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Tips for Street Heat-ers: Photography 101

Posted June 17 2013 11:47 AM by Stephanie Davies 
Filed under: Miscellaneous

Vette Mantic Clutch photo contest

A few weeks ago, we posted and asked you to send us the best pictures you could snap of the GM in your lives. We’ve been overwhelmed by the response, and we want to give you some tips on what to do (and what NOT to do) to make your ride stand out and give your car a better shot of being featured on our pages.

If you remember, we asked for a high-resolution picture. We’re still receiving low-resolution photos, which is unfortunate because as sick as your ride might look, we can’t feature them in our magazine or on our Web site without them looking grainy and blurry. Basically, we need photos that fall somewhere between the 1 and 5 megabyte measurement so that they can be blown up without having that issue. A high resolution picture is determined by its number of pixels. Basically, the more pixels that a picture is made up of, the sharper the picture is. And contrary to popular belief, a low-resolution picture CANNOT be made into a high-resolution one, even with the almighty Photoshop. In other words, the resolution of your pictures depends a lot on what you’re shooting with – for instance, snapping with a cell phone or ancient disposable camera will not yield a high-res photo. If your camera has a setting for small, medium, or large jpeg, as most of today’s digital cameras do, make sure it’s on large.

So what kind of pictures are we looking for? Here are a few tips to snapping a really cool photo of your ride to share with our readers.

- Look for an interesting background, but not one that will take away from the car. Bright colors are okay, but something with a lot of activity or other cars in the background will draw attention away from the car, which should be our focal point. Check out the photo above of the Corvette that won a recent photo contest. Notice how the background compliments the car, rather than draws attention away from it.

- You generally want to shoot with your back to the sun and the car in direct sunlight. Don’t shoot with the sun behind the car, as all of the small details will appear dark and unclear.

- Keep a still hand and a still car. Motion shots are not ideal for this kind of submission, and are generally not easy shots to take without a really good camera, steady hand, and a decent amount of photographic skill.

- Take advantage of "magic hour". Photographers have what we call “magic hour” which describes those two hours, one at sunrise and one at sunset, that yield perfect photo opportunities, especially for automotive photography. During the first and last hour of sunlight in a day, the lighting varies from when the sun is high in the sky, giving photos a striking tone that is hard to recreate. This is not completely necessary, but definitely something to look into.

- Make sure we can’t see you in your photos! Take care not to be shown in the reflection of your car or as a shadow in the picture. This can be difficult during magic hour, so just watch where you stand when you’re shooting. A photo taken from the corner of the car rather than dead-on can usually solve the issue of reflections. Experiment and see what works best with your lighting and environment.

- Try to center your car in the picture. Pictures in which the car is partially cut out are not exactly what we’re looking for. We want to see the whole thing!

- Avoid night pictures unless of course you’re a skilled and professional photographer with a sweet lighting setup (then we’d love to see what you’ve got!). On a regular camera, these shots in general don’t make the car look its best, and all of the small detail and the color will be lost.

Once you have your high-resolution picture, you face the next tricky hurdle. Attaching your photo to your email is important, and copy and paste will not suffice. When sending us your email submission, find the button that should be titled something along the lines of “attach file” or “attach photo” or it might just be a paperclip icon. Click on that, find the photo wherever you saved or stored it on your computer and click “open” to attach it to the email. If you copy and paste, it lessens the quality of the photo, and all of your hard work to snap that high-res picture will be for naught.

Now get out there and get snapping! We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

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GM High-Tech Performance
GM High-Tech Performance