On Location: Classic Car Photoshoot

[tps_header]I’m a sucker for old cars: trucks, convertibles, sports cars, it doesn’t matter. If I run across an old car, I always want to photograph it. I’ve been known to drive hundreds of miles just to shoot a rusty truck in a hayfield. Luckily, there are some vintage cars near my house, and this Chrysler is one of my favorites. For this shoot I wanted an all-American girl posing in front of the car, reminiscent of the ’50s and drive-ins, but with a modern look. I knew the gritty scene would photograph well with hard-edged light, so I packed up my Elinchrom Rangers, Manfrotto stands, and D800 to get the job done.[/tps_header]

Step One

Classic car on location

Tom Bols

Here’s the scene as I found it: great car, gritty garage, and even some decent evening light. But my model, Melissa, would be staring into the sun, and available light would limit my contrast control in the scene. I envisioned a soft main light with one or two accent lights. Honestly, I thought I might use one or two lights, but in the end I needed five lights to create the shot.

On any photo shoot, I like to walk around the scene with my camera in hand and think through angles, ideas, and design elements: what really stands out, and what scene aspects might be more dramatic with light added to them? The vintage Chrysler would be my main scene element (gotta love the Nebraska plates), but the background had some nice touches, too.

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