Can you explain a little bit about who you are, where you’re based and what you currently do and/or shoot for?
My name is Armin and I’m born, raised, and still currently reside in Seattle, WA. I’ve been a professional photographer since 2004, getting my start as a freelance photographer for Subiesport Magazine. I was soon hired onto the Subiesport Magazine editorial staff, writing feature articles and corresponding photography. Along with Subiesport Magazine, I spent about four years selling mostly Subaru parts in the automotive aftermarket industry, until I switched over completely to a purely marketing role. I also started NWMotiv with Mackey in 2010 and have contributed to DailyDriven since its inception as well. Besides NWMotiv, I’ve shot corporate photography for Lexus and Toyota, as well as freelanced for other magazines such as Modified, Import Tuner, Performance Auto and Sound, and Land Rover International. I’ve also photographed cars for Barrett-Jackson, Mecum Auctions, and listings for Bring a Trailer and Turo.
When did you first pick up a camera?
I never really got into film photography when I was younger but caught the digital age in 2002. My first camera was a Nikon Coolpix 2500 point and shoot that I used to take my first automotive photos of my own 2002 Subaru WRX.
When did you realize that you wanted to pursue photography?
I used to take that Nikon Coolpix 2500 to car shows and all my friends kept asking me to take photos of their cars. I ended up doing it so much that I upgraded to a Nikon Coolpix 4500 and actively tried to get better at photography. This was when I ended up being recruited by Subiesport Magazine to do event coverage and things took off from there.
I’ve always loved the aesthetics of cars, even though I never really grew up wrenching on them. They were always just so cool to me and taking photos of them just seemed to make a lot of sense.
When did you first realize you have “made it” or a name for yourself?
I first felt like I “made it” when I had my first magazine cover for Subiesport Magazine, with a photo of Russell Rogers’ Subaru Legacy Outback. Actually seeing it on store shelves, in people’s hands, and eventually on a wall display really hit home.
Two-part question, what car do you want in your garage and what car do you want to shoot the most?
In my garage: An RE Amemiya Mazda RX-7 FD3S Shoot the most: McLaren Senna
If you could shoot anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Japan, they pretty much have every single possible epic location available
Who did you look up to when you first started out? Who do you look up to now?
It might sound cheesy, but Mackey was one of my role models and mentors when I first started out. I feel very fortunate to not only learn so much from him, but also to consider him one of my closest friends now. Steve Demmitt was also someone I looked up to when I first started out, and I also feel fortunate to be able to get to know him as I grew my career. May he rest in peace. I still very much look up to Alex Wong, probably my all-time favorite motorsports photographer. Not only is his work truly exceptional and artistic, but he’s also just a really cool and nice dude. Same goes for William Stern, Jeremy Cliff, Andrew Link, and many many more.
Are there any gadgets in your equipment outside the standard that you can’t live without?
I’m not sure I’d say that I couldn’t live without it, but I recently picked up a Liteband LED Headlamp and while you look like a complete and total dork while wearing it, it’s made shooting at night or in other low-light conditions much easier, especially with the red-light mode. No more breaking out my phone’s flashlight to see what I’m doing.
It’s also not a gadget, but I’ve become a firm believer in an Arca Swiss compatible L-bracket for my camera body. It makes life much easier when using a tripod.
Do you have any resources that you use to make your job easier? In either pre, during or post production?
PhotoPills is a great app to use for planning purposes. It has a lot of useful tools, especially when you need to know where and when you have available sunlight. I also use LuminarAI for some of my post-processing, depending on what’s needed. While I do the vast majority of my post-processing in Adobe Lightroom, LuminarAI does offer some interesting AI-powered tools to help speed things up.
Where do you want to be 5 years from now?
I don’t even really know where I want to be a few hours from now, but five years from now I’d at least love to see a lot of growth on my photography-themed YouTube channel. I’d be happy to hit 250,000 subscribers, but I only have just over 100 right now, so I have a long way to go.
Lastly, what advice do you have for all the aspiring photographers out there following in your footsteps?
My first piece of advice is to keep an open mind and learn how to take constructive criticism. No one is god’s gift to photography, and even those of us who’ve been doing this for years and years still have new things to learn.
The next advice is to not sell yourself short. I totally understand that if you’re new, you may not feel confident enough to charge a lot of money or you might feel that you have to give someone a discount due to your lack of experience, but I firmly disagree with that. You spent money on your gear, you spend money to get on location, you spend money to make sure you’ve eaten/stay hydrated for the photoshoot, and you might’ve also spent money on your education or just to get you to where you are now. Taking 50 photos of someone’s car for $25 isn’t worth your time, let alone all the money I just mentioned above.
Finally, be humble and don’t be a snob about the artform, the gear you use, or anything else really. You’re going to network better and make strong connections if you treat other photographers with respect and courtesy. Just because you’ve landed a good gig or end up shooting for a well-known website or publication doesn’t give you the right to be a dick to people. From my own experience, I remember shooting on track at Formula DRIFT years ago and another photographer from a well-known publication literally put themselves in front of where I was shooting and acted as if I was the one that should move from that spot, even though I’d been there for well over an hour. Don’t be that guy.
Any shoutouts and/or contact info?
Shout-out to Mackey and Ryan Douthit for helping me kickstart my photography career, and Wence Estrada for being the best photo assistant ever! Since I’m trying to grow my YouTube channel, please visit and subscribe: https://www.youtube.com/c/arrrmin
In our second episode of the Daily Driven Automotive Photography Education Series, we learn some camera basics on the Exposure Triangle, which is made up of Shutter Speed, Aperture, and ISO. Armin gives a brief overview of each of these settings on your camera, and shows you how they affect your photos. Master the Exposure Triangle and you'll be off to a great start with your automotive photography!
In our first Episode of the Daily Driven Photography Education Series, we're introduced to staff photographer Armin Ausejo and he gives us an introduction to automotive photography, as well as how to get started.