by Armin Ausejo January 30, 2022 3 min read
Hi, I’m Armin Ausejo and welcome to Episode 1 of the Daily Driven Photography Education Series. I’ve been a professional automotive photographer for about 18 years, getting my start by taking event photography at car shows. My first professional shoot was at Battle of the Imports Seattle in 2004 for Subiesport Magazine. I was eventually brought onto the editorial staff of Subiesport Magazine and took photos as well as wrote feature articles for them for a number of years. I’ve also done some freelance photography for other magazines, such as Modified, Import Tuner, PasMag, and some international magazines. Finally, I’ve also shot commercial photography for Lexus, Toyota, Mecum Auctions, and Barrett-Jackson, as well as a bunch of private shoots for listings on Bring a Trailer and Turo.
Automotive photography ranges from event photography like where I got started, to motorsports, to taking photos for ads and selling products, such as wheels or the car itself. In many ways, automotive photography is a mixture of portrait and landscape photography. The car is the subject and the background or foreground is used to compliment it. It all seems very obvious, but automotive photography takes a specific art and style to really make it stand out.
Unlike other types of photography, automotive photography has subtypes that you can really specialize in, or you can try to be good at multiple subtypes. For example, I specialize in natural light editorial style and motorsports, but other people can specialize in commercial, controlled lighting such as strobes or light painting, composites that can take a car from one location and merge it onto a different background, or even rendering prototypes with new body panels, wheels, or other aesthetics.
With automotive photography, you can also use a wide variety of gear and lenses, whereas other types of photography can tend to lean toward only specific gear and lenses. You can use the entire range from ultra-wide angle lenses to super telephotos with automotive photography, but in other types, only certain lenses make the most sense. For example, you may not want to use an ultra-wide angle lens for portraits since it can elongate or stretch out a person’s features, but this can still be useful for automotive photography if used correctly.
Getting started is easy! Of course, you need a camera of some sort. Your phone is a good way to start and with all the new settings and camera apps available, it’s very easy to start taking some great automotive photos. You can also use a compact digital camera with a fixed lens such as my Fujifilm X100F, which I use as my everyday, casual camera. You’ll have all different settings available to you, but you might be a bit limited by only having one type of lens at your disposal. Stepping things up to what most automotive photographers use, you can also use a camera with interchangeable lenses, like a DSLR or mirrorless. My current go-to is my Nikon Z7, which is a mirrorless camera that I use for just about everything. Finally, you can always go old-school and use a film camera, but of course they can be a bit harder to use and you’ll have to get the film developed or develop it yourself.
That wraps it up for Episode 1. In our next episode, we’ll start to go over some camera basics, to get you away from just “point-and-shoot” and actually adjusting your camera settings. Hope to see you in the next one! - Armin
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