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active 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Interview with Vasco Estrelado

APA: Hello, Vasco! Please introduce yourself.

Vasco: Hello! I´m a 39 year old professional photographer based in Lisbon Portugal. Photography is my pation. I started late about 8 years ago. I´ve been a car photographer about 2.5 years.

APA: Where did your interest for Car Photography start?

Vasco: I´ve got invited to show my portfolio in the best car magazine in Portugal. “Revista Turbo” that was the first time I´ve photographed a car and I fall in love with the first photos.

APA: What camera did you first begin photographing with? What type of camera, lens, and equipment do you use now?

Vasco: My first camera, was a Christmas present from my parents. It was a Canon 350 that I still have.

Now I use:

  • Canon 5DMKIII
  • Canon 7D
  • Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM
  • Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM
  • Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM
  • Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM
  • Canon 430EXII Flash

APA: How do you match the car, its spirit and customer target with a shooting location?

Vasco: I try to photograph the car where that specific car lives. On is garage or drive way, and nearby roads. Places that tell something to the owner.

APA: For all the cars that you’ve shot, do you have a favorite?

Vasco: Well……..that´s kind of difficult. The car it´s not the only thing that makes the shot special, but all the things that involve the shoot. The place, the car, the final result. But if have to chose maybe a Ferrari 308 Quattrovalvole.

APA: You are based in Portugal. Does the landscape or artistic culture of the country influence your work at all?

Vasco: Yes of course. I live near a famous place in Portugal called “Serra de Sintra” where the World Rally took place many years ago. Also we have a amazing coast line with fantastic beaches.

APA: How do you keep yourself motivated and your photography creative, inspiring and fresh?

Vasco: It´s a constant search to learn, evolve and outcome myself every day. I´m doing always doing one of this things:

  • Watching a video on YouTube
  • Reading an article online
  • Watching photos of other car photographers

And now with the new and fantastic website from APA we have always some thing to read and see. Bye the way congrats. You are doing a very good jog helping this new “race” of photographers to grow and be taken serious by the industry.

// thanks for these words, Vasco!

APA: Can you name some photographers that inspires you with their works and why?

Vasco: I love so many photographers, but for me there is one that makes me very exited with is work. Frederic Schlosser is the man. Not only is work is top, but I think is always at a very high level. I never seen a “meehhh” photo of him. Also he is a fantastic person, always available to help and talk.

Other names that I love:

  • Matt Magnino
  • Andrew Link
  • Thomas Larsen
  • Michael Lee

APA: What type of software do you use for post-processing, and on average how long does the entire procedure take?

Vasco: I use Adobe Photoshop CC. It realy depends of what kind of look and technique that you use. But it could that a few minutes with some presets on editorial photos, and a couple of hours in some composites.

APA: Thank you for giving us this interview. Could you please share some important automotive photography tips that a beginner should try?

Vasco: The best way to have good photos of cars is………. photograph cars. If you don´t star doing it you will never have it. Just do it. Your friends cars, your personal car. Forget photoshop and composites. Learn the basics. Angles, focal length, time of the day, and most of all take care of the distractions in the first photos. Details is what makes a good photo. Trafic signs, pleople take them of when you are taking the photo. And don´t do car spoting thinking that you are a car photographer just because it´s a ferrari. If you go to the street photographing beautiful women you are not a fashion photographer. Get the oldest car, but control every thing. Position, angle, light, location.

Links:

  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vascoestrelado.photographer
  • Website: http://vascoestrelado.com/
  • Instagram: http://instagram.com/vascoestrelado


Interview with Karl Wiedenhofer

APA: Hi, please introduce yourself.

Karl: Hi, my name is Karl Wiedenhofer, I am barely 19 and I come from Graz, which is in southeastern Austria (not Australia  ).

I came to photography because of my father, a long-time hobby photographer, who gave me his old camera as a birthday present some years ago. I soon got into photography and in 2013 at the Vienna Autoshow, I took photos of the cars, actually just for fun and for my personal archive. I also published them on my facebook page, and suddenly, my page got a lot of attention and I didn’t know where this was coming from.

Soon I noticed, that Audi of Germany had shared some of them on their Facebook page with over a million fans. I was absolutely stunned of course, and since I have always had a big passion for cars, I got into automotive photography. I worked a lot with the Austrian board “Audi4Ever” and shot their members cars. In August 2013, Audi of Austria approached me and we started working together for some awesome projects – which include cars like the all new Audi TT, RS7 Sportback, RS6 Avant and some special models of the A4 Avant. I have also been shooting at the “Woertherseetreffen 2014″ in Reifnitz for the car magazine “Wheels” from Dubai and for different car dealerships around my region. In fall 2014, I shot “Bobby”, the autonomously driving Audi RS7 Sportback in Ascari with Audi Deutschland, too.

APA: How did you get started in photography? When did you realize that photography would be your job?

Karl: As I mentioned before, I came into photography because of my father and because he gave me an old camera as a present. I can’t really figure out when I “realized” that this would be my job since I am about to start my studies of mechanical engineering – I would rather say, that photography is something that quite came along by accident and developed more and more as time passed.

APA: You are specialized in automotive photography, what is the knowledge that a photographer of this kind must possess?

Karl: I would say that – no matter in which aspect of photography – it is very important to have good knowledge about how to light objects (or persons) and, e.g. when shooting outdoor, to put them in the right place at the right time or to get the shot from the right angle. What comes next, especially in automotive photography I think, is the effort to tell a story with a photo or a whole set which attracts the viewer and allows him to immerse into the scene. This, I would say, is one of the hardest challenges an automotive photographer will face.

Another important point is advanced knowledge in postproduction/retouching, especially if one works as a freelancer with smaller customers who won’t afford a production with an even more professional agency and postproduction company. On the other hand, if one works for an agency, it is important to take care of the right light setting and perspective etc. in order not to make the retoucher’s job harder.

There is one last point concerning this I would like to mention, I think that it is very important to be able to associate with your shooting object. Someone who is specialized in shooting people should get along well with them and be an open, friendly minded person. Someone who shoots cars, products or generally objects, should have quite some passion for this.

APA: Tell us the importance of post-production in automotive photography. Please share your basic workflow with us.

Karl: I think that the postproduction is one of the most important parts of professional automotive photography. No matter if a picture is processed with a lot of effort and difficult tools/techniques or just a few simple steps, it’s the postproduction which gives a photo the final touch and – as mentioned before – makes the story told the artist wants to tell with his photo. May it be a complete composite picture or just cleaning of the car and its surroundings, this depends on what the photographer/retoucher wants to achieve. I personally prefer photos with kind of a “wow-effect” but also sometimes keep my retouching quite basic and “natural” – the ideal goal of course is, to achieve perfect, clean looks, with this wow-effect but still natural. The best example for this is Frederic Schlosser’s work, I would say.

My postproduction workflow basically looks like this:

I import the photos in Lightroom and pre-select those I want to use for the respective picture. Mostly, I have the finished photo in my head already during the shoot, but sometimes, I just need to try things out, or combine both – my idea and some testing. Then I open the RAW files in Photoshop and first do the “content” part – I mean things like a new background, layers where I lighted the cars on different spots with a flash, retouching of dirt, etc.. Then I do the “look”-work, this includes colorgrading, curves, contrast, saturation and also some smaller adjustments like flares, fog and other kinds of artificial light. After this comes another round of retouching to make everything more homogeneous and natural. Working like this on a photo can take up to a few hours.

APA: Who inspires you in automotive photography, and why?

Karl: There are some photographers which I especially admire for their natural, but just flashing photos. This includes:

  • Daniel Böswald (Snabshod Photography) – who has really tought me a lot concerning automotive photography
  • Frederic Schlosser
  • Marcus Philipp Sauer
  • Markus Wendler
  • Webb Bland
  • Michael Lee (MIGS Photo + CGI)

APA: What equipment do you use now? How much does equipment matter in automotive photography?

Karl: Currently, I use the Canon EOS 5D Mark III and Mark II along with different lenses of which I prefer the Canon EF 24-70 f/2.8 L II. Good equipment especially affects the quality of ones productions and the possibilities one has during a shoot. The most important part although, happens in the brain of the photographer, and there’s no “must-be-perfect-law” whereas for example passport photos do not need any creativity but just technically perfect work.

APA: Could you please share some important automotive photography tips that a beginner should try?

Karl: It’s not wrong to break rules. Try shooting from a completely unusual perspective (without distorting the car if possible…) or to light just parts of a car, to make a photo look completely different and thus attracting attention.

APA: How do you decide on the final image? Does it depend on the client you are working with or is it entirely upto you?

Karl: Both is possible. There are clients who have special requirements, for example to showcase particular features or parts of a car, in a special environment or with a special look to integrate it in a flyer, website etc. – and there are the clients who entirely leave it up to the photographer / producer to make the shooting object look gorgeous.

APA: Apart from the car photography what genre attracts you the most?

Karl: I also really like conceptual photography, which is a genre which I worked with a lot before I came into automotive photography – it basically deals with surreal images.

APA: Thank you for giving us this interview. What is your best advice to any aspiring automotive photographer?

Karl: I also thank you for interviewing me.

My advice is to try and keep trying. Almost my entire knowledge is self-tought and I acquired it via producing a lot of experimental and not so good looking stuff.

Links:


Interview with Dejan Sokolovski

APA: Hello, Dejan! Can you tell us a little about yourself and your history?

Dejan: Hi! My name is Dejan Sokolovski, I live in Sweden but originally from the small country of Macedonia in south Europe hence my not-so-Swedish name..

I’m a proper car maniac since probably forever, and photography actually out of nowhere came along once I had bought my first dSLR back in 2006. Time really flies now that I think about it… I’ve had photography as a hobby for a long time but in the past 3-4 years I’ve been lucky to have made it to a professional work with nothing else on the side, and I’m very glad for that. Being able to work with something you love, cars and photography is almost unreal..

APA: How did you start with photography? How old were you when you started, and what were you doing before that?

Dejan: I started photography after my gymnasial school education, when I was 19 years. I had worked during a summer-job to buy my first dSLR which was a Nikon D50 with the kit-lens. For many years it was just a hobby, obviously.. I had never thought It’d be a full-time job in the future, hoping maybe but never expecting… I was shooting friends cars, practising, reading, posting on the internet on various forums and there it started…

I’ve never had a real full-time job before photography, and now that I think about it I’m not even sure what I could have been working with if it wasn’t for photography & retouching. Maybe computers of some sort? Web design? Also a interest of mine…

APA: What kind of gear do you use?

Dejan: Today I use the Nikon D800E since it first came out in 2012 I think. It’s a great camera, amazing resolution and it handles really well in any kind of situation I’ve been in. This winter I was shooting in -20 celsius with it and Nikon lenses without any problems, other than the batteries draining faster than usual and breathing on the LCD-screen was a mess since it immediately froze to ice.

Now I have equipped myself with the Nikon 16-35mm lens, Nikon 24-70mm, Nikon 50mm 1.8, Nikon 85mm 1.8, and the Nikon 70-200 2.8 lens. I probably use my 24-70 the most, but I do love the 85 and 70-200 a lot as well when situation arises…

As for lighting I use only ProFoto lighting equipment, because they’re the best!

APA: What comes first? Your passions for automobiles, or photography?

Dejan: I would say 50/50 here… For as long as I can remember I’ve always been in to cars, and photography not as long. But I love creating something nice to look at. I am loving design, shapes and all that of automobiles. And maybe that’s why I always struggle to get the best possible angles for the cars I shoot.

I like when cars look mean, angry and cool for the viewer. Some car’s aren’t cool but trying to make them look better than they are is a challenge and something to strive for!

APA: How would you describe your photographic style and how it has developed over the years?

Dejan: I would describe it as natural with a twist of darkness, colourful and sometimes moody… Depending on the mood and scenery I try to make the best out of it. I love shooting in both daylight and nighttime, and especially sunset.

I think when I first started I really loved going wide-angle on everything, today I am less for that and more natural and have less distortion in the car’s shape. Maybe that’s developed since I lately work with car manufacturers that don’t want their cars to look like bananas…

APA: Can you share a memorable story from one of your photographic experiences?

Dejan: All of the times when shooting a great looking car in a fantastic scenery is a blessing and something that you remember for a long time.. Even if it’s as cold as -20 celsius or +40 celsius I try to not care, I ignore that and enjoy!

APA: The first photographer that comes to your mind and why?

Dejan: Webb Bland @ notbland.com, my great friend and colleague!

He as well as me is a real car-enthusiast, posting on same forums and websites and works real hard to reach his goals like me. With passion and love for the job…

I remember my first time I had the opportunity to fly all the way to USA for my very first time to help him out on his first big international job for Dodge, that was in 2010 I think. Assistant coming all the way from Sweden to help out with lighting, I must have been a great assistant!  Ever since we’ve been helping each other out on different projects all across the globe. He’s been reaching goals of doing work for big clients as well as myself, but we both still have a long journey to continue on.

APA: What type of post processing do you do?

Dejan: All kinds of post-processing according to myself, natural, moody et.c… but if you ask anyone familiar with my work and kind of post-processing I guess I have a specific style of my own that can be recognised by people liking my work. I can’t see that myself though…

APA: Favorite shoot you’ve ever been on and why?

Dejan: So many favourite shoots… none mentioned and none forgotten, but all big client shoots are and have been fun and extra planned, detail-perfectionist on, bigger challenges but more fun in a way to push your limits!

APA: Thank you for giving us this interview. What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?

Dejan: My pleasure!!

Don’t know? There’s not a shortcut to anything in life, just practice and learn how to color your photos and achieve your vision you’ve had in mind later in post-production!

Links:


Interview with Tim Wallace

APA: Hello, Tim! Tell us a little bit about yourself?

Tim: I work as a professional commercial photographer and I’m based in the UK. I guess most people slap the title of ‘car photographer’ on me and I guess they are right but in my industry the two things I am most well known for is my style and my photography shooting the details of cars.

“I plan to live forever, so far so good…” I’m 40-something but apparently 40 is the new 30 so things are always good and I have never felt better!

I don’t sleep much because I’m always thinking about what I can do to create something new, on a morning I often wake up excited for the day like a kid at Christmas just wanting to get out on the road and get on with it.

People say I have a wicked sense of humour, wicked, twisted, something like that! I would say that you’d probably remember me if we met and thats good in my book.

I have the most amazing lady in my life, Angela, who has always been there for me no matter what, she is my rock when I need the World to stop the spinning for a little while and in our house we use the term ‘Team Wallace’ a lot which always makes me laugh especially when our five year old reminds us at the most unexpected times that “Team work makes the dream work…!”

We look out for each other and we pull together through the laughs as well as the not so funny stuff. Our two amazing boys are Ben And Charlie, the latter being the youngest but he’s most definitely not a push over even if he is the ‘little legs’ of the family. Lastly there is ‘Eddie’ our faithful if not slightly eccentric dog, and that makes up the gang and all that is important in my World. We work hard and we know that life is for living, I enjoy living mine and do everything I possibly can so that they can do the same “I love the whole creative visual voodoo, the journey from A to B and the chance of arriving at C…” My work is often regarded as dramatic and to me photography is a process, you’ll never hear me mutter ‘it’ll be fine’ as that’s simply not enough for me. Life is short and I aim to make mine worth while and interesting with work that I hope reflects this.

My goal in life is to be myself always, be creative, be true and most of all improve just a little part of peoples lives with images that both entertain and sometimes invoke the feelings that I had when I shot them. I’ve won awards and I’m always of the thought that maybe they got the wrong Tim Wallace, hey I’m grateful always but never take myself or any achievements too seriously, life’s too short and people will forget you quickly. I jumped off a cliff in Norway a few years ago in a BASE jump, why?, well because it felt right for me to do that for myself at that time, I truly believe that anything in life is possible, work hard, be an honest person, tell the people that you love just what they mean to you as often as you can, and most of all be out there shooting because sometimes that’s where amazing things can happen.

APA: How did you get started in automobile photography?

Tim: I’ve always had a love for cars, as a 6 yr old I used to collect the ‘matchbox’ model cars, I had around 300 I think, never used to play with them much but I used to line them all up onto of their boxes and put my beside light on them so they looked cool!

I guess my destiny was set at that point, I just never realised it back them lol.

 

APA: What camera did you first begin photographing with? What type of camera, lens, and equipment do you use now?

Tim: My first camera was a Nikon FM with a 50mm lens, most under rated lens in history, everybody should own a 50mm!

These days I shoot Nikon with D4s and a vast collection of lenses through from my favourite 24mm-70mm to the big 300mm. I prefer fix focal length and whilst thats not always practical with the Nikon system it is pretty much where I am with the medium format gear I use. I recently swapped out my H4 for a H5D CMOS and pretty happy with that. Lenses again are a array really from 28mm my widest that is not used that often in truth through to the monster heavy 50mm-110mm that will break your toes if you drop it

Which system I choose to shoot a gig with really depends on what I’m shooting, and what the final output is for.

 

APA: Among the gadgets that you own, is there something that you wish you hadn’t bought? Why?

Tim: Years ago I bought a ring flash, Geeeez what the hell did I bother with that for, I had the thought that it could be good for car interiors if used right, never did work that one out…

My lighting style is self taught as I didn’t want to just copy somebody else’s style, to me its crucial that your style is your own and that it evolves as your work does. Clients choose a photographer a little like doing a risk assessment, its all about firstly ‘are you able to shoot the job’, ‘are you motivated and creative enough for them’ and finally ‘does your ‘style’ fit in with their brand or vision’

 

APA: What do you feel is the most challenging thing about photographing what you do?

Tim: Hmmmm my top five would have to be:

  1. Weather, as I mostly work on location
  2. Planning, some shoots take a lot more organising than most people i think realise
  3. Clients, lol – some clients are great and a pleasure to work with, some are hard work and flit and change last minute which can seriously impact No2 but that’s life and you just have to be professional and get on with it whilst maintaining a decent level of control.

 

APA: Can you name some photographers that inspires you with their works and why?

Tim: In truth I don’t much look at other photographers work too much, i feel that its easy to be influenced by people without realising it sometimes. From a wider point of view I love the attitude and work of Don McCullen, he’s a big hero or mine. In my own industry there are many who I think are really exceptional in what they do and have a clear passion for their work, that is a huge point in my book.

Frederic Schlosser is a photographer that I respect and I love his view of the world and his attention to detail, its clear to see his skill but also his passion in what he does.

 

APA: How has the automotive photography industry changed since you started?

Tim: I only started out from scratch 8 years ago after being made redundant for the 3rd time… In that period though I think things have moved and there are a lot of people out there who mail me who are looking to get into car photography, most perhaps don’t always have a clear grasp of the realisation of just how much commitment is required to succeed. I

don’t class myself as a great photographer by any means, I’m ‘ok’ in my view but I do class myself as a very hardworking businessman and photographer. These days its sometimes all about the quick fix and that’s not what people will find as a long term path to success, you need to build and build solid.

 

APA: Are you an in-the-camera shooter or do you use post production a lot?

Tim: I try to shoot in camera as much as possible, with the detail work thats pretty easy as its just good lighting really and so any post work is more likely to be paint correction and dust on the body that was missed.

 

APA: How would you describe your photographic style and how it has developed over the years?

Tim: My style is described by others as dramatic, I’m not sure on that one really, I don’t ever feel that comfortable taking about my own work as often I’m never quite 100% happy with it but then as a ‘creative’ thats pretty common probably.

I’m not afraid to use a wide open DOF and place the car or detail where it does not always dominate the frame, less is often more in my eyes. Over the last 8 years I have gained confidence in what I do and I push things more and more, lighting is and always will be my mistress and for me its the key. Photoshop is something I do badly in my view so lighting is where I put my efforts ! lol

 

APA: Thank you for giving us this interview. What are some tips you could give to people that really like your work?

Tim: If people want to watch me shoot then there are 8 online video classes, mostly about lighting, that are over an hour long each available through KelbyOne.

Top tips for success…

  • Believe in yourself 101% always no matter what
  • Don’t get critic from family and friends, they love everything you do!
  • Don’t wait for doors to open, kick them down always
  • Learn your craft, photography and lighting, not just PS
  • Be polite but not a walk over with clients, value what you do
  • Turn off your back screen for a week and shoot, think….

If you can understand and cope with the fact you are going to fail before you succeed then your halfway there already. The measure of somebody is not always ‘how much’ they have achieved but how strong they are to pick themselves up after a knock back and keep on pushing forward.

 

Links: