Kevin at AutoPro Motorsports contacted us wanting some unique automotive photography images to support their spot at the 2012 Top Gear Live show being held at the Birmingham NEC. The images were to be used in promotional material including some prizes and handouts at the show. The show-piece of their stand at Top Gear was to be a BMW M3 with a custom vinyl wrap in a newly available colour so the main image was to be centred around this car. For the main image (to be used in posters etc) we came up with concept of combining a light-painted shot of the car with a portrait shot of a girl leaning against the car. We agreed that in keeping with APM’s brand the look of the finished shot would be high quality and high luxury and so the set-up and model had to fit that brief.
In preparation I visited APM a week before the actual shoot to take some test images of the car (at that point only half finished!) in the location we would be using (APM’s workshop) to make sure it would all come together when the car was complete and the model was on location. I did a rough edit mock up and this is what we came up with:
The test shoot went well and I was happy that everything could be done as planned and within the required timescales to make sure everything was complete in time for the top gear live show. Once the concept and location were sorted we set about sourcing the models. In the end we went for 2 models so that the client had multiple options for the final design (either of the girls individually or both the girls together); Hannah Payne and Lianne Pendergast.
On the night of the shoot (to keep ambient light to a minimum) we waited until the fading sun had dropped sufficiently and we set up the car in position and blanked off the walls behind with some large black material to make it easier to process and so there would be less to remove from the background in post.
I then the camera up on a tripod and took multiple exposures of the car while lighting it with a hand held LED video light. To add some separation from the background I also used a red gelled light behind the car (to simulate brake lights) fired into smoke from a smoke machine on the shots towards the rear of the car.
Once I was happy that I had gotten all the images I needed for the car we brought in the models and I set up a large single softbox (with a Bowens Gemini 500w strobe) to light them. We shot both models separately and together and in a couple of outfits to keep our options open as to which worked best in the final shot (I wouldn’t necessarily always do this but it is difficult for a client to visualise a composited conceptual shot like this I thought it would be better to play it safe).
Once I had all the shots I needed for the main concept I took some detail shots of the car and some portrait shots of the models.
We were really pleased with the final set of images as was the client and they got some great feedback at the Top Gear Live show and online. Here is the final shot that was chosen as the main image by the client.
Here some of the additional images that were shot on the day, some of which have gone on to be used in promotional material.
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