Irix ambassador Arnaud Taquet about wide-angle perspective of car photography
Arnaud Taquet 24-years-old, Irix Lens Ambassador, automotive commercial photographer and test driver. True petrolhead either driving or shooting when I’m not daydreaming. Travelling across Europe and the world for my clients as well as for my passion for discovering deserts and wild areas.
Clients: Renault, Mercedes-Benz, Mclaren, Honda, Smart, Lexus, Audi, Seat, BMW ALPINA, Pagani, TeamOne LosAngeles, Publicis ( Prodigious ) etc.
About car photography…
Because of the multiple textures (tyres, paint job, carbon fibre, satin parts, chrome etc.) and different angles and reflections, I honestly think cars are some of the most difficult subjects to shoot. They’re pretty big so it’s always a challenge to find the right lighting for each part of a car.
Also, apart from studio images, you need a background, so it’s mandatory to know as much as possible about architecture and landscape photography as the scenery is a huge part of the image. Dynamic shots are even harder to capture because you either have to deal with a natural image that might be blurred or to use realistic motion blur software which is pretty complicated and that can make you spend hours in post-production.
In my opinion, more than in any other field, car photography enhances the reputation of photographers who have the richest experience. They know what to do in most situations and know what to avoid. At least cars need to match their background so I still think you can’t really deliver nice images if you don’t know anything about cars in general. Even if the image itself is good looking, I’d never seriously take a photo of a racecar in front of an old mansion or a tiny urban car on a racetrack.
About wide angles…
In car photography, in general, I can use it pretty often as long as the car isn’t too close. I recently bought a drone, and this, as well as the Irix 15mm, made me crazy about landscape photography so I’m trying more and more to enhance the background area in my pictures. Sometimes the cars are really small in the pictures and the more exciting or rare they are, the more I love having them small in the picture. Petrolheads usually love focusing on sports cars but I feel like giving these cars some more context makes an image even more unique.
There are other ways to use wide angle in commercial photography. The first one is when it comes to interior shots. Then, it helps a LOT. Also, wide angle lenses help to make pretty photographic combos. I use wide angle for a better perspective and to make the best out of one location, then I shoot a car with a 35 or 50mm and melt both images. It requires post-production skills but anyway, that’s what commercial photography is about.
About photo technique and gadgets….
I always use a polarizing filter at least to manage the number of reflections I want on the car’s body and on the windows and windshield.
Also, it makes the colours pop out (not only the paint job but also the sky, or the sea). Sometimes, even in commercial photography, when the available light is good enough, I just bracket and make sure I have enough different CPL expositions and the image is taken without having to work on the reflections and lightning. I simply couldn’t live without CPL!
When someone is asking me for advice on how to take creative photos of cars with a wide angle I always recommend that they keep some distance between the camera and the car, and to best place the subject in the middle of the frame.
About the Irix experience…
To be honest, I first thought it would be tough to work with such a wide angle lens as it might show too much distortion on the cars, but the 15mm is pretty amazing and keeps straight lines straight. Also, I never shoot without a polarizing filter and that lens is basically the only one that is flat enough to be covered by a CPL.
Now I feel like taking it with me on every shoot as it has changed from what I used to do. I use it, for instance, for car interiors as it’s super wide without having that fisheye effect, and it’s also sharp enough to work on little details in post-production.
Lamborghini Aventador S & Huracan Performante
Tough shooting. Challenging. I had to shoot two cars in a narrow car park without moving them because they were about to be delivered. Good thing that I had my Irix 15mm with me (it helps to shoot x2 cars in a small location!) and I had plenty of time to find how to make the best out of that situation. Also, the available light was good enough not to use a flash and there were not so many reflections since the car park was all white and the Huracan Performante is matte grey. The few reflections I had to deal with vanished with the polarizing filter.
I ended up deciding to go for a dynamic shot (motion blur in post-production) and since the floor was clean and bright, I thought it would be interesting to make it reflective by pouring some water on it. After hours of post-production work, here’s how it came out:
© Arnaud Taquet