All images captured in the video are shown below for your reference. All camera settings (EXIF Data) are also listed with each photo.
Obviously I had an amazing location for this shoot, and you will not always be so lucky, but the key point remains! When you’re shooting a car at night, it’s usually best practice to have some sort of natural environmental light in the scene, so when and if you do light the car there’s a natural explanation for the light on the car.
This ensures you can still achieve a beautiful surreal end result, but the photo will come across as naturally appealing. For lighting at night you can use light painting, strobing, or any other means of lighting the car you wish. With practice you will begin to find the method you are most comfortable with, and then ultimately which method is right for the location at hand.
If you’re blessed with a bright colored car, you can even get away with just shooting natural light, but you’ll definitely need a well lit environment, and then it’s a matter of placing the car at the correct angle so that the scene’s light does most of the heavy lifting for you. For example, if I did not choose to light this car, I would have angled the car so that the building’s lights we’re reflecting off the body of the car, and they were mostly behind me and the camera.
Of course if you’re shooting a black car at night, almost all of this goes out of the window! Don’t worry, we’ll get to do a black car at night together soon enough!
If you’re scrolling through the RAW images above, you will defintiely notice some big differences in the paint when it gets to the final edited image. In saying that, editing this particular shot required of course required layering on the Profoto B1 500 lit shots, but also some tricky paint modifications. Advanced cleaning was done to remove all of the unnecessary specular highlights (little white spots) as well as repainting small portions of the car’s body panels.
When you’re lighting a car you don’t want it to be overly apparent that it was actually lit, and having tons of little white spots all over the car from your flash causes this issue. With a complex color such as this deep metallic blue Huracan EVO, it can become very tricky. If you’re not comfortable doing this already, I suggest checking out my LiveClass Commune course “Advanced Color Grading” — not only do I show how I achieve the vivid colors in the final result, but I go quite in-depth in advanced paint modification that’s required sometimes with complex colors such as this car. It’s not as hard as it may appear, and any level photographer will be able to follow along!
For this lesson I’ve also included a step by step slideshow of the entire Photoshop edit below, just so you can see exactly when those specular highlights were removed! The slideshow starts with the bottom layer, and works up to the final result. If you have any questions be sure to hop into the conversation in the comments below!