Classic Cars

Photographing A Classic

Stan & Bonnie Walker's 1954 Ford F100 Pickup Truck

Pride of Ownership

Sometimes I'm asked to do a portrait, not of a person or a pet, but of someone's "other true love", their car, or in this case, their truck, a 1954 Ford F100 Pickup. The truck belongs to Stan and Bonnie Walker and although I'm sure there's a great story to be told about it's restoration, I wanted to comment on what it's like to photograph a Classic.

I'm not necessarily an automobile enthusiast like some people, but I do appreciate fine craftsmanship, attention to details and a beautiful finish. Something like a fine portrait! None-the-less, when presented with a fine Classic Car like this, you want to create something special. You want to not only capture the beauty of the car, but reveal a little bit of it's 'soul', just like a person.

Detail of hood and fender showing not only the beautiful lines of this Classic, but the incredible finish as well.

Approaching the Subject

I approach this subject very much like I approach photographing a person. We've decided on a location and the best time of day for the portrait session. Through the consultation, I've determined what the client is looking for, what the portrait means to them and have an idea of how they want to display the finished print.  

I look at the subject's features to determine which angles will be most flattering, which angles will highlight the strengths and soften areas not as appealing. Before starting the shoot, we collaborate on the details that are important to the client and I learn a little history at the same time. 

Only after a close inspection do I then choose an appropriate background and position the subject in the best possible light.  I wanted to highlight the incredible depth of colour in this truck so positioned it for a wide range of luminosity from deep blacks to specular highlights. 

Then the work really begins. I start from further away to show the vehicle within the environment, which is why choosing the best background is so important. I circle the subject photographing from different angles to show not only the face, but the beautiful lines of the truck from the every angle. I slowly move closer, picking features that interest me and closer again to highlight details that may not be noticeable from further away. Following the light is imperative and we move the truck whenever the light changes to make sure I'm always taking advantage of the best possible illumination.

After the photographs were shown to our couple, they couldn't decide on just one image, so we created a collage, using the main image of the truck as the centre piece with some details surrounding it, and a caption. The 30" print is now proudly displayed in their home.

The finished print.