Copyright Scott Bourne 2011 – All Rights Reserved

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You know the problem. The backgrounds often suck. There are always people in the way. It’s tough to find a car in decent light. The angles are all wrong. There’s no room to work.

That sounds like a pretty average car show to me. I feel your pain. But I do have a suggestion. I consider my fisheye lens to be my secret weapon when it comes to photographing car shows.

Copyright Scott Bourne 2011 – All Rights Reserved

The fisheye allows you to work extremely close so this minimizes people getting in your way. It also allows you to work with unusual angles that help accentuate the positives of your backgrounds and to make mundane things look interesting.

You do need to worry about two things: one – make sure your own feet aren’t in the picture. It happens when you work with a fisheye – two – make sure to watch your shadow. You may think it’s out of the way but it often is not.

Working from low angles or right down on top of the subject are my two favorite tricks when using a fisheye lens at a car show.

Copyright Scott Bourne 2011 – All Rights Reserved

The other thing to know is that when you shoot with a fisheye lens at a car show, extreme cropping is your friend. Forget about congenital print sizes. Think outside the box and make compositions in post by cropping in ways that make the picture more desirable.

Another cool thing you can do with fisheye lenses is change angles so that perspective is unusual. This gives a new look to your car photos.

Copyright Scott Bourne 2011 – All Rights Reserved

Here are a couple of additional random tips:

1. Don’t be afraid to put the sun in your frame. It often looks cool in a fisheye shot
2. You can’t typically use polarizers with fisheye lenses which is a negative since they cut reflections on cars, but these lenses are so wide that you still get the blue sky effect
3. Don’t spend too much time worrying about focus. Get as close as your camera will focus and don’t even worry about looking through the viewfinder. The angle of view is so wide that just about everything will be in focus

Copyright Scott Bourne 2011 – All Rights Reserved

The next time you photograph a car show, don’t forget your fisheye.


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