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Ask Me About How I Shot This Automotive Advertising Campaign

Last year I had an exciting opportunity to shoot what I am told is the first combined Jaguar and Land Rover USA ad campaign now that they are both under new combined ownership. The goal of the campaign was to create content that would appeal to the users of both car markers and promote brand loyalty. It was as if we were to say: "If you have a Land Rover, you need a sporty Jaguar for the ultimate garage!" (and vise versa). This campaign came together very quickly and the client had specific production requirements. Learn how I did it below and feel free to ask any question about the process in the comments section.

Pre-Production and Location Scouting

Upon winning the bid and having the clients return the signed contract, my first mission was to find our location. Time was tight and the client had a specific vision, so I did not hesitate to call a Washington D.C./Maryland/Virginia-area location scout to help with the process. The goal was to find a modern home with a garage in front with space to put a Land Rover Range Rover SUV and a Jaguar F-Type sports coupe/convertible. This was a challenge because the Washington D.C. area doesn't have very many of these types of homes (many nice homes in the region have a very classic or colonial design), let alone ones that would allow a production to rent it out for a shoot.

I started calling various luxury real estate companies to see if they had any locations in their roster, but no luck. I then reached out on social media where I received great suggestions, but no solutions. The location scout I hired knew of a possible home that would fit our needs, but it was not on her official list of approved locations. It actually took her having to drive directly to the location and knocking on their door and asking nicely. It ended up being owned by a legendary, retired athlete and his family. With a little bit of negotiating with the home owner's sport agent, we came to an agreement and they were nice enough to let us shoot there. What a huge relief.

The Shoot

The shoot itself was fairly straightforward. I captured everything with my Phase One IQ140, Schneider 55mm leaf shutter prime, and Schneider 75-150 leaf shutter zoom. Each lens had a circular polarizer mounted onto them to minimize reflections on the vehicles when photographing them. It also helped that the weather was overcast, which is very helpful when photographing big reflective surfaces such as cars. I kept the camera on a tripod and tethered it to my laptop sitting on a Tether Tools Tether Table for easy review for myself and the clients.

Our first step was to plan vehicle placement and framing for the subsequent photographs. For each setup, we would place the camera and cars first. Next I would take bracketed exposures of the background and cars with varying exposures. I would also rotate the circular polarizer filters (CPL) to remove reflections on different portions of the vehicles. Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to get all surface reflections removed on every side of a vehicle in one shot with a CPL.

Next, I had an assistant walk around each car with a Profoto D1 Air 1000W/s strobe with a softbox mounted onto it and light different parts of each car. I used the strobe to give a soft, yet dynamic directional light on the cars to show off their most attractive design lines. In post-production, I created a layered composite and combined all of the elements of each plate I photographed (as explained in the description above). You can see how the image came together in the animated GIF below.

The post-production process.

One of the ads we shot in the flesh!

One of the shots used in a mailer campaign.

Ask Your Questions

Have more questions about how this campaign came together? Whether it be about the production, photographing, or post-production process, just ask in the comments below!

 

CREDITS

Behind The Scenes Video: Seannie Camera

Photography Assistant: Ed Mantell

Location Scout: Carol Fleischer 

Ad Agency: Brand Aid

If you would like to see more behind the scenes videos, I have dozens posted on my site herehttp://www.sondersphotography.com/Behind-The-Scenes/
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35 Comments

Previous comments
Brian Rodgers Jr.'s picture

Michael,

Very weird! I guess, you were meant to see it lol. Thanks for the info, I'll take a look at my final version, I may have taken it out by the time it got to my portfolio. Sometimes, I go back and tweak images, even after I've made a retouch video. Always good to go back with fresh eyes! Thanks again Michael

Chris Adval's picture

I haven't researched your career but when you started photography did you focus on the shot itself or the shot to work best for post production? How did you pre-thought the finished image while or before shooting it? Do you have a set formula of just do X, then Y and then Z? (like contrasty dark feel editing on X parts of the image?)

Günther Forhojden's picture

Hi, Douglas!
Very nice article. I understand almost everything, the only thing that i can't figure it out is the position of light let's say for the surface on the left side of the image on gray car and also second one how you got that nonshiny surface without reflections. Can't be just because of CPL? Did you use some other stuff, so the light is evenly spread?
thanks

Günther Forhojden's picture

Hi, Douglas!
Very nice article. I understand almost everything, the only thing that i can't figure it out is the position of light let's say for the surface on the left side of the image on gray car and also second one how you got that nonshiny surface without reflections. Can't be just because of CPL? Did you use some other stuff, so the light is evenly spread?
thanks

Günther Forhojden's picture

Hi, Douglas!
Very nice article. I understand almost everything, the only thing that i can't figure it out is the position of light let's say for the surface on the left side of the image on gray car and also second one how you got that nonshiny surface without reflections. Can't be just because of CPL? Did you use some other stuff, so the light is evenly spread?
thanks