For those that follow my blog on a regular basis, you know that I look to Detroit for inspiration. I love to photograph there, and I believe the growing strength of Detroit will spread and benefit the region and the State in years to come.
Here is just some of the positive news about Detroit
Forbes Ranks Detroit 6th On Its “Happiest Young Professionals” List! Forbes Link
Detroit Creative Corridor No Longer So Far-Fetched Creative Corridor Link
Detroit’s rapid growth in college-educated residents under 35 years old. Rapid Growth Link
Mind the Gap – Proposed Detroit Design Project to fill empty spaces Mind the Gap Link
We can keep the progress moving forward by small, positive actions by many people throughout the region, the State of Michigan, and the country.
Dream Cruise weekend is fast approaching in metro Detroit, and photographers will be snapping thousands of pictures of classic cars. Here are a few tips to get the best pictures of classic cars.
1) Panning – When cars are moving fast and you want to catch the action, pan your camera with the movement of the car. This will help keep the car in focus and provide a nice blur of the background image.
2) Use the Right Shutter Speed – If you are using a telephoto lens, increase the shutter speed to compensate for the greater impact of camera shake. I like to use double the focal length of the lens (2:1 ratio) when I am shooting moving cars. For a 200mm lens, I use a shutter speed of 1/400 second or faster. I consider a 1:1 ratio to be the minimum, recognizing that you may end up with more slightly blurred shots at this lower speed. When cars are stationary and you can hold a steady stance and grip, it opens up more options for slower shutter speeds.
3) Consider Rear Curtain Flash at Night – The rear curtain flash mode on a DSLR camera fires the flash at the last second before the camera’s shutter closes. If we break rule number 2 above and slow the shutter speed at night to 1/40 (for example) to take in more low-light background, the rear curtain flash setting can provide a cool effect and still give you a sharp image of a moving car. Try it out and experiment, and don’t forget to pan with moving car.
4) Change your Angle – Try to get away from the standing up position / point and shoot mode. Bend down and shoot from close to the ground to get a unique angle on the front grill of a classic car. Alternatively, find a higher vantage point. Mix it up and you will reap the benefits.
5) Look for the Details – Hood ornaments, door handles, license plates, tail pipes and more are all possible subjects for great classic cars. Try to find a clean background and use a wide open aperture (e.g., f 2.8) to blur out the background.
6) Watch for Background Clutter – For all shots, quickly scan the background for unwanted distractions (utility poles, ugly signs, etc.). If you can’t avoid clutter, open up the aperture and let the camera blur out the background.
7) People – Don’t forget that every classic car has a story, and the person behind the restoration effort is likely nearby. Most will be proud to be part of the photograph. Consider taking one shot with just the car and another with the owner. You may end up hearing a great story.
The final tip is related to post processing. Experiment with conversion to black and white, tonal contrast adjustments, and other techniques. Sometimes I like to boost the contrast and levels in the sky in Photoshop or Lightroom to bring out more details, while keeping the balance of the shot at a different setting. This allows people to see images that are closer to the tonal range that the human eye sees. If you have a tripod, take multiple exposures at different exposure values and process with high dynamic range (HDR) software to increase your creative options (tip: keep the same f stop and change the shutter speed so the depth of field remains the same in each shot).
Best of luck and feel free to share your links. You can find many of my Dream Cruise photos at Patch.com
City Photos and Books Web Site
I had the opportunity to spend some time with The Blue Effect for a downtown Birmingham photo shoot. As the band’s photographer, I usually capture them performing, so this was a unique opportunity to explore the band’s hometown on a hot summer day.
I am often asked about helpful tips that clients can follow before a portrait session. This is a summary of my most common tips.
Photography by Rod Arroyo
Metro Detroit’s Drew Machak, lead singer of the Blue Effect, took part in the Milwaukee tryouts for American Idol, which aired on Jan 26, 2011. Drew is going to Hollywood! You can find the band’s music on iTunes. Also, visit www.myspace.com and Drew’s solo work on Bandcamp.