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Firstly, let me state that I am not a professional photographer. Anything written here is my personal opinions and preferences and may not necessarily mesh with photographic text books.

This isn’t exactly a Forum post, more of an article, so you might want to go grab a coffee or a cold one and make yourself comfortable.

Photography has changed a lot in the last 20 years. We’ve gone from roll film to digital in a short time and the camera technology has got smaller and smaller. Now most people with cell-phones can be photo-journalists and the exchange of image information is intense. But is it photography?

I consider taking photos to fall into 2 categories. There are snapshots and there are photos. The general public has been taking snapshots for ever. Patiently waiting for a minimum of one hour (but only fairly recently), previously for days to see the result of their endeavours. Sometimes the results were disappointing and Grandma’s head got cut of again (groan).

Digital imagery has changed that. Snap, check (expletive muttered under breath), re-take the picture……sweet!

Digital camera quality has improved incredibly and the resolution on even cell-phone cameras is often better than available in high-end cameras a few years back. Having a good resolution camera is half the battle to good pictures, but there’s a lot more to it than that.

Everybody takes family snaps right? Most people would tend not to regard them as Portraits and if they want a family Portrait, they’ll go all gussied up to a Portrait Studio and let themselves be photographed against a neutral and uncluttered background.

You still gotta check what’s happening behind you though.

Psycho Killer, Qu'est Que C'est .

A specific photographer may have other ideas about backgrounds and feel your family needs some showbiz pazzaz!

………….or not. Settings are important when photographing your Soul too. I’ll get back to that later.

The explosion in cell-phone selfies has highlighted a major problem with the average photographer out there. People simply do not look at the big picture when taking these snaps, or often other types of picture.

Concentrate on the pose, not the equipment.

Nice pink robe dude. The cat appears to be making a sound akin to Bagpipes.

Ok, this is a Kia Soul Forum, so let’s now look at how things relate to taking pictures of our Souls. At least we don't need to use the Bathroom mirror. If you take a photo of your car to show to others either in the Owners Photo Gallery or as an entry in Soul Of The Month what are you trying to achieve?

The answer has to be that you’re showing off your pride and joy right? So why not do that as well as can possibly be done? Do you want to take a Snap or do you want it to be a Portrait? Look through the pages of the Owners Photo Gallery and see how many pictures you see that are snaps of cars sitting in parking lots or on driveways with all sorts of visual clutter and street furniture cluttering up the overall picture. I can go to the local big-box store parking lot or Supermarket to see that.

Sometimes people post images that aren’t even oriented correctly. Why? It ain’t hard to rotate pictures so that people don’t have to crank their necks to view it correctly. And what’s up with those thumbnails? Why not post pictures as large as the Forum system will allow? If people right-click and choose “View Image” they can see it at the largest size the Forum will display. Better to show off your car’s details. I don't even know how to post a thumbnail.

If you don’t show off the car to its best advantage, you do your vehicle a serious disservice. And yourself too for that matter. Especially if the vehicle has modifications, that means all your hard-earned cash, plus blood, sweat and tears you’ve invested are not being given their due showcase. Celebrate your car and other’s will celebrate it back.

You’ve invested time in your car even if it’s bone-stock, but you just gave it a great wax-job. Isn’t it worth investing some time to take a Portrait of the car rather than a hurried snapshot? Investing time can be very satisfying when the end result is a cool picture of your baby.

While you are driving around, look for cool backgrounds. Log them in your brain or write them down. What is a cool background? It can be just about anything really depending on what overall “look” you want in the picture. Once you have a few locations planned, dedicate time to go round to these places and take calm, unhurried photos of the car at different angles. Straight on, side views are great for sales brochures, but not for portraits. Angle the car and you’ll naturally get perspective in the picture which will better define its shape and features.

I’m going to use a picture from Rick Busby because I know he’s cool with me critiquing it for educational purposes. Rick used this picture when he won the June 2013 Soul Of The Month, so people obviously felt it showcased the car adequately.

The scenery is nice……..Rick has some nice areas on his property………but the positioning of the car against the background has some issues. A large tree kind of “grows” out of the car and the trunk draws the eye away from the car. What are those orange things near the front bumper? They look like giant carrots to me, so my mind is being distracted by their presence. Overall, the picture is slightly out of focus, possibly due to camera shake.

Now in this picture, which I suspect Rick took from his Lawn-chair, the focus is spot-on.
The car looks meaner somehow because of the lower point of view and in this case the beautiful trees form a frame which follows the contours of the car’s shape. The car is “framed” by them. This picture was a little dark, due to cloudy conditions, but I played around with it using this online editing site:

Photo Editor | iPiccy: Free Online Photo Editing for You

I highly recommend this to anyone. Put it in your favourites. Play with it and see what you can do to your photos.

Using Photoshop, I added the sky graduation and edited out a few visually distracting grass blades to achieve the clean look. So watch your backgrounds. Look at the BIG picture before you press the shutter.

My Mother was artistic and painted. Her genes have made me naturally artistic and I subconsciously frame pictures as I take them. I can’t help it. The “Art” really comes out when I’m photo-editing though. I don’t believe anyone has seen a picture of mine here that hasn’t been tweaked in some way. Usually it’s something really subtle, but not always.

Here’s a Snap-shot.

Here’s a Portrait.

Here’s the same Portrait, but highly stylized. The original picture was copied. One copy was textured and changed using Ipiccy, then the car was copied and pasted from the original so that it was smooth against the background. Lot of work around the edges. This is advanced stuff, but something you can learn real quick.

I'll be back with a Part 2 soon.
Spot on with some good tips here, can't tell you how many times I tell people to pay attention to what is around and especially behind their subjects they're photographing.
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