Time to Turn Pro – Part 8

Monday and Tuesday

I’m headed to a museum to shoot 18 classic motorcycles for a glossy coffee table book. However, the client wanted the images to look like they’d been produced in a studio rather than a museum setting, and so I took along a background and matching Formica floor panels, with a view to creating a mini setup. My idea was to shoot everything with the longest lens possible to make the images easier to retouch, but in the end I had to put the bikes on a turntable and shoot from around eight feet away, which was something I hadn’t anticipated.

In a situation such as this you need to come up with a solution and, in the end, I shot another studio-style background, and added a real concrete floor to make it look realistic. Then I employed the very talented post-production specialists at Pinnacle Media in India to cut out all the images and marry them to the new background to keep the client happy.

Wednesday and Thursday

My task on the Wednesday is to shoot 16 vehicles for Bonhams MPH, which runs specialist car auctions. For this, the approach has to be structured, so I use a simple background and shoot front-and-three-quarter, rear-and-three-quarter, the engine, interior and some exterior details, and then I also produce a quick walk-around film, balancing my camera on a gimbal for speed. Overall this is a huge amount of work, and an even larger amount of editing, but since the Covid crisis I’ve had to film pretty much all of the cars I shoot. It’s a sign of the times and it’s a mixed blessing; on the one hand I end up spending most nights editing, while on the plus side I’ve acquired a fresh skill that’s kept me in work. As a photographer I feel these days there’s a need to be able to shoot and edit video to a reasonable standard.

The following day I have another shoot for Bonhams MPH, and this time I’ve been asked to take shots for a catalogue cover and another six cars. The location is a disused military airfield, and my job is to shoot looking down from the top of a very high set of steps, similar to those used to board an aeroplane.

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