How To Shoot a Porsche With Minimal Gear

Mar 19, 2014

Laya Gerlock

Laya Gerlock is a Portrait and Product photographer based in the Philippines. His passion is teaching and sharing his knowledge in Photograpy and has been doing this for 6 years. You can follow his work on his web page, follow him on Flickr and if you happen to come by Cubao, Quezon City (To Manila, Philippines) he gives a great workshop!

How To Shoot a Porsche With Minimal Gear

Mar 19, 2014

Laya Gerlock

Laya Gerlock is a Portrait and Product photographer based in the Philippines. His passion is teaching and sharing his knowledge in Photograpy and has been doing this for 6 years. You can follow his work on his web page, follow him on Flickr and if you happen to come by Cubao, Quezon City (To Manila, Philippines) he gives a great workshop!

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Me and some friends were practicing our photography with cars and wanted to shoot his Porsche. We were only shooting the car inside his garage and didn’t have a studio that can fit a whole car so we did what we could. We tried shooting the Porsche with studio strobes and a couple of speedlights but we also wanted to do something different.

Porsche using studiostrobes
Porsche shoot using studio strobes and softbox

Long time ago, when I started playing around with light painting, I light-painted my guitar using a piece of flashlight. I thought it would be really cool if I used the same technique only using a really big subject (say, a Porsche) and a really big light source. The results are spectacular, and this is definitely something you can try at your own garage.

The inspiration for this shot. Lightpainting a guitar.
The inspiration for this shot. Light painting a guitar.

This is how we did it

There were three of us shooting so for our tripods we just placed our cameras in chairs. We turned off all the ambient light that we could in the garage so that it wouldn’t expose our shot and the person that would light paint the car.

We first tried light painting the Porsche using only a small LED video light. It was hmmm, OK… , but we were getting small and annoying highlights on the car becasue the light source was not big enough. We needed a much bigger light source, so that it would be easier to paint the entire car and get bigger reflections from our light source.

Lightpainting using one video light.
Light painting using one video light.

In comes the softbox

What we did was adding another LED video light, just for the sake of getting more power and placed them both inside a 60x90cm softbox. We couldn’t mount the video lights inside the softbox so we just held them in our hands.

The results was this.

There was light coming out of the back of the softbox and from the side.
There was light coming out of the back of the softbox and from the side causing some light streaks at the front of the car.
Still getting spill from the side and back of the softbox
Still getting spill from the side and back of the softbox

This is how it looked like in real time

How To Shoot a Porsche With Minimal Gear

As you can see, there were lights coming out of the back and the sides of the softbox, which left visible trails in the photo. We got some black cloth and tape and closed the holes to avoid any spills our shots.

First we tried light painting only in front of the car, which was mmm…. ok, but not perfect.

porcshe-front

Then, for the final shot, we light painted the whole 360 degrees of the car. To Finish it off, we made a short run behind the car while pointing the softbox straight at our camera to get a nice trail of light going on (we did this on a smaller scale here)

LightPainting a Porsche

The Final Shot

The only post processing that was done is level adjusted in Photoshop and deleting the plate number.

Final Shot
Final Shot. We light painted the car 360degrees. Adjusted levels in Photoshop.

Bonus

See if you can spot the painter in the picture.

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Laya Gerlock

Laya Gerlock

Laya Gerlock is a Portrait and Product photographer based in the Philippines. His passion is teaching and sharing his knowledge in Photograpy and has been doing this for 6 years. You can follow his work on his web page, follow him on Flickr and if you happen to come by Cubao, Quezon City (To Manila, Philippines) he gives a great workshop!

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8 responses to “How To Shoot a Porsche With Minimal Gear”

  1. Bimal Nair Avatar
    Bimal Nair

    I loved the one just before final shot. The 2nd last pic has more visibility to the car in totality. Love the see through sight of this beautiful piece of marvel!

  2. msechea Avatar
    msechea

    creative method and i do see the bonus photographer! i will keep that to myself. my comments are i don’t find the warmth flattering with a gray car. seems combative. also the light trail near the left side mirror, that dark area at a glance is taking on the shape of the car, so its not a true accentuation of the curves and lines of the porsche around that area (makes the windshield look wider than it actually is).

    other than those comments i think it’s a great execution.

  3. Shachar Weis Avatar
    Shachar Weis

    Step 1. Get a Porsche.
    :(

  4. Shachar Weis Avatar
    Shachar Weis

    Step 1. Get a Porsche.
    :(

  5. Successor Avatar
    Successor

    It was nice but i’m not such a big fan of uneven light streaks. It would be cool to set the lights on a pair or wheels or so when going benind the car to get a more even lightstreak

  6. akshayjamwal Avatar
    akshayjamwal

    Well done. Inspiring for those looking to experiment!

  7. Doug Avatar
    Doug

    Here is another way to shoot a car with only one light…one that I made out of cardboard in my “mancave”.

    Course it helps that the car is only 5″ long!

  8. Ezra Ekman Avatar
    Ezra Ekman

    That’s pretty slick. Another option for light painting: the same long exposure, but multiple triggers of a flash rather than a moving video light. You (and the light source) can be out of the frame, yet you’re still able to light the entire car. Also, with a handheld strobe in manual, you have total control over light output and control. You can even use snoots and gobos for lighting specific areas, and if you plan it right, a single person could both shoot and light the shot during that exposure. (Example: start shutter, run between pre-marked positions and trigger strobe, then run to the next position, etc. If light modifiers are needed, leave them at those positions and/or carry them with you, discarding them out of frame as needed.)