Yesterday I had a great opportunity to photograph a few exotics at my university. When I used to live in the USA, I was heavily involved in our local tuning scene. Always went to races, shows and even modified my own car a bit. One of the things I loved the most was photographing the cars at the shows, but back then I had a tiny point-and-shoot. I loved making photos back then but my passion for photography had not quite become what it is now. Now that I have experience and a good camera, I was finally able to make the kinds of photos I wanted to make back when I was a teenager. Here are some of the shots I was able to put together with my D5100 and Tamron 28-75mm 2.8.
These are my favorite shots, but there are still some aspects I'm not entirely pleased with. A number of people would criticize me for not making shots of the entire cars themselves, but there were several people milling about and they would have been in every photo. I also wanted to get some more "abstract" angles - angles that one does not often see or pay attention to on a car. I think they came out pretty good, but as I said there are some aspects I would prefer to improve. For instance, I would have loved to have a few flashes and a couple of softboxes set up but unfortunately I have none of that (yet). After having the opportunity to play with a friend's flash, I realized that this is a skill that every photographer needs to master: off-camera flash. Photography is obviously about light but the key to great photos is knowing how to actually use the light. Your composition can be the best in the world but if you can't properly light a subject, then your photos will always be horrible.
In the case of shooting cars, being able to add light to locations that are not getting any (for instance the area on the rear of the Lambo is really dark) goes a long way to adding detail that is otherwise being missed. When shooting outside I also have no control where the light is coming from and its intensity, so using a flash or two to compensate can make a huge difference. The downward shot of the Audi's headlight would have greatly benefited from this. As the photo is now, it's nice but it could be better with proper lighting. A flash would also have given me the ability to make the background disappear and only have those aspects of the car lit that I want (here's a nice and simple how-to on how to do this for portraits).
Considering the location and the fact that I didn't have anything aside from the lens, a cloudy day and my camera, the shots turned out pretty good. Once I get the proper equipment, though, I'll give this another try. I'm looking at a pair of Yongnuo 560 Mk3 flashes (the models with the built-in radios) and once I get those, then we're in business!