D Class Automotive: Commercial Photo Shoot + Walk-Through

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: July 20, 2011

Category: General

A recent Commercial Photo Shoot saw me working with ‘D Class Automotive‘ who are specialists in Automotive Interiors and Upholstery, based in Surrey, UK.

The reason for the shoot was to create a portfolio of images showing the kind of cars they work on, samples of their interiors and images of them actually at work which will be used on their soon to be launched new and revamped company website.

D Class‘ new company site is being designed by Bezant Design [Link] who were an absolute pleasure to work for;  I’ll show you more of them and their work once the new site goes live but anyway, onto the shoot…

As is always the case a few weeks prior to the shoot I’d gone along and met the Team and managed to have a good look around the location to get an idea of what images I’d be working on and most importantly what the working environment was going to be. The first thing I couldn’t help but notice was how darned busy it was; their phone literally didn’t stop ringing all the time I was there, so it obvious this was going to be one of those shoots where flexibility was the name of the game.

Not only that, but despite being a generous sized workshop, space was quite limited so when it came to kit and what lighting to use, I opted to use my ever faithful Nikon Speedlights along with a couple of different sized Lastolite EzyBoxes [Link] and Honl Speed Grids [Link] because of their portability and there being no need to trail wires around an already busy floor space…

Anyone who’s photographed cars or car parts or come to think of it anything shiny, knows it’s not a fast process…the slightest change in angle of the light source and the camera makes a world of difference. Now I would normally include a lighting diagram in this case to show you how I shot some of the car details and interiors but to be honest each car turned out to be a different set up,  and showing that I’d used a softbox or two would be pointless as in no way would it represent the angles used; however, I can cover a little on the portrait shots…

All of the portraits apart from the team photo taken at the end of the day were shot in the workshop to show what the guys do ‘hands on’ and quite typically the workshop itself had overhead strip lighting and was packed full of machinery. With regards to the lighting, I ended up going for a 2 light set up literally ‘sandwiching’ the subjects between the softboxes which were great for fitting into the tight areas, and again because of them being battery operated and there being no need for cables, the inconvenience to the guys who still had to keep working to a point, was minimal…

As always if you have any questions or comments, then please feel free to make use of the comments section below, but in the mean time,

Enjoy 🙂

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  1. Francis Peacocke

    Great story and lovely commission ( I love cars) Where on earth did you get the idea for the combination of full CTO and cloudy white balance?
    As always a post well worth reading.

    • Glyn

      Hi Francis.
      By the sound of it you’d have loved the cars here…some really stunning old cars! Re the CTO and WB…nothing ventured nothing gained…rules are there to be broken…lol 🙂

      Thanks again for stopping by and taking the time to comment,
      Cheers, Glyn

  2. Terry Donnelly

    Absolute brilliance!!!

    Fantastic shots Glyn, and achieved using just a pair of speedlights!

    I rate your photography so much and really enjoy these posts.

    Would have loved to have seen at least one car set up, as I shot a few cars a few months ago and can appreciate just what a great job you did here, the reflections and glints are a real nightmare to cope with.

    • Glyn

      Terry…thanks so much for the kind words both on here and on Facebook…I really do appreciate it 🙂

      ps> Reflections being a nightmare…you’re not wrong there 🙂 lol

  3. DaveT

    HI Glyn,

    I just love these behind the scenes posts. It’s a great eyeopener of what is involved in this type of thing, and the way you approached the shoot is fascinating. When I have seen this sort of thing before (involving cars) they have tended to be very large scale operations with loads of personnel and equipment. This just shows what can be done with minimal equipment, a practical approach knowledge and skill.

    I also like the post production look – the vintage effect really suits the theme.

    Glyn, when shooting the cars, and to avoid the reflections, did you only use the Lastolite Ezyboxes? My initial thought, till reading your post, was that to achieve it one had to shoot through some sort of scrim – as per the Hot Shoe Diaries.

    Thanks for a great post

    • Glyn

      DaveT…Thanks for the comment and the kind words; really good to hear you like the results.
      With regards to the lighting, yeah Ezyboxes were on their own for 99% of the shots. On some I placed material to cover 75% of the front of the softbox to minimise the amount of light coming out and to give a ‘strip’ of light as opposed a ‘square’ if that makes sense. There were a couple of shots on the Lagonda where I had Michael Bezant hold a large 1 Stop Tri Grip Diffuser ontop of my head as I crouched down to the front of the car so that the Ezybox had to go through that too which obviously softened the light that much more.

      Thanks again,
      Regards, Glyn

  4. Keith Hammond

    interesting post Glyn and good to see you out of your “comfort zone” as you are normally the people portrait guy, which you do so well, so how did you feel working with big products ?
    as you said very challenging shooting cars with all the reflective surfaces and different panel shapes etc, not easy but get it right and you can get stunning results as per Tim Wallace

  5. Jonathan Thompson

    Hi Glyn. Would have loved to have been on this shoot. Did you use Speedlights or continuous light through the Ezybox’s, seems like it would be supper hard to sculpt the light over shiny surfaces with strobe only. Looking at finding some nice cars to shoot for lighting practice myself.

    • Glyn

      Hi Mate. Re the lighting used, yep just speed lights and using a combination of the Ezybox, Brolly, and Large Lastolite Tri Grip Diffuser 😉


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