Stop Taking Bad Pictures of Your Car | Wheelhouse

– I have zero real photography experience. I don’t own a fancy DSLR
or expensive lenses, one of the old school film cameras like my hipster buddies
do, but I do own this. I wanna help you take cool pictures of your car with your phone, and my buddies Larry Chen and John Cirone wanna help too, so let’s do it. This is my car and this picture is the best picture I’ve
taken to date of said car. This terribly composed,
super amateur picture will all be forgotten by
the end of this episode. For those of you watching who aren’t huge social media
buffs, don’t go anywhere. Learning how to take
a nice looking picture will only help you if
you go to sell your car. It’s easier to sell your car, the pictures make you want
whatever you’re looking at. Think about restaurant food pictures. Would you wanna to eat this or this? Better pictures equals better business, better business equals
better pizza, Papa Nolan. Our beautiful and lovely
model for today’s shoot is Sara’s smurf blue Miata. We decided to bring
Sara’s Miata to a scenic, coastal suburban neighborhood, cul de sac. We’ve got our phone,
we’ve got the location. Let’s talk about light, your best bet is to use a light source
most familiar to everyone. It’s 93 million miles
away and it’s the sun. Here are a few tips when shooting outside when the sun is your main light source: Avoid shooting when the
sun is directly above you. It creates really harsh
shadows, blown out highlights and over saturated colors. This wouldn’t help your cool car photo ’cause clouds help you out because they act as natural diffusers. Meaning, they spread the light out. It takes harsh direct light
and smooths it out like butter. If you can’t avoid shooting
in bright sunlight, find a spot in the shade. The shade will help light the car evenly, meaning, there aren’t spots
that are under or over exposed. Underexposed means an area in
the picture that is too dark and overexposed is the
opposite, it’s too bright. Another quick tip is
that even in the shade, there will be a main direction
of light and generally, you wanna shoot from the position where the light is behind you. Alright, I think we’re
ready to take some pictures. (upbeat music) Oh, these kinda suck. Luckily, I work in Automotive Media which means, I have access to other people in Automotive Media. And his name is Larry Chen. (upbeat music) Alright, if you don’t know, Larry Chen is basically the best car
photographer ever, okay? He shot for Hot Rod
magazine, Speed Hunters, Super Street, literally everybody. I don’t know what to
say, do-do-do-do-do-do Artful.
– Oh, artsy. Very artsy.
– Yeah, very artsy that one. – The camera operator– – That’s good too, I like that. A little foreground subject.
– Yeah. (laughs) – All right.
– Yeah, far away, very artful. Obviously, these are not good. – It’s not that they’re not good, you could still pretty much see kinda what you’re going for
in terms of the subject. Shooting with a cell phone
is one of the toughest things because everything that you
shoot is pretty much unfocused. So, when you park it on
a nice hill like this with a nice vista, you
kinda wanna take advantage of the fact that you can
actually get the background. When I actually started on
Instagram, I told myself I wouldn’t post anything
other than cell phone photos until I got to a 100,000 followers. – Wow.
– I kind of wanted to prove that it’s so much more about the subject and your composition versus what camera you’re
actually shooting with. Right off the bath, this
is a great location. There’s a lot of space here. The best way to get that shot
is to move the car closer– – Okay.
– to the curb which that way, at a certain angle, you can pretty much get
that whole background. (upbeat music) Now that the headlights
are on, it looks like you actually parked there purposefully– – Yeah.
– to take a picture, versus it just being a parked car there. – Rip out your phone.
– Okay. – Just frame out that bench. All right so, that’s one
of the things for me. So, your zooming is this, get this. It’s walking closer–
– (laughs) Okay. – or walking backwards.
– Gotcha. – That’s your zoom. – This is the cheater technique. – I don’t usually carry a
circular polarizer with me. So, you kinda just put it in front. – Oh, that’s sweet. – So, you could turn this, you could see it kinda changes the image. And done, perfect, perfect, shoot, shoot! (men laughing) – [Larry] That’s it! (laughs) – Got here, the dog.
– It’s a good shot. Do not be afraid to move the car. Even if it’s just two inches
here or three inches there. But terms of rear shots,
kind of trick for me, especially in this kind of light, you’ve gotta have the taillights on. That touch of color on a blue car. The front tire is kind of
disappeared a little bit, right? So, trick is to actually
just turn the wheel all the way to the right. Now, this is the quintessential
rear three quarter shot. Kind of shows off as much
of the car as possible, including the rear of the car
and also the side of the car. So, let’s–
– All right. – break out the phones and
get some more pictures. For this, let’s try to get a vertical and one that’s a little higher. So, watch your finger. – Well, that’s your finger. (laughs) – [Larry] All right, I’m
gonna watch my finger. Teamwork. – Teamwork right here.
– Okay, done. (upbeat music) Oh, a very small car. – Yeah.
– Big guy, small car. – So, one of the things
that we wanna really take advantage of in terms of photography with a cell phone is how
small they actually are. But also, it’s cool because
when you’re that close, these cameras are so good, you can actually get macro style shots where it actually produces
some natural bokeh or out-of-focus areas. – So the Miata, not the
craziest looking engine if I’m being completely honest. – Definitely the thing that you wanna show on most cars is the valve cover. Also, this is, it’s kind of a bright spot. So, what’s gonna happen is
whoever is viewing the image are gonna kinda get drawn to this. So, for me, it’s better to kind
of frame that out, alright? So, if you tilt it at a
little bit of an angle, you also get to frame out this,
alright, and then also that. So now what you are shooting
mostly is just the valve cover. – Larry, thank you so much for coming out. Thanks so much.
– Yeah, thanks for having me. – Super awesome. Now, let’s take those photos
and tweak them a little bit. – Miata’s always the answer. (upbeat music) – Okay, now we have
some sweet, sweet photos but good composition is not all you need to make a good photo, you also
have to edit it a little bit. And to help me with that,
I got my good friend here, John Cirone, he likes his fries well done. He’s also a very good photographer
and photo editor himself. Cirone, welcome.
– Thanks, thanks, Nolan. We’re gonna use a couple of apps today. So, let’s go ahead and open up VSCO. VSCO was originally was a film emulator, they have a lot of really cool filters or color gradients as you call them, and a lot of really neat
options you can do in the app. Here, I know this is a
little bit more cooler in temperature of a photo, so
let’s add a little bit back of, a little bit warmth back into that. So, let’s go down to the Ms. – Okay, M. – And let’s try M5. – Oh, sweet, that already looks– – Looks pretty good, right? (laughs) – Looks a lot better, yeah. – What’s happening here is, the highlights are too
bright and overpowering. So, you can actually click on the tones if you slide just a little bit down here. And if you drag the highlight slider, what it does is actually
recover some of those highlights and make them a little bit dimmer. And then, something else we
might want to play with here is the split toning, that’s something that I really enjoy to do. So, that’s going to be all
the way over at the end. But let’s bring some cold
tones back into the shadows just a little bit. So, I’m working with the blue. Now, this particular image, I
don’t think would wanna work too much with the highlights, I actually enjoy this gray
tone all the way across. – So, we’re talking
the photo from one app. – And we’re gonna go into Lightroom. So, let’s go ahead and
scroll down to shadows. – Okay.
– And then, we can go ahead and drag the slider to the
right and it will bring back some of the shadows.
– Oh, yeah. – So, I like this at about plus
30, looks pretty good to me. – The car looks amazing
but also just having it in the background really
makes this photo– – Oh, absolutely.
– So, how do we do that? – Let’s go one slider
above that to highlights, let’s go all the way up to 85. So, something else we could do, we could try bumping the contrast. Here, I like about, let’s do 25. You can also try sliding
the white slider down and it will give you just a
little bit more of that skyline in the background as well,
I like that at minus 30. So, I think this is about
as good as we can get with adjusting light on
the free end of Lightroom. – Cirone, thank you very much for helping me out.
– Always. – I honestly want you
to take the knowledge that we’ve given you here and get out there and take
some really good car photos, and maybe you’ll be like Larry
Cheng and John Sterling here in no time soon. – Or you’ll be like Nolan.
– Or you’ll be like me. With all of these tips, I went from taking pictures
like this a few weeks ago to taking pictures like this. So, get out there and
start taking some pictures. If you post some on Instagram,
please tag me @nolanjsykes Use hashtag Donut Media,
use hashtag Nolan J sucks, ’cause I suck at taking
photos, kinda funny. Since we shot with them,
I’ve been taking pictures every day of my car and
these other cars I find. I, no jokes, spend at least
half an hour every night now just processing old
photos, it’s super fun. Turns out, if you
practice, you get better. If you wanna see more
of Larry Chen’s work, you could follow him on
Instagram @larry_chen_foto and watch his stuff on Hoonigan Autofocus, there’s a ton of videos
about all the shoots. It’s really awesome, a lot of cool insider knowledge from him. Thank you again, Larry,
I appreciate so much, and thank you to my good
friend, John Cirone. You can follow him @cironephoto
and follow @9nine2 as well. Watch this episode of Up to Speed, watch the 100th episode
of Up to Speed right here, it’s super awesome, James cries. And then, watch last week’s episode of Wheel Hunts right here. All right, be nice, see you next time.

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