You can buy pro-quality reflectors for around $70 each. These feature a reflective silver or gold surface printed on fabric. The fabric is sewn over a flexible steel frame which collapses into a small circle about one third its original size. They're sturdy and last a long time, but if you're only doing this just once, you can make your own reflectors at home with easy-to-find household items.

Gather up a roll of aluminum foil, some clear cellophane tape, a large piece of cardboard (the larger, the better) and a box cutter. Cut a large piece of cardboard the size you want, and then cover one side of it with aluminum foil using the cellophane tape. I've made these many times on location and I know they work firsthand.

You can use one or more reflectors to bounce light into dark areas of the car such as a grill, rear valence panel, interior or engine compartment. If there's only one thing you learn from this entire article, this is it: make or buy a reflector to fill the light into dark areas. Watch out for the dreaded reflector reflection in the side of a car. If you use a reflector to light one or more wheels, position the reflector so it doesn't get reflected in the paint.


We Want Your Photos!

Now that you've learned all the pro tricks, it's time to put them out of business. Think we're kidding? We ain't laughin' on this one. We want to see your chops, so send in your best pictures and we'll print the top 20 shutterbugs' work. You can send print photos made from 35mm film cameras or digital images. We don't care, as long as you follow these rules.

The Rules:
* We need all submissions by June 30. You can send them by ground to: Primedia, attn: Popular Hot Rodding Photo Contest, 774 S. Placentia Ave., Placentia, CA 92870. If you shoot digital, send in color prints, but enclose a CD with high-resolution jpegs. Each entry is limited to your five best images. Don't send us 6, 10, or 50 or 300 images--those entries will be going directly in the circular file.

* All pictures must have a car in them, preferably yours (but your buddy's machine is acceptable). If you've got a hot girlfriend, she can be in the picture, but only if she's really hot. Make sure you include your name, contact information, mailing address and car info. Your girlfriend's phone number would be cool too.

* Give us the information on your camera, what settings you used (if you remember them), how you shot your photos and where you shot them. List any extra equipment you used such as filters, tripods or reflectors. If you have a funny story to go with it ("everything was going fine, until that hail storm hit...") tell us that too.

* All entries will be judged by how well they adhere to the tips and suggestions laid out in this story. If you already are a pro shooter or want to be one, tell us. We won't hold it against you.

Be Famous!
The 20 finalists will have their work featured in the Nov. '05 issue of PHR. All who have their work published in our contest story will receive a commemorative PHR Hometown Hot Rodding Shutterbug t-shirt. The winner will also get a box full of assorted cool swag from PHR central. Who knows, you may even have to quit your boring day job to shoot for us!