Fstoppers.com has featured some great behind the scenes videos over the years and showcased amazingly talented professional photographers in our Fstoppers Originals series. Recently Patrick and I were invited to Scottsdale, Arizona to expose the secrets of commercial photographer Blair Bunting. When Blair invited us down to Loft 19 Studios, his idea was to shoot something big, expensive, and one of a kind.
Blair is probably most known for his photographs of Darrelle Revis, Mike Tyson, Brett Michaels, Discovery Channel's Deadliest Catch and Mythbusters, and tons of sports portraits (remember the strobist post?). So it was a bit of a shock when Blair suggested we film him shooting one of the first Lamborghini Aventadors to ship to North America. We weren't as familiar with Blair's car photography (he does a lot of it) but who were we to say no to shooting Lamborghinis out in the desert?
One thing Blair wanted to show in this video was how to cleanly light a sports car in the studio while also giving some practical tips on how you can light a car on a budget. For the studio shot, Blair used a 30' Chimera Softbox fitted with 4 Profoto Heads as the main "key light". The idea is to use a huge soft light source from above to paint on a soft specular highlight across the entire car's length. This accents most of the cars unique features and showcases the overall design of the car. Then using Profoto Pro 7a packs and single heads fitted with various degree grid spots, Blair kicked in narrow beams of hard light into sections of the car that were not properly lit from the Chimara above the car. It sounds a little overwhelming saying this car was only lit with nine lights, but honestly, high end car photography like this is often lit with an ungodly amount of studio lights and power packs.
Blair Bunting is famous for his crazy lighting setups but he also wanted to show how to light a car with a single light and a long exposure. Using only a Chimera Stripbox fitted with a constant light, Blair use the light painting technique over the course of a 10 second exposure to produce an image that in our opinion rivaled the full studio shot. It's pretty unbelievable that with some well crafted sweeps of the car, anyone can produce a well lit image that comes close to the much more expensive studio look. You can imagine how good the final image would look if you combined a few exposures and tightened up the thin stray lines of light caused from the light painting technique.