Toys and miniatures can offer an interesting challenge and creative opportunities for photography. Artist Michael Paul Smith has created an innovative miniaturized version of a fictional American town he calls Elgin. This is done by taking pictures of toy cars using a technique called “forced perspective;” shooting the cars at an angle which leaves them looking life-sized to the camera lens.
The project has taken 25 years. A book of his photographs of the mid-20th century town he created was released in 2011. Smith’s techniques create incredible in-camera effects, which, with time, and the right equipment, offer a fun challenge for even amateur photographers.
Lenses, angels, and aperture speeds are important to trick photography. Taking pictures of toy cars works best in a macro lens camera, which has larger sensors to let more light in, and which can blur the background of the image. The more lens options you have, the more options for shooting your project, and the details to take into consideration. If a toy car is a bit banged up, the angle could hide the chipping paint entirely, or the aperture speed might allow a viewer to see every detail, if the viewer is looking at a miniature wrecking yard or abandoned vehicle. An extension tube allows for further optical close-ups, while a remote shutter allows a photographer to take a picture without touching a camera that has been carefully placed to allow for the right angle. But even the best equipment can only go so far. For more hints, and a more extensive list of equipment to use while shooting miniatures, visit Picture Power.
The most important aspect of photographing toy cars, or indeed any photography, is attention to detail. Toys, whether cars, dolls, action figures, or miniatures, offer interesting creative challenges, but have the added appeal of being static objects which, with time and effort, can create incredible imaginative effects.
People who are passionate about cars and photography may dream about combining their two loves to make the perfect career. However, competition is extremely high, and getting recognised can be a bit of a challenge. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Getting the Gear
Before you can start promoting yourself as a car photographer you need to have the tools of the trade. It is worth doing a little research to make sure that you have the best equipment available. Although the cost of purchasing all of the equipment may be high, this is an investment in your career and with luck and determination the rewards will also be high.
Building a Portfolio
You need to create a strong and exciting portfolio that really presents your work in the best light possible and shows what you can do. Instead of simply selecting your favourite photographs, make sure that you have a collection that shows a wide range of different subject matters to show the full scope of your talent. It is a good idea to hire models from agencies to create the perfect portfolio photographs that will make editors sit up and take notice. Make sure that you upgrade your portfolio from time to time so that it contains examples of your most recent work.
Make a list of the publications where you would like your work to be seen and the contact details of their photo editors. Most editors are very busy and do not have the time or patience to read a long introductory letter explaining why they should hire you. Keep the letter as short and interesting as possible, explaining exactly why you are the ideal photographer for that specific publication. Also include a link to a website, social media page or other source where you photographs are displayed so that the editor can see if your work is suitable at a glance.
Most car magazines and other platforms where you want to sell you work do not hire full time staff. Instead, they have a small pool of professional photographers that they contact when they need photographs. Going freelance can be a bit unsettling at first as you will not receive a regular salary or a real guarantee that you will get enough work. However, with a little persistence and hard work you can establish good connections with a number of editors and use your extra time to work on side projects so that you have photographs ready to show when you are contacted.
You will be able to take photos of cars with some simple equipment and a detailed eye for the object. There are a number of techniques so you can use to emphasise key features of your favourite vehicles, and make best use of light. Here are some techniques when taking photos of cars.
1. Consider lighting
The right lighting can make all the difference when it comes to taking photos of cars. In direct light, shadows can be cast on the body of the vehicle, which is usually an undesired effect. Therefore, try and take photos of a car in a garage, workshop, or studio. Softer lighting can help you to create clearer photos that will really show off the vehicle in question.
2. Using the right camera
You don’t need an expensive camera to take photos of cars, although a tripod will help you steady the equipment and produce higher quality shots. Use a price comparison website to find the best camera for you. This will allow you to search for products based on features and specifications, and you will then be able to find the retailers that sell these items for the cheapest price. You might also want to refer to a third party review website, which contains real reviews that have been left by customers who have used a particular camera in the past.
3. Using different equipment
Using different equipment can help to enhance the look of your photos. For example, using a backdrop can instantly draw attention to the car in your shots, and will prevent the object from getting lost in the background. A reflector can also be used to shine light onto the car – ideal if you want to create an illuminating effect. For this to work, you will need to make sure that the flash on your camera has been turned off, and you will need to position the reflector to make best use of the available light. Finally, props like a vehicle mover can help you to convey certain situations, or create an illusion that the car is moving. One of the most popular vehicle movers on the market is manufactured by Stringo.
Starting a car collection might be a dream you’ve had since childhood. There are a plethora of vehicles on the market today, and depending on your tastes, you will be able to collect luxury, vintage, or sports cars that can easily be restored and maintained. Here are some tips on how to stop collecting car posters and how to collect real cars.
1. Making the change
If you’ve collected car posters for some time, there might be a type of vehicle that you are particularly interested in. These cars could be from a certain time period or originate from a particular country. Starting thinking about starting your own car collection, and determine which cars are on your wish list. Do you want to collect cars that you can maintain? Or purchase newer cars that are in a better condition? The former might work out less expensive, but you will need to factor in the costs of spare parts and other materials.
2. Finding space
Depending on how any cars you plan to collect, you will need to have the right amount of space to store your vehicles safely. You will need to have a well-ventilated garage or workshop space, in order to prevent corrosion and rust from ruining your cars. If you are planning to purchase older vehicles so that you can maintain them yourself, you will also need to have ample room to store any tools or materials.
3. Where to find cars for your collection
Online auction websites are a great place to start when searching for vehicles for your collection. Here you will be able to find cars from a wide range of manufacturers, including vintage cars. Having a look at these websites before you make a purchase will give you a good idea on how much certain vehicles will cost. Car events are another way to ascertain the price and range of cars currently on the market.
Car posters are becoming increasingly popular, and come in a number of designs and sizes. They often feature colourful, bold designs with images of your favourite vehicles. Many online stores that sell posters also stock framed art and prints, which can be used to decorate your home. Here are three tips when buying car posters online.
1. Use a price comparison website
To find the cheapest posters online, use a price comparison website. This will allow you to compare the prices of different posters, and find the best websites that are selling these items on the internet. Using a comparison website will let you compare various criteria – providing you with the information you need when shopping online for a product like this.
2. Consider shipping costs
The price of a car poster can increase substantially once you factor in the cost of delivery. As posters are often large in size, you will need to pay extra for shipping, and this might be charged separately or be included with the original price. You will need to make sure that your poster arrives in good condition, and doesn’t become folded or damaged in the post. Therefore, choose a reliable shipping method, and allow enough time for the poster to arrive. As these items might not be able to go through your letterbox, you will have to be at home to receive the item, and sign for the package. Some of the most common materials used to deliver posters include triangular mail tubes, and PVC plastic.
3. Choosing a design
With hundreds of different car poster designs available online, it can be difficult to know where to start. You might want to choose a poster that features your favourite car, bike, or a classic vehicle from the past. Some posters might include several vehicles, as well as text or other graphics. You can even create your own poster designs using your own photos.