Cars today are an important and almost indispensable part of people’s daily lives. Only for 2020 . worldwide sold 63.8 million units.
The main segments in the automotive industry include commercial vehicles and cars. As the niche is located in a wide range – from medium and large sedans to compact and subcompact cars. From everyday cars to luxury cars and those with collector’s value.
As in any industry, so in the automotive industry, the end product is intended to sell And the easiest way for a product to reach consumers is by showing it.
Whether through online or offline advertising, a company or commercial catalog, in a showroom or at an exhibition, companies need experienced car photographers to “polish” their babies to perfection. Especially now that an online presence is a must for any business.
The power of product photography to sell cars in the digital age
The main goal of product photography in the automotive industry is not just to show what a car looks like, but to inspire the viewer to see beyond. To make him get a real sense of how he will feel if he owns a certain car.
“I shoot first-class cars – yes, it’s nice.” “I usually shoot cars you don’t need and probably can’t afford, but you really want them.
My job is to create an image that gives you the strong feeling that you want to be a part of this life. ” – says Tim Wallace, a prominent British commercial advertising photographer who works with many high-end clients.
Such as :
- Land Rover
- Aston Martin
- Chevrolet and Mustang
Tim Wallace has won several significant awards over time – Professional and Commercial Photographer of the Year, Automotive Photographer of the Year in the UK. And one of his last prestigious awards is Photographer of the Year 2021 at the British Photography Awards in London, for his work with McLaren.
The automotive industry is a significant consumer of digital advertising. And this is quite understandable, given the need for a presentation to attract new potential customers and dealers. Advertising is required every time a manufacturer releases a new model.
We live in a visually oriented world, where it often happens that the website replaces the noise. Before making a purchase, car buyers expect to receive a comprehensive overview of the features they are interested in online.
For this to happen, car manufacturers and dealers need high-quality, diverse product images, including captivating exterior photos from different angles, detailed interior views, and a creative approach to the right shots that will highlight what each individual audience looking.
What are the important moments in the realization of product photography in the automotive industry?
In profitable practices, when car companies hire a professional product photographer, they already have a marketing strategy in place, which indicates to whom and where the specific model will be oriented. For example, for some states in the USA extravagant and somehow bright super cars are popular.
In England the predominance is felt in the classics. While in Germany people would choose cooler colors and practical vehicles. In the Emirates they rely on eccentric, luxury and expensive cars, while in crowded areas and towns with narrow streets will look for smaller and cheaper vehicles.
All this is important for the way of presenting the specific cars. In many cases, manufacturers have a solution and ready-made ideas about the number and type of staff they need. Of course, the opinion of a professional car photographer is always important .
What makes a perfect car picture?
For a strong and exciting car image, the key factors are:
- the location
- the right light
- the right concept
- what and who the audience is
- where and when the car will be presented
For the choice of the type of frames is a suitable combination of static and dynamic images.
Successful car shots are the result of the perfect balance between aesthetic light, interesting location, captivating contrast and the more unusual avant-garde vision of the photographer, with which he conveys to the viewer a certain feeling or emotion.
Location presents the car in its more natural environment and has the ability to distinguish it. Different perspectives and angles enhance the image. The trick is the environment to interact with the car, the target audience and the main topic.
Light can perfectly Emphasize the splendor of a car.
With shots in motion the character of the vehicle stands out.
While detailed shots can create an additional feeling and emphasize some particularly distinctive advantages. They will give individuality to the car.
The inclusion of someone who is driving, opening the door or is in a certain situation with the car already inspires emotions and excitement. The connection object – subject needs to be visible and alive. The image must correspond to the personality of the car.
Before proceeding to a photo session with a car , it is extremely important to specify the goal. What is the one that should be emphasized the most? The speed? Economy? Luxury? Safety?
However, there must be a difference in the way visual information is presented to different users , because while a Mercedes customer may be more concerned about their heated seats and leather interior, someone looking for a family car will be interested in space, safety and economy, for example.
Here comes the moment to distinguish who and what is the audience whose attention we are looking for.
Luxury cars, as well as watches, golf clubs, etc. in most cases are a symbol of social status and material wealth. The images that represent them are appropriate to correspond to a similar way of life and to reflect a similar environment.
Suitable are lifestyle shots and detailed photos that identify the brand, focus on the merits of the car and its unique functionalities.
Presenting the car in a different environment – urban, extra-urban or lifestyle moments can completely complement the viewer’s imagination and unlock his imagination.
For a large family and especially a growing one choosing a car will be an extremely important decision. Therefore, features such as spacious rear seats, a large boot, safety and the practical advantages of a vehicle are key to the performance of a family car.
Of course, when it comes to supercar performance (the world’s largest, medium-sized engines, high-performance machines) every frame needs dynamics. In addition to admiring the appearance, viewers will long to feel what is hidden under the hood . They will expect speed, movement and spectacle.
For those looking for a vehicle that is easy to drive – especially in tight urban conditions or on winding country roads – you will need product images focusing on the main things that this type of audience is interested in – size, practicality, economy and of course agility when maneuvering.
All well-known brands in the automotive industry invest in high quality product images
For one of the biggest marketing events – Geneva Motor Show, which is especially important for the Swedish luxury car brand Koenigsegg , the manufacturer hires the photographer Oscar Bake, assigning him the task of taking a few photos to focus on cars without emphasizing a specific environment . For this purpose, the company selects an empty aircraft hangar.
“I had two big challenges that I had to overcome. My client wanted bright, shiny images, and we were standing in a dark hangar. It was too unfriendly and inappropriate background.”
“The second challenge was time. I had no control over how long we could keep each car and I had to make the most of it.”
Unable to work in a studio to overcome one of the great challenges in car product photography, the reflections of shiny car bodies, Oscar stretched a white canvas to repel the light of two flashes outside the camera.
If you happen to be wondering what a suitable professional studio would look like, which is big enough and where a car photo session can be realized, take a look at the following frame.
But let’s go back to Oscar’s work and the idea of the white canvas. He shares: “This helped me generate delicate reflections and gradients in the paint and carbon fiber.” Here are the results he achieved with Sony α7R II, Profoto B1 and his idea.
Source for Koenigsegg / Oskar Bakke: profoto.com