3 Ways To Shoot A Ferrari On A Budget

One of the perks that I have as a photographer is the opportunity to shoot super cars every now and then. Sadly, I don’t have a big ass studio that I can fit a car into, and I need to improvise by lighting cars on whatever location I can get. Those can be inside a garage or in the street, or somewhere else.

3 Ways To Shoot A Ferrari On A Budget

Here are 3 different lighting techniques that you can use with cars or when shooting large product or still life shots.

Direct Reflection

The first shoot I would like to break down was done inside a garage. It uses what we call direct reflection. This is when we use the reflection of the softbox as the light for the shot. This gives a nice and smooth specular highlight, giving emphasis to curves. We shot inside a garage and wanted no ambient light. We opted to shoot at a higher aperture, f16, and set the studio strobe at about ½ power. This, of course, depends on your particular strobe.

We were working with 2 softboxes for this shot

We were working with 2 softboxes for this shot

While we were shooting we moved from side to side to see where the light was more flattering

While we were shooting we moved from side to side to see where the light was more flattering

Yellow Ferrari

Scuderia

Scuderia Back

This works well with dark colored objects

This works well with dark colored objects

2 Stops Underexposure ‘Magic Bullet’

Another great option is using the same trick that I use for shooting portraits. So this trick can be used not just for cars, but for people and still life too. For this shot we underexposed the background by two stops first, and then we placed 2 speed lights left and right of the subject to light it. (You can read about this technique here)

Setup Shot using 2-3 speedlights

Setup Shot using 2 speedlights

2 Stops underexposing the background and using 2-3 speedlights.

2 Stops underexposing the background and using 2-3 speedlights.

Outdoors Long Exposure Shot

When we shot this photo, we were just starting out and only had small hot shoe speed lights. We did want to produce something special though, so we waited until after sunset and placed the camera on a tripod. We started out by shooting the cars using 3 speedlights, two on either side thru a shoot through umbrella and a bare speedlight in the middle.
We had an extra speedlight and thought about light painting the background using that speedlight.

What we ended up doing was setting the shutter to 30 seconds and  f18 aperture. (30 seconds so we have enough time to walk around, and f18 for the stars effect). After our main light triggered, we walked a full 360 degrees around the Ferrari while continuously popping our speedlight, when we reached the back we pointed our speedlight towards the camera which created the stars in the background.

Setup Shot for long exposure shot

Using 4 speedlights. 3 speedlights for the mainlight and the 4th speedlight I used to lightpaint the foreground and the background

Using 4 speedlights. 3 speedlights for the main light and the 4th speedlight I used to light paint the foreground and the background

  • Björn Lubetzki

    Shouldn’t we name the post something like “3 ways to light a Ferrari without using a massive lighting gear”?

    3 Ways To Shoot A Ferrari On A Budget implies that this post offers us 3 ways to get a Ferrari on a budget that we can that photograph. (At least that’s what I thought).
    I was thinking about a post using a rc car and making it look as if it is the real thing. I did that a while back with a model of a Mustang. The image was okay but the model wasn’t the best.
    For this tutorial you first have to get access to a Ferrari (nothing that you can simply borrow from your parents or neighbors, unless your neighbor is Jay Kay).
    The images are nice, but as I said, the “on a budget” part bugs me.