Thom Bateman: Using Strobes in Automotive Photography for Impact

Thom Bateman: Using Strobes in Automotive Photography for Impact

TVRThom Bateman

I’m Thom and I’m an automotive photographer from the UK. I’ve always been obsessed with cars and have been shooting them for fun most of my life. In 2015 I decided to push myself to be able to do it at a professional level - since then I’ve been lucky enough to shoot in the UK and abroad for some prestigious manufacturers and have been able to capture images in some amazing places. I’m learning every day still but I’d like to think that my experience can help others improve their work, that’s why I made a video to showcase how I shoot cars with a Godox strobe to create stunning, dynamic results even in broad daylight. 

Thom Bateman

Car Photography

Shooting cars is lots of fun but it’s a very competitive and crowded industry. With social media gaining in popularity all the time there’s a lot of people out there who want to know how to photograph cars and the techniques involved. From my point of view I’ve always wanted to learn and develop my techniques in order to get the best results, but also to identify my own style, and I’ve become best known for my work with strobes and flash. It’s the technique I enjoy the most but also allows me to get really slick, commercial images - the style I love to produce. 

The Importance of Lighting

For me lighting is the single most important element in getting a shot to look good. With just a single strobe and the right technique it’s possible to create some absolutely stunning images that will elevate your pictures to the next level. I think many people are put off by strobes, thinking they are complicated and difficult to use but that’s not the case. Once you have a grasp of the basics of speed light or flash it’s extremely easy to start applying that to automotive photography with bigger and more powerful strobes. And the great news is you don’t even need to spend a fortune on kit with how good many of the portable flashes and strobes are these days for the money. When a flash hits the paintwork of a car it can flatter the vehicle and also bring out detail and colour in the paint that you’ll just never be able to achieve with natural light alone. Combining ambient light with strobe on location is one of the most effective techniques you will ever learn.
MCLaren 720 Azuri
 

Editing Walkthrough

I created this walkthrough video partly to break down some of the myths about shooting with a strobe, but also to show how the post-production process works when using a single flash and multiple exposures with the vehicle. Most people starting out will only want to invest in a single light so this method can be a fantastic way to bridge the gap until you’re ready to move on to multiple lights per shoot

MCLaren 720 Azuri

 

In the video I take you through: 

- Considerations when positioning the vehicle 

- Position of light to get the best results 

- My settings used during the shoot 

- The additional equipment I use  

- Selecting images for the final exposure 

- Compositing images together in Photoshop using layer masks 

- Retouching / cleaning

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Advice

If you can get these things right then you’ll be well on your way to taking your photography to the next level. It doesn’t have to be a 1200 Watt Strobe like the AD1200 Pro, a 300 or 400 watt would be suitable to start out and you can start creating
 images like this for yourself. A lot of people ask me how to start in the industry - I can only speak from what I’ve done and that is to practice hard at first. I used to shoot my own car at evenings and weekends to find out what angles work, how light bounces off the car and what I need to do to create the look I want. Then I’d shoot friends cars and start to offer local shoots once I had built a bit of a portfolio. Once I’d done a couple of shoots for local car businesses this was a gateway to approaching bigger companies and brands and I’m lucky that I get approached by companies now. The main advice I’d give is not to give up and work hard at your technique for both shooting and editing. The results will come if you put the work in!

 
  
TVR

Get 10% off your order using Promo Code THOMBATEMAN at checkout! 

 See more of Thom’s work: 

www.thombateman.com

Instagram: @thombatemanphoto 

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