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!
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