Example

Yesterday, I had grand plans to take the Audi R8 from TopSpeed Motorsports out in the golden hours of the sunrise to take some warm setting pictures. Then…the rain moved in and ruined those plans. Instead I burned up a spot that I had been waiting to shoot my own car at later. It is a gloomy looking parking deck with a very unique rear wall. In retrospect, this location was probably much better suited for the R8 anyway as it pops off the background a lot better than my matte silver Subaru would have.

Yesterday when I got back, Jenn was not feeling all that well and Daniel had to go down for a nap. This gave me a couple of hours to really work on these two photos. This was the first time that I really sat down and worried about every single pixel in the frame. Normally I get impatient with the editing process and leave it at just good enough or just stop when I run out of talent in frustration. I know this about myself so I generally try to compose during the shot in a way that requires the least amount of final editing.

I used these particular shots as an exercise in trying to get better at producing a better final result regardless of how long it took. There are still things that I look at in these images that need some work but this was a lot more time and effort than I normally put in and it shows in the results. Luckily, I have some photographer friends of mine that are far more talented than I am that put up with my constant texting of questions. That conversation really helped get these to where they are now and is a fun part of the creative process that gets to the final image.

The Before and After Shots of the R8

before-after

As you can see by these comparison shots (you can click on the image for a hi-res), a lot of work went into removing the poles, the fence, parking lines and other distractions from the background/setting of the location. As much as I like red cars, they can be a bitch to shoot because the reflections come off as magenta, so a lot of color correction in spots had to be done to return things to red. There was also some work on cleaning up the reflections on the car itself to make things look cleaner and to remove the reflections of elements I removed in the scene.

The technique I used in Photoshop is not really the way to do this. I did all of the editing within the image itself instead of using layers like you really should. Why? Because I suck at layers and that is something I really need to work harder on learning or find some kind of class to take. I have a feeling it would drastically cut down on editing time and get me to a better final result faster.

Overall, I am pretty happy with the final results. Those that know photography can probably see the areas that need more work or a better way to compose the image…but when I look at shots I took this time last year…I can see some progression in my own work which is pretty cool to see. I really just need to keep on doing mental exercises like this to try to keep pushing myself even if I feel like I really don’t know what I am doing.

The Final Shots

Here are the final shots of the car that I ended up using in the end. One is a 3/4 shot and the other is the profile as you can see in the comparison shots above.

Audi R8 6 speed red

Audi R8 6 speed red

The Audi R8

The Audi R8 really is a special car…especially in a 6 speed configuration. For the life of me, I can not figure out why someone would buy a Lamborghini Gallardo over an R8. The interior is nicer, it rides better, it is just as fast and it looks better in my opinion. I guess the only real thing it doesn’t have is that “hey look I am in a Lambo” attention grabber. Other than that, you basically get the same package in a much more refined final product.

6-speed

There is just something about hearing the shifter run through the metal great that is addicting. Ironically, I will probably be showing my son pictures of the way we used to shift cars as most brands are abandoning manual gear boxes completely in favor of new dual clutch designs. We’ll be telling our kids “remember when there used to be 3 pedals?”.

If there was one car I could have right now that is still in the realm of “reasonable”…this would be it. There will always be the pipe dream of a McLaren, Ferrari 599 GTO (w/twin turbos!) or Porsche Carrera GT though…

Example

Yesterday afternoon, my wife and I were walking through Target when we came across something really cool…a Dodge Viper electric car. We are both car people, so we were completely floored. Right away we starting thinking about how cool it would be for D to have one while secretly thinking that we both really just wanted it ourselves. This was one of those moments that I believe we all go through as parents…an irrational buy just because we think it is cool. Continue reading Tearing Up The House – Finding Unique Ways To Capture My Son

My life is a series of obsessions strung together in time. Some call that intense…others call it OCD…I call it my life. It is who I am and there isn’t much changing that at this point. Part of that obsession rolls into imagery and capturing life through the lens of a camera. While I am not very good at it right now, I can see the power of pictures through friends that are amazing photographers and that is inspiration to get better. Now that I have about one more line to convince you to read the rest of this article that had a title about a blogging weapon…what is it exactly and does my experience relate to something you can apply to your blogging?

Imagery In Your Blog Posts Set The Mood Of Your Articles

If you are not taking a serious look at how you use images, icons and illustrations in your blogging, you are missing out on a key connection point with your readers. While you may feel that your words can part seas and move mountains, the fact remains that not all of your readers are stimulated the same way you are. By using thought provoking images in your blog posts, you are able to connect on a deeper level with readers that are more visually stimulated. These same images also compliment the content for those readers that prefer to be moved by words.

Images Do Not Stop With Blog Posts

However, the use of imagery on your blog is not limited to complimentary images in blog articles. Through the use of illustrations and icons in your design, you can set the mood of your entire blog and make it a more powerful converting weapon. By using “eye catching” images and icons, you are directing your readers to where you want their attention. This can be newsletter sign-ups, rss sign-ups or advertisements for your paid eBooks. Whatever your most important assets are in your blogging, you can attract attention to those items on the page by using images and icons.

But be careful…

I have seen bloggers use this theory to an extreme creating a cluttered look that generates the opposite desired effect. Too many images and icons can cause a distracting mess that not only takes away from your content, but it also returns a lower conversion rate due to the mind blowing confusion. Like with all things in blogging and design, moderation and planning is generally the best rule.

So How Do I Get Kick Ass Images On My Blog?

Luckily, I have already published a couple of articles for you to check out on using images in blog posts.

And…of course…you can just take your own!

Here are a couple out I have taken recently…

We are back from the Bahamas and successfully made it through our first year of being married! They always say…the first year is the hardest…so from here on it should be a walk in the park right? Well, at least I kept Jenn convinced that it is a good idea to stay married to me for another year, so that is a good thing. We took our long weekend and set out on a cruise to the Bahamas and it was a much needed rest out in the sun. The cruise left on Friday, so we left Thursday night and arrived in Cape Canaveral, FL around 3am…just in time for me to wake up early and head to the government office to pick up a copy of my Florida birth certificate that I didn’t have…

Continue reading Back From The Bahamas – 1st Wedding Anniversary