When you ever have a creative idea for a photo shoot, what do you do with that idea? When considering my own creative ideas for automotive photography, then tend to go into realm of compositions. Shooting a toy car instead isn’t the first thing that pops into my mind, but that is exactly what photographer Felix Hernandez of Hernandez Dreamphography did.
As a photographer, I love seeing other peoples creative processes as well as how they made the final shot. When I cam across Felix’s work, I was quite impressed. He tends to create wonderful pieces of art using a much smaller scaled props than you might first expect. While quickly looking at the Audi R8 finished photos, I didn’t realize he was using a scaled model car. After closer inspection and seeing the behind the scenes photos, it became clear but I was still fascinated in the end results and his work.
If it was me, I would of shot an actual production R8 with tons of gear out on location. Felix’s approach is quite different, and he’s able to create his own location in the comfort of his studio with full control. No working about the weather or other factors that may interfere. Not to mention the liability of shooting a vehicle that comes with a high price tag. I am not sure if I would be able to even build the landscape quite like he did, that’s some more talent in itself. However you put it, the final results are stunning.
For most of the Felix's images, he uses a mixture of camera and digital effects to achieve his work. For this project, the goal was to do as much as possible in camera, so no post digital effects if possible to complete the photo.
How did he create the fog and mist effects? By using dry ice (Co2). There was more that needed to be done to create the scenery for this project, by using wheat flour he was able to bring snow to the environment. I would of never guessed this, but to make the sea foam effect Felix used shaving cream. As you can see, a lot of the environmental effects are created with simple household products. The next step is to build some scaled modeling props to add more to the scene. To achieve motion effects in the photos, apply long exposure techniques as well as light painting techniques to add the glow.
Each environment was different to make while using different techniques for each one, but out of all of the Felix says the easiest was the shot from above. It was done 100% in camera. He built the surface, applied dry ice to give a sense of motion and used light painted the heads lights to complete tha photo.
We all gather our inspiration from different areas of our life. You might of guess for Felix it all comes from his dreams, hence "Dreamphography."
We sleep a third part of our lives. Every time we go to sleep we go into a magic world of imagination. Our fears, yearnings, thoughts, and ideas blend together in our dreams... It's just a matter to remember them and learn how to direct them.
The Purpose of the R8 Shoot
The purpose behind this set of photos were just to test some ideas Felix had. Yes, there were just test shots he took at his place. The idea behind it all was to play with perception through scale, same with his "Love Car" image that went viral before this. First, he wanted to trick or make the viewers believe they were seeing a life-sized car instead of the scaled model he was actually shooting. Following that he released the behind the scenes photos to achieve a second "wow" factor showing all of us what we were really looking at.
I did several tests going on location and also in studio... trying to achieve some shots totally done in camera. That means no adding Photoshop effects or doing composites. If I wanted smoke or fog or a background or the headlights, etc... all of that had to be done in camera using "traditional" effects. One of the images that is out there in the media is a mix of on-camera effects and digital effects and was shot in the studio. Yes, the goal was to achieve all in camera, but why not explore also a different option as a backup... either way the photos where only test shots.
Did Felix ever think these photos would make a big of an impact as they have... the answer is no. When you work so hard on a personal project and see a big return in all of your work, its a great feeling. These photos went so big that Audi directly context Felix asking him for permission to share the series on their social media. They loved this project so much, they had to share it. This wasn't a campaign, nor was it commissioned work, just a series fo test jobs that made it big and were shared by the manufacturer of what the scaled car was suppose to be.
You might of read some crazy headlines about this series, and as you can tell they are not really correct. This was just a series of test shots as part of an Audi project Felix wanted to do. However, there are some good things coming in the future, which Felix hopes he can talk about and share with us soon.
You can check out more of his work on his Facebook page.
Have you used toy figures or scaled models in any of your projects and brought them to life? Post your work in the comments, I would love to see more!
All photos used with permission of Felix Hernandez.