this, but it is overall better to just avoid distractions all together.

Perhaps the hardest shot to pull of is the profile shot. That's a lot of background area to worry about and you have to avoid the "shooting the wall" look. This picture is shot as sunset turns to dusk, day setting with forced flash into the sun. Also, there is a significant angle on the car and the final photo was cropped close to bring the car out of the background. This also helps you center the car.

Last, but not least, is the engine bay. Same camera settings apply, but instead of shooting low, these are shot deliberately high. Focus on something in the center of the pic, the rest will follow. The first underhood shot looks good, but the angle did not allow for the entire engine bay. The end result is something that looks unfinished. The second picture is head on from above; though not as artistic, it presents much better.

Some key points for all the photos; don't shoot in harsh light, face the light source, get low (except the engine) and fill the picture with the car.

This is by no means complete, but it will get you going in the right direction. If you are not experienced shooting cars, find a more open area (lacking trees/utility poles/etc.) to reduce the hassle. Remember, practice, practice, practice!

Old School Car Crafting

By ModernMuscle

Just a rant of sorts, I guess. Looking around on here, I'm noticing that a lot of folks who are fixing up their rides do it only by bolt-ons. Not that I'm complaining, as bolt ons sure are an easy to way to add power/style/performance, but why does everyone seem to begin and end there? I'm from the old school of "high school hot rodding", meaning that you modify your existing parts or do swaps on the hard parts like heads and internals. I love the fact that you can order performance packages for just about anything now, but I guess I just miss the days of "how did you do that!?!" after a heads up race (at the track, of course!). Early on, when I was learning body work, my boss had me hammering and filling a fender off a 68 Chevelle; I put a lot of hours into this particular project. At one point, I asked him why we didn't just order an aftermarket fender from a good supplier since they're available and the car wasn't a concourse rebuild anyway (heavily modified). His response shaped the way I view custom cars. He told me that almost anyone can be parts man, changing out old for new, but it takes talent, passion and patients to be a body man. Since that point I've learned how to hit stock parts with a louver punch, french in lights/antennas and even aid in chop top project. I guess that modfiying your parts is how I view car crafting and bolting on parts is only done out of neccessity.

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