Another strong photo contest...
Another strong photo contest competitor every year is John Mastalerz of Niles, Illinois, who sent us shots of John Dallianis’ blown big-block ’70 Nova for the 2011 competition.
Please do not send pix of the rear of the car, and no photos with date/time stamps on them.
The photographer must be the car owner, or a member of the car owner’s immediate family. No exceptions.
One photo contest entry per household. One photo contest entry per photographer. One photo contest entry per car. One photo contest entry per model. One photo contest entry per envelope.
The swag prize box is awarded based on the combined merits of the car and the photography. That said, a really junky car is far more difficult to photograph than a nice car, but go for it if that’s all you have.
Enclose all materials in an envelope no bigger than 9.5 by 11 inches. Please, no oversized envelopes or boxes.
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. The grille/front bumper should be in any photo you send.
Shoot from different vantage points in addition to 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, show all four wheels. If your car has strong graphics like hood stripes, show them off.
When it comes to taking pix...
When it comes to taking pix of the ladies, few hot rodders do a better job than DiAnna Reynolds of Brunswick, Maryland. Last year she sent us shots of 19-year-old Hannah Britt-Baker of Damascus, Maryland, posing with a ’77 Trans Am.
Try it 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 bodywork.
If you turn the front tires, don’t aim the tread at the camera—show the wheel. This looks way better.
Use reflectors to bounce sunlight into the grille. 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 steady 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 your images with your computer—this will just mess it up and make it difficult to print. Take a good exposure to start with and leave it alone.
Find a unique or beautiful background for your car. It can be dark, moody, nostalgic, exciting, serene, dangerous, or ethereal. A park, beach, historical downtown area, fairground, run-down industrial area, empty country road, airfield taxiway, or tarmac can be a great spot. Keep off the grass, dirt, mud, and the gravel. Stay away from painted parking lot lines.
Experiment with different exposures. Many great digital photos are ruined due to underexposure. (If you’ve got an SLR, cover the eyepiece with your hand to prevent stray light from causing incorrect meter readings.) 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. You’ll be in over your head if you work alone.
Bring your cutie, and we’ll make her a star! Hot rods and hot girls go together like beer and pizza. Swimwear is OK, just keep things under control. Natural, comfortable poses are best. If it’s too risqué, we won’t print it.