The Making of An Automotive Composite: Lexus LFA
Automotive photography can be an extremely rewarding niche in the photography industry. The fast, shiny, power-inducing machines that rush by in a blur of color can be a thrill to anyone photographer, but it can also be daunting making sure that every detail is just perfect. Automotive photographer John Zhang walks us through the post processing of one of his lates shots of a Lexus LFA.
“There are certain circumstances when you get a chance to shoot a dream car, but you are faced with a location or environment that isn’t too ideal. In my case, I was given a chance to shoot my friend’s new Lexus LFA and wanted it to look special in the end. The original shot can be seen below. It was shot on the highway with my Nikon D800E out the window of another car.”
“As you can see the original shot was anything but special. I shot it knowing that I would composite it. And so I did.”
“Whenever I don’t shoot cars, I shoot back plates for future composites. I have a library of about 10gbs of back plates to chose from. The main back plate I chose for this image was from the desert. I shot them, while I was on the way to Las Vegas. The great thing about shooting multiple angles of the same back plate is that you have more room to get creative and a better foundation to work off of. In this case, I was able to change the way the road turned to better suit my car.”
“Next up, I bumped the contrast and played around with the color grading. “
“Then I added some rumble strips in Photoshop. They didn’t need to be 100% perfect because I would go onto the next top to add motion to it. To add these rumble strips, I merely chose a hard brush and brushed the red and white in.”
“Then I added some motion.”
“The hardest part is to add the car into the scene and make it look believable and not “floaty”. This means, that the shadow I draw for the car would have to match the main light source. In this case my main light was the sun shining down from the top left of the image.”
“Below is an image build gif that will show you in one animation of what was done to the image.”
“My name is John Zhang. I also go by 1013MM. I am a freelance automotive photographer from the Los Angeles area.”
I would like to thank John for taking the time to breakdown this amazing shot for all of us at Fstoppers. If you would like to check out some more of John’s work you can find it at some of the links below, and if you would like to guest write for us at Fstoppers please send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
All photos and guest text created by John Zhang and used with permission.