Saturday, November 19, 2011

Light Painting for Cars

I did a light painting with a few cars last week and I want to share the technique I used.  Things you will need are a tripod, remote shutter release, a flash gun and gels.  You may ask why you need gels?  This comes from experience.  The first time I did light painting with car was my Ford Puma.  The photos came out great, but there was a strong orange colour cast on the image.  Here is what I mean.  The white balance was set to flash, but the background was lit by street light casing colour cast.

Strong orange colour cast around the car.
This time round, I was prepared and took CTO (colour temperature orange) gel with me.  I set the white balance to tungsten and then fitted a CTO gel to my flash gun.  This way the white balance between the flash gun and street light should be a similar.

The technique I used was to focus on the car with camera on tripod.  I was using F8 and exposure was around 2 minutes on bulb mode.  I opened the shutter, ran behind the car with LED light or sparkler, waving them around to create a pattern.  Then I used my flash gun and fire it at the car from various places.  A tip is not to point the flash towards the camera and don't stand between the camera and the car.  There will be an element of trial and error, but you will get there in the end.  Here are the best images I got from this shoot.
TVR Tamora
Honda S2000
Mini Clubman Cooper D
I did have to use my RAW processor to fine tune the exposure, highlight and shadow.  Then in Photoshop, I did a bit of healing to rid any hot spots.  That was about it.

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