One of the most common questions we get asked is, "how do I get my car in a magazine?" The short and easy answer is, it helps if you're somebody rich and famous, like a comedian, movie actor, ball player, or rap star. If you can be that guy, shops will trip over themselves to build you a car for nothing with parts you get for free, then they'll haul it across the country to shows for you. Your "people" will even do the dirty work of making contact with the magazine editor of your choice. … OK, so plan A isn't working out for you so well.
What you need is someone who understands your inner automotive psyche—a magazine that really gets what you're trying to say with your car. If only you could talk to the right guy, you'd make a convincing connection that would cajole the head honcho into dispatching his best photographer right to your hometown on the next plane. The only problem with plan B? If it was that easy to talk to an editor, magazines would never get done. Trying to reach the editor of a car magazine on the phone or get a thoughtful email response ranks right up with winning the Mega Millions lotto.
So that brings you to plan C, and we're here to provide it for you—like right now. We're offering to slide your machinery into the January 2015 issue of Popular Hot Rodding just for going through the trouble of sending it to us. No gimmicks, no mailing list, no subscription offer, no charge. Every single car that is sent to us will make it in without begging or bribery. All you gotta do is follow the instructions contained herein. It's just simple stuff, like taking a picture in focus with the whole car in the frame.
Look folks, we're setting the bar really low here, like when you used to get points on the test just for writing your name. In all seriousness, we want to see your car, and we want to show it to everybody. What we discovered a long time ago is that most guys want to know what's in the other guy's garage, whether it's a high-end show car, or a weekend cruiser. The yearly Readers' Rides issue is one of our biggest sellers, and there's hardly a show car in sight—it's like regular guys taking over the world!
Listen up: If you want to get in on this action, you'll need to use the real mail. We need you to send us a few good photos of your car (5 to 10 is a good number). Print the photos out and mail them with the digital files on a CD. Write a one-page story about your car, and complete the entry form in this magazine. Stuff it all in an envelope, lick a stamp, and walk it the 10 feet to your mailbox. Just get it to PHR central by August 1, 2014. Here it is again, but simpler: photos, photo CD, one-page story, entry form, and get it here on time.
We need good photos from you, because we can't print bad photos. The things that will get you kicked out include chopped-off cars, blurry cars, too dark photos, too bright photos, out-of-focus cars, photos with time/date stamps, photos that are too small (less than 3,000 x 2,000 pixels), photos that only show the back or rear of the car, and photos with no companion CD. If we get the photos but you didn't send a one-page story, or your entry form isn't completely filled out, that gets you tossed too. If photography is your weak point, don't worry. We've got a list of idiot-proof tips in this story; follow these and you are guaranteed to get in.
We saved the best for last: This is a photo contest that awards the photographer/car owner having the best photos (not necessarily the best car) a free set of Auto Meter Custom Shop gauges valued at $800. The winner will get to design his set of dream gauges on Auto Meter Custom Shop's website configurator (visit www.AMPCustomShop.com to check it out!), and the Custom Shop crew will craft the winner's one-of-a-kind gauges, then ship 'em straight to his door in a beautiful custom box.
Last year, Wilber Laboy of Las Vegas won a set of Custom Shop gauges by submitting some sweet pix of his Pro Street '74 Maverick. He figured he had the Auto Meter Custom Shop boys stumped with his car's silver and purple color scheme, but the Custom Shop had him covered in spades. Can you stump the Custom Shop? Got an Edsel with a chartreuse and taupe interior with neon green accent lighting and you require a perfectly matching set of gauges? We wouldn't bet against them! If you can hold your lunch down, they can build it. Now get those cameras going!
We plan on printing every entry that we get for the Popular Hot Rodding Photo Contest Sponsored By Auto Meter, but for that to happen, entrants need to follow all of these rules:
• You must provide digital photos on a CD. They must be in JPEG format and at least 3,000x2,000 pixels. You must provide color prints for all the photos you burn on your CD.
• All photos must be in focus, well-lit, and the car must not be chopped off or blocked by obstacles. No time/date stamps.
• Write a one-page story about your car and include it in your entry package. The more interesting, the better—we may quote from it.
• Completely and legibly fill out all the information and specs in the accompanying entry form, and send it in with your entry.
• The owner of the car must be the photographer. You give Source Interlink Media (parent company of PHR) and Auto Meter permission to publish your photos in print and electronically over the interwebs and such.
• Please observe the entry submission deadline for the contest, which is August 1, 2014. Late entries may be omitted from publication.
• The PHR Photo Contest Sponsored By Auto Meter is open to all domestic, rear-wheel drive passenger cars built between 1955 and 1980. No trucks, imports, front-drivers, or late-models.
• Your entry package must be sent physically to our editorial office, and include a photo CD, prints, a one-page cover story, and the completed entry form/tech sheet (a copy is OK).
• We will notify the winner no later than September 22, 2014.
Tips For Better Photos
• At the bare minimum, your photos should be well composed, in focus, sharp, and well lit.
• The entire car should be in the photo, other cars should not be in the shot, and you should not be shooting the rear of the car.
• Try shooting from different vantage points in addition to eye level. Try shooting at twilight or sunrise for a more dramatic effect.
• If you turn the front tires, don't aim the tread at the camera—show the face of the wheel.
• Try using a reflector to bounce sunlight into the grille. Reflectors can be bought, or made out of aluminum foil and cardboard. A large white board or an off-camera flash can do the same job.
• Use a tripod to steady your camera. You can also use the hood of another car, the ground, or a railing if you don't have a tripod.
• Don't adjust the color, contrast, or brightness of your images with your computer—this will just remove important detail and make it difficult to print.
• Find a unique or beautiful background. A park, beach, historical area, fairgrounds, run-down industrial area, empty country road, or airfield tarmac can be a great spot. Keep off the grass, dirt, mud, and gravel. Stay away from painted parking lot lines.
• Experiment with different exposures. Use the exposure compensation feature (look for something labeled "EV" on your camera menu) to increase the exposure if your images are too dark.
• Bring friends to help with reflectors, flashes, to direct traffic, to move extraneous debris, to read the camera owner's manual, and to help you move the car.
Auto Meter Custom Shop Gauges
Until recently, only the most lavishly equipped machines on the show car circuit had one-off instrumentation. Then Auto Meter came up with a great idea: set up a custom shop for gauges so that anybody could get exactly what they want. The Auto Meter Custom Shop lets customers design their own gauges with unique color faces, ticking, pointers, cover glass, fonts, bezels, and lighting. If it's part of a gauge, the Auto Meter Custom Shop can do it for you. After logging on to the Auto Meter Custom Shop website, download the Custom Shop configurator, and start picking out your gauges with all their features. As you build your dream gauge package, the gauges take shape right on the screen. You can try out several different designs, save them for future reference, or compare them. You can even print them out and try them in your car before ordering. And all while you're building your virtual gauges, the cost is updated and displayed with every revision! You'll also be quite surprised how affordable it is; when compared to a standard set of catalog gauges, it's only a few extra bucks. Once you order them, they'll show up at your door in a beautiful handcrafted wood box. They'll look so nice, you won't even want to put them in your car!
Auto Meter Custom Shop
Please fill out and send in this entry form
To Enter Photo Contest Mail To:
Source Interlink Media
Attn: PHR Photo Contest
1733 Alton Pkwy., Ste. 100
Irvine, CA 92606-4901
Must be postmarked on or before August 1, 2014