Vehicles – Four In A Row

These vehicles below are used commercially and needed to be photographed so they could be shown on a brochure.  Not having large powerful studio strobes at my disposal, I went with one of my most favorite lighting techniques to compose this shot… light-painting!  This session was started a little before sunset and took place at the owners residence where they were parked at the time.  The first series of images were composed with three of the four vehicles in-frame.  The second series of images was composed with all four vehicles in-frame.

Composing the first shot with the three vehicles was a challenge.  The job was to photograph the vehicles to show.  On two sides there were homes.  The vehicles had to remain on the driveway due to sprinkler heads throughout the yard.  They were photographed at a low angle to hide the home behind them. Also, an extremely wide lens was needed. Not only was I trying to keep two homes out of the photograph, but had limited space to work as there was a third home and property directly myself and camera.


The photograph series of three vehicles was not chosen, and instead, the photograph showing all four vehicles was used. The lens used had a fixed focal length of 10mm. With all four vehicles photographed, there was difficulty in completely hiding the home in the background. The vehicles were photographed in a series. First was the main composition of the vehicles with a proper exposure and no flash.


Once the vehicles were positioned for the composition, and after a plain and properly exposed photograph, we then move around and light up the vehicles bit by bit, section by section, with the small flash head, lighting up all parts of the vehicles so no parts are underexposed. This takes a number of separate photographs and the camera and subject(s) must remain in the same spot. The easiest way to do this is by remote.


Front and back, side to side, making rounds around the vehicles lighting up portion by portion, in the end the amount of photographs you take will be determined by how much you can light up at a time, until you have the subject(s) fully encompassed in light. For the shots of the three and four vehicles, roughly fifty photos were taken and then compiled into one photograph at the end.


After all the photographs are taken, they were all imported into Photoshop, with the main photograph of vehicles with proper exposure and no flash as the first layer. The remaining photographs are all imported as additional layers on top and hid. Then you start making the non-visible layers visible, one-by-one as your work on them and masking to only show the parts of the vehicle which are ‘painted’. You can also adjust the layer opacity to change the amount of effect you receive to your original image.

The final photograph is a composite image consisting of the main photograph with around 50 additional images layered on top of it. It was then cleaned up with the removal of the house in the background and imported back into Lightroom where color adjustments and other small visual tweaks were performed. The end result is the photograph below.