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It is difficult not to notice the hard working photographers at car shows - even if you almost trip over them as they lie down on the ground to get that perfect angle! They capture our pride and joys, the culture and the atmosphere of the events.
(Photo by Phill's Kustom Photography of Mark Greenmantle capturing Miss Sapphire Siren)
I spoke to some of our favourite event photographers to see if they have observed anything that we (pinups and the general public) should be considering at car shows.
Respect the cars
It is called a 'car show' for a reason. These displays of mechanical beauty are on show for all to enjoy. Many of the cars are prepped for days before and may only come out of the garage for these special events.
"Please be respectful of the cars. Whether you are a member of the general public or a photographer or a pinup, touching cars without the owners permission is not on! If you don't like a car, or don't appreciate the way it was built, keep it to yourself. It's someone's pride and joy. You don't have to like it, just walk on." - Phill from Phill's Kustom Photography
"Ensure that you get direct permission from a car's owner to have any level of contact with that car at all. A car entering an event generally gives you licence to stand back and shoot it but never to have contact with it. If you take risks with the property of others, don't be surprised at extreme response from owners." - Mark from Mark Greenmantle Photography
(Photo of Phill from Phill's Kustom Photography)
Respect the culture
We are part of this culture because of all the positive elements that make up this inclusive community. Car show events are about celebrating the music, the dancing, the fashion and the cars. The moment anyone treats these events as merely a means to update their portfolio, has lost touch of what this community (and the event) was made for.
"Pinup models and photographers who show up for the pinup comp, a couple of photos and then leave are not supporting the culture. Car people notice who actually looks at the cars and is interested and they also notice who is there to just use the cars that people have spent a lot of blood, sweat, tears dollars to make themselves look good." - Phill from Phill's Kustom Photography
Photographers crave that 'golden hour' light and most photoshoots are scheduled in afternoons where the light is soft and flattering. However, that is the opposite of car shows. Where the photoshoot location is in the middle of the day in the blazing sun out in a field with a highly reflective car.
"Not everyone understands that shooting in full sun at midday/ cloudy days or at different times of day will produce different results." - Paul from Pandom Images
“Light is so important. Shooting at noon is never a good plan. Either arrive early to shoot in the morning light or settle for what’s left later in the afternoon.” - Jill from Jill Kerswill Photography
(Photo by Mark Greenmantle Photography taken with my car in the afternoon at Greazefest 2018 - notice the lack of cars left on the field?)
Be patient and observant
A majority of the time photographers work car shows at their own expense. As I said before, photographers will literally put their bodies on the line to get the perfect angle, so it helps to be aware of your surroundings and be respectful of them doing their job.
"Usually there's a crowd looking at cars and we often have to shoot in between people coming into shot but also it would be nice when we are shooting that people looking be aware and just hang out of shot for a few minutes" - Paul from Pandom Images
"Situational awareness is vital. Sadly a great many people will go to these events and simply not look at where they're walking as they rubber-neck at cars that are lined up. For this reason, photographers not only have to take care not to step into the path of a hapless car fan, they also must ensure that if they're placing a light stand somewhere, that it's either out of reach of the general public, or that someone is at hand to rescue that if someone appears to be about to walk into it. A falling light stand could injure a person, or damage a show car, usually well beyond the risk values of a broken flash and stand." - Mark from Mark Greenmantle Photography
Remember that behind the camera is a human being. They love what they do and want to capture the event. If you see a photographer working a show and are keen to get some pictures, it doesn't hurt to ask. But be observant and remember that they may also be there to enjoy the show and catch up with friends. They might really want to photograph a group or pinup but are also too shy themselves to ask. Plus aren't we all introverts after all?
"If someone wants some photos with cars don't be afraid to ask, I'm usually quite shy with people I don't know well so I won't always ask someone but I'm pretty much always keen to shoot" - Paul from Pandom Images
Our valued photographers are capturing memories and stunning pictures of our pride and joys, our perfect outfits and the fun we've had with friends. So let's continue to show courtesy and respect at the car shows and events we all love to attend!