The Prizes
This year, Nitto Tires has stepped up big time to sponsor the PHR Photo Contest. To the winner will go a free set of four Nitto tires in any style and any size Nitto makes. Nitto makes a variety of high-performance tires, and it's especially fortunate that Nitto specializes in sizes for the muscle cars we love. The winning photographer will be able to choose any tire, from the cutting-edge NT01 R-compound (on our g/28 '76 Camaro, and Street Sweeper '68 Chevelle), to the NT555R Extreme Drag Radial (on our '75 Laguna Project Talladega). If a street tire is what you're looking for, Nitto makes the super popular NT555, the high-tech Invo, and now the ultra high-performance summer NT05. Need a truck tire for your 4x4? Choose a set of Mud Grapplers for those off-road excursions. We will notify the winner by September 10, 2009.

The Runner Up will get a collection of car care products from Mothers, which regularly sponsors the Mothers Picture Perfect Award each month in our Hometown Hot Rodding column. The top 20 finishers (including the Winner and Runner Up) will get a limited-edition PHR Photo Contest Finalist T-shirt, and some other goodies, like decals, license plates, and a copy of our January issue.

Now get that car polished, recharge those camera batteries, grab your honey (don't forget the Daisy Dukes!), and start snapping!

Photo Tips
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 aiming the camera at the rear of the car. We reserve the right to discard any entry that doesn't have these basic attributes. The only way to check the focus and sharpness is to look at the image on the screen after you shoot it-take the time to magnify the image to check it out areas that should be sharp, such as the grill or bumper. This is a photo contest, so the quality of the photo is important! Here are some other helpful tips that score points with us:

* Try shooting from a different vantage point other than eye level. Shooting from above, or from ground level can show off the sexy lines and stance better. Eye-level is good too, just mix it up some. If you shoot low, we want to see all four wheels. If your car has strong graphic elements, like hood stripes, show them off.

* Try shooting at twilight and position the car so that you can see a sharp horizon line in the side of the car. This will show off nice paint and body work, and can make even a dull color like gray, black, or white look exciting. Experiment and don't give up.

* Use reflectors to bounce sun light into the grill of the car. Reflectors can be bought, or made out of aluminum foil and cardboard. An off-camera flash can also do the same job. If you're unsure whether a flash helps or hurts, try it both ways.

* Use a tripod to stabilize your camera-it really helps. 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 an image to sweeten it up after the fact. Take the right exposure to start with-we'll know the difference. If you use Photoshop for anything, you better be good at it.

* Find a unique or beautiful background for your car. That means not your ordinary driveway. A park, beach, historical downtown area, fairground, industrial park, run-down industrial area, an empty country road, airfield taxiway, or tarmac can be a great spot. Keep off the grass, dirt, and the gravel. Stay away from painted parking lot lines.

* Experiment with different exposures-many great digital photos are ruined due to under-exposure. (If you've got an SLR, try covering the eyepiece with your hand to prevent stray light from causing an incorrect meter reading.)

* Bring friends to help with reflectors, flashes, direct traffic, to move extraneous debris, and to help you move the car. You'll quickly find yourself in over your head if you work alone.

* Bring your cutie, and we'll make her a star! Hot rods and cute girls go together like summer and baseball. Swimwear is ok, we just ask that you keep things under control. Like last year, we will have a special ladies-only section. If the car is your girlfriend, we require her to be completely covered with paint.

  • Click Here to Download the 2009 PHR Photo Contest Entry Form