Get your camera ready. The Popular Hot Rodding photo contest is headed your way.
The name of the magazine is Popular Hot Rodding , which may sound similar to another one out there, but there is one huge difference that bears repeating here: our name starts with the word popular, which means it’s all about you. And while every issue of Popular Hot Rodding contains a nice assortment of readers’ rides, the two most popular theme issues each year are the readers’ projects issue, and the readers’ rides issue. (In a nutshell, the difference between the two boils down to cars that are works in progress, and cars that are completed—which is our focus here.)
You’ve spent a pile of money, a ton of effort, and years of precious time to get your pride and joy looking and running good, and it’s got to be frustrating getting magazines to even look your way. Who needs those snooty guys anyway? We’re here to help, and we need your muscle car photos! Specifically, we need domestically manufactured rear-wheel-drive V-8-powered cars built between 1955 and 1981.
This year’s winning photographer...
This year’s winning photographer will get a box of swag worth hundreds of dinero. (Project Nova is not included!) The January 2013 Readers’ Rides issue will have all the photos fit to print, and will be on newsstands November 20, 2012.
To make a good-looking readers’ rides issue, we turn it into a photo contest. To help you put your best foot forward, we are offering a huge box of prize swag worth hundreds of bucks. We’ll be sending that to the reader with the winning set of photos, which will coincide with the publishing of the readers’ rides in the January 2013 issue.
This year, things are a little different. In the past, it didn’t matter if the car owner brought in an outside photographer. This year, we’re stipulating that the photographer must be the car owner, or an immediate family member (spouse, son, daughter, brother, sister, father, or mother). This is about you and your car, and you are the most qualified person to tell that story!
We’re going to do our best to print all of them, but for that to happen we need your photos to be awesome. These need to be high-resolution JPEGs (3,000 x 2,000 pixels minimum), they need to be sharp, well lit, in focus, and framed properly with a comfortable border around the car. You need to enclose color prints of your 10 best images along with a CD or DVD of the digital images, a one-page cover letter explaining the story on your car, and include the completed spec sheet (photocopy OK) from this issue. To be included in the January readers’ rides issue, please send your envelope by August 1, 2012 to: Source Interlink Media, PHR Photo Contest, 1733 Alton Pkwy., Ste. 100, Irvine, CA 92606.
Last year, Ryan Fultz of Noblesville,...
Last year, Ryan Fultz of Noblesville, Indiana, won our photo contest with pix he took of Terry Lee’s ’64 Mustang. Fultz, an amateur photographer and DIY hot rodder, had been entering the PHR photo contest for several years with his ’68 Malibu—always placing in the Top 20—before winning it outright in 2011.
PHR Photo Contest Guidelines
Send in your complete entry by August 1, 2012. The address is: Source Interlink Media, Attn: PHR Photo Contest, 1733 Alton Pkwy., Ste. 100, Irvine, CA 92606. Note that we cannot take submissions via email, or verify that your submission has arrived.
Fill out the entry form completely (or a photocopy) in legible handwriting. We’ll be writing about your car, and if you don’t tell us anything (or if we can’t read it) we can’t write about it. Entries with illegible or incomplete entry forms may be discarded.
In addition to the entry form, you should write a one-page cover letter telling your story. Tell us about yourself, what you love about your car, how you use (or abuse) it, your car’s mods, performance, dyno numbers, timeslip numbers, or just a funny story about the car or your photo shoot. Using a model? We need her info as well (name, age, hometown, and website if any). Please keep your letter to one page. Entries without a cover letter may be discarded.
Send us no more than 10 high-resolution photos of your car. Try to mix them up. These photos need to be in digital “JPG” form, and must have a minimal resolution of 3,000 pixels wide by 2,000 pixels high. Burn these photos on a standard CD or DVD (not one from a drugstore or retail photo shop—these have photo software on them), and provide individual matching prints.
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.
Photo Contest Entry Form
Model year and make of car:
Color of car:
Photographer/car owner’s name & age:
Camera brand and model:
Model’s full name, age, and hometown:
Relation of model to photographer:
Location of photo shoot:
Engine type and size:
Intake manifold and carb (or EFI type):
Rearend and gearing:
Major chassis mods:
Wheels (size, brand, style):
Tires (size, brand, model):
Other special or unique features:
Peak horsepower (note engine or chassis dyno):
Best dragstrip e.t. (note eighth-mile or quarter-mile):
Did you build the car yourself:
How much do you have into this car (including car):
Checklist (must have all): Photo CD/DVD (JPEGs only) — ❑ 1-page cover story — ❑ 4x6 color prints — ❑
I assert that I am the owner and photographer of the vehicle described above, and hereby give PHR and its assignees permission to publish these images.
1733 Alton Pkwy., Ste. 100
All entries must be received by August 1, 2012