BTS Video on Strobing for Automotive Photography

You can’t have a car feature without some amazing details shots of the car, right? Recently, Ben Hosking from Hosking Industries shot a VH SS Holden Commodore for Street Commodores magazine. Some behind the scenes video was taken of his process.

Ben was also kind enough to give all gear info and setting for each setup. Each set varied a little, sometimes adding the occasional gator board to remove reflections and add some more fill light. As you can see, all this was done with a Canon 7D, EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 lensEF 24-70mm lens, and some speedlites, which made it easier to move the lights around without having to move the subject. You could also achieve similar results with some studio strobes, but a big, fancy studio setup is not needed to produce some quality photos. Controlling lights can help elevate your detail shots to the next level. 

Engine Bay of the VH SS Holden CommodoreEngine Bay of the VH SS Holden Commodore

Wheel shot of the VH SS Holden CommodoreInterior of the VH SS Holden CommodoreInstrument cluster of the VH SS Holden Commore

During my shoot with a Scion FRS, I used some speedlites for the detail shots I did for an upcoming feature on Spekture. I used my two Canon 430EX II speedlites without the white shoot-through umbrellas for this engine bay shot found below. The white umbrellas can be used to soften the light as well as spread it out a bit more. On your next automotive session, bring out your lights and test out the differences between using the umbrellas and not using them to see which you prefer. 

Spekture - Engine Bay of Stay Minty FRS

Do you have any automotive shots? Share your images and how you lit them in the comments! 

All photos used with permission of Ben Hosking.

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Ian Johns's picture

Nice article and great imagery. Also keep an eye out for UK-based automotive photographer and KelbyOne veteran Tim Wallace. That guy is also a beast in the industry.

Thanks, and yes I have seen a few of Tim Wallace's work and tutorials, another great photographer.

Jason Berry's picture

Great article Alex! Ben is a true asset to the photographic community. His style and approach for creating stunning images captivates thousands in the automotive arena. Not only is he a great photographer, he gives his time and talents to help others better their work.

Phil Newton's picture

Nice work thanks for sharing. Damn now I have another genre of photography that I feel I want to have a go of!

Yes, I love automotive photography, This is what got me started, but lately I have been venturing into other genres.

Phil Newton's picture

Yeah just checked out your instagram. Plenty of great work on there! Well I've got all the gear on the video plus about ten times more so there's no excuse for me not to have a go. I've always liked the idea of a 'cars and their owners' project; I think it's an interesting concept of a vehicle and their owner and left up to the viewer to make assumptions about the owner's character based on the car they chose. Not just fancy cars, show cars etc, but all sorts of cars. We love making assumptions about people based on their cars anyway. Older guy in nice car, gotta be a mid-life crisis! Woman in a masculine or hotted-up vehicle? Her boyfriend's, obviously! I wonder if viewers could choose three descriptive words to describe a total stranger based on a portrait of them with their car how accurate they could be? Perhaps I'm overthinking the concept...

Craig Jeffries's picture

I have 4 artificially lit automotive pieces in my portfolio/gallery on here. I lit them using an LED light through a fold out soft box with a camera on a tripod and layered the separately lit pieces in photoshop to to blend into the final image. I can thank Ben Hosking for the inspiration helpful advice years ago when getting started into this years ago. Even though I haven't met him in person, I've always found him very willing to help people out with tips and tricks when he's got the time to do it. Awesome to see his work here on F-Stoppers.


Automotive is my main passion, and coming from a commercial background and understanding light and reflections has been a very important part in some of my recent successes! Thanks for sharing! Looking forward to putting together a few BTS videos in the near future! Hopefully we can make one with strong enough content to land an F-Stoppers article! :thumbup: