Although I’m by no means a petrol head, I do love shooting cars. The angles and contours create different reflection of light, and just like any other portrait, the way it’s lit can have a dramatic effect on the feeling you get when you look at the image. Because this shoot was for BMW, it was important to incorporate their motto and ideals, just like you would with any other company. In this case, it was one word – JOY.
First and foremost get the right location that’s suitable not only to tie in with the manufacturers branding, but also the type of model your photographing. The 3 series is probably BMW’s most sold car to date, a slightly smaller version of the 5 series but still incredibly comfortable for long journeys. For this reason, we drove it out of the city and took advantage of the stunning surroundings in the Wicklow mountains. Due to a turn in the weather, there was snow at the upper limits of the hills which I decided to incorporate into some of the set-ups.
We also used the early morning light as a soft tungsten fill, therefore negating the need to carry much lighting gear for the shoot. This was complemented with 2 Canon 580 EX2’s when needed. Another reason, other than the good light, for choosing an early morning for the shoot was due to the lack of traffic in the vicinity giving us the opportunity to angle the car in different ways as needed. And as well as the classic portrait, it’s also important to make sure you get both the interior looking good through the lens, as well as the close-ups of the different sections. In the end of the day, someone took a lot of time in designing these particular areas, whether it be the shape of the rear lights, or the exact measurement and colour of the stitching on the interior leather.
Camera-wise, everything was shot on either the Canon 1D mkIV or the Canon 5D mkII. We used a Pajero as the chase car, jimmying the rear door so I could shoot out the back of it unobstructed (which worked most of the time!). Looking forward to shooting more of this in the near future, preferably in warmer weather.