One of the most popular questions we get around here is, "How do I get my car in the magazine?" There are a couple of different answers, but both of them require sending us usable images. The easiest way is to meet us at an event and have us look at your car. Or you can send us pictures and information. What you don't want to do is send us an email with no pictures or information, and just ask us if we're interested. If we can't see the car, we're not interested. Sending us an image that's too small for print, out of focus, or of the car in the middle of a show field are all ways to not get your picture printed in the magazine. But if you take the time to "make your car the star," the results you see will be well worth the effort you put into it.
Here is a car that looks like...
Here is a car that looks like a cool driver, but the picture kept it from being printed. The image has the front of the car cut off, and it's only 67 Kilobytes in size. To give you a reference, this is as large as we can print an image of that size.
It's Not a Lawnmower
Whatever you do, please don't take the picture of your car while it's parked in the grass. Lawnmowers go in the grass, not Challengers. How often does a car really drive in the grass, unless the moment is preceded by, "hey y'all, watch this," in which case we might want to see pictures. Anyway, try to position your car at an angle where if you're facing the front of the car, the front and side of the car is visible. You can either take a high-angle shot or a low-angle shot, the choice is yours. If taking a low-angle shot, just be sure that all four tires are visible, or your car will look like a three wheeler.
Pavement and concrete make the best surfaces for automotive photography, but gravel roads can also work. If using a parking lot or dead-end road, just make sure the painted lines don't show up in the car. Better yet, make sure there are no lines on the pavement. Another thing to watch out for is things growing out of the top of your car. We get a lot of pictures of readers' cars that have telephone poles, road signs, or trees that look like they are growing out of the top of the car. Make sure your background is clean, and your pictures will be something you can really be proud of.
The picture of this Li'l Red...
The picture of this Li'l Red is a nice shot. The red truck stands out while parked in front of a green background, and the image came to us one Megabyte in size. There's nothing "growing" out the top, and it's in focus.
Here's a picture with a couple...
Here's a picture with a couple of small problems. The shade from the tree covers half of the car. Shadows on cars make it really hard to see how nice the car is. Also, notice the telephone pole "growing" out of the roof.
The low-angle shot usually...
The low-angle shot usually yields nice results and makes the car look aggressive. Overall, this is a good shot, but if the photographer had moved about two feet to their left, all four tires would have been visible. Also, the trees in the background that look like they're growing through the roof of the car are a distraction.
Where's The Rest Of It?
If you're going to take the time to take pictures and send them in to us, please make sure the entire car is in the picture. It's amazing how many people will send us images of only half a car. A lot of times, the front or the rear of the car is completely missing from the picture. You've spent an untold amount of time and money on your car, so why not take the time to take the best picture possible. Also, since you're sending us pictures, why not include a picture of the inside of the car, and the engine compartment as well.
Cropped, in the middle of...
Cropped, in the middle of a show field, and the hood and trunk are open...
What and How to Send it
Finally, when you have just the right images, it's time to send them in. If you're sending them through email, one thing to keep in mind is that a rule of thumb requires each image to be roughly one Megabyte in size. If you send us an image that is 67 Kilobytes, we will not be able to print it, as it will be too small. If you send us multiple images that make your email larger than five Megabytes, we might not even get it because it's too large. Remember, by sending three images (front 3/4, interior, and engine shot) that are one Megabyte in size, not only will they be large enough to print, but they won't get lost in email oblivion. If you send them via snail mail, please don't send us images that you printed on regular copy paper. The quality of regular copy paper is not good enough for us to scan and then print in the magazine. I'm not saying that you can't print them off on your home computer, but you need to use photo quality paper. If there is no information with the pictures, how can we do anything with them?
Launch shots and burnouts...
Launch shots and burnouts make cool pictures.
Nice Pics, Now What?
Another problem we frequently run into is that we might get decent pictures, but the car owner doesn't tell us anything about the car. If we get good pictures, but all the owner says is "I thought I would send you pics of my 440-powered Challenger," there isn't much we can do with the pictures. Remember, your car is your pride and joy. Tell us everything you can about your car, why you bought it, how you fixed it up, or anything else that pertains to the car-we want to know about it.
Now, Get to It
Anyone can get their car in the magazine, and now that you have some basic guidelines of what we're looking for, get your car out of the garage and take some good pictures of it and send them in. We really want to see them! mm
Car Shoot Checklist:
- Park your car on concrete, gravel or pavement
- Park in well lit areas (no shadows on car)
- Position yourself so that nothing is "growing" out of the car
- Eliminate distracting background objects
- You should be able to see all four tires if it's a low angle shot
- Set your camera to high resolution
- Make sure your car is in focus!
- Take your stuff off the dash
- Leave some "breathing room" around the car
- Morning and evening shots will minimize harsh shadows
- Take interior and engine shots
- Take out the "date stamp" feature on your camera
Here's a nice shot. The angle...
Here's a nice shot. The angle is low, the background contrasts the car, it's positioned nicely, and the No Parking sign adds a cool touch.
Engine bays can be tough to...
Engine bays can be tough to shoot, but shooting them in a shady area eliminates harsh shadow lines, and using a tripod and a slow shutter speed really makes for a nice picture.
This picture of an E- and...
This picture of an E- and B-Body looks good. Too bad the pictures were not accompanied with any text-I mean nothing. How can we talk about how great the cars are if we don't know?