Photography Studio and Lighting Forum

Hosted by fabulous Florida-based professional fashion photographer, Asylum Steve, this forum is for discussing studio photography and anything related to lighting.
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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Smile Need help with automotive studio setup

    Hello all, my first post here. I want to setup a small studio to photograph cars for a company that sell them. The studio would be based in their showroom, which is a converted barn with white walls, white floor but no ceiling, just a barn roof.

    They already have a Nikon D40. I want to know what other kit they will need to produce images like the ones I have posted below.

    The questions floating around my head that need answering are:

    What lighting do I need?
    What other bits of kit will I need?
    Do I need a special paint on the walls and floor?

    I am on a tight budget, the mission is to do this under 500.

    I appreciate your tips and guidance.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Need help with automotive studio setup-img_7127.jpg   Need help with automotive studio setup-img_7951.jpg   Need help with automotive studio setup-img_8727.jpg  

  2. #2
    don't tase me, bro! Asylum Steve's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Middle Florida

    Re: Need help with automotive studio setup

    Quote Originally Posted by orangeco
    want to setup a small studio to photograph cars for a company that sell them. The studio would be based in their showroom, which is a converted barn with white walls, white floor but no ceiling, just a barn roof...I appreciate your tips and guidance.
    Welcome to the site, orangeco. To be honest, I'm not sure how much good or practical advice you'll be able to get from this forum, as shooting new cars under studio conditions is a highly specialized field with an equally specific list of (usually expensive!) lighting and grip gear.

    Without any experience doing this, just off the top of my head I'd suggest you have large black panels available as you are not always going to want the white walls reflected in your vehicle's finish.

    Other than that, most cars shots are lit with a very large overhead softbox or light panel.
    "Riding along on a carousel...tryin' to catch up to you..."

    Studio & Lighting - Photography As Art Forum Moderator

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  3. #3
    Panarus biarmicus Moderator (Sports) SmartWombat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004

    Re: Need help with automotive studio setup

    I would suggest, first, can you post a picture of the studio space ?

    By the sound of your description, the barn might be a feature of their business they may want to show in the images.
    Or do they want studio looking shots like those you posted, not showing the reflected barn roof?

    Scroll down to the Sports Forum and post your sports pictures !

  4. #4
    drg is offline
    la recherche de trolls drg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Route 66

    Re: Need help with automotive studio setup

    This is not as specialized as it was a few years ago. In fact in the United States (I'm guessing the orangeco isn't in the US with the reference to 's) if you want to shoot auto's in a controlled environment there are a bunch of places to do it now! Ranging from certain chains of car dealers who sell used and lease returns that have built studios all over the nation, to a lot of customizers who put in portable systems to document their work they have been come pretty standardized.

    The best solution for seeing what is available in your area I would imagine is to find an autobody restoration and repair shop. My autobody guy and I purchase lamps from the same G.E. representative!

    One thing that jumped out at me in your shots is that there's a 'corner' in the picture. Most setups have a curved transition if permanent. You can achieve the same thing with seamless paper backdrops on a smaller scale. Otherwise you need a drywaller to curve a permanent transition from the vertical to horizontal portion of the studio. I don't know what the compounds are called in Europe but we use the term plastex or base mud. It's very elastic compared to some compounds and has a rubberized consistency. Just be sure it takes paint well.

    Softboxes or other indirect lighting is a necessity. The G.E. lamps I mentioned earlier are flicker free fluorescents that fit into Kino-Flo fixtures.

    Xenon tubes that fit in Matthews instruments and then reflected and passed through diffusion materials provide some of the most accurate light unless you want to deal with HMI units. Then get a technician.

    The Flourescents are about the most cost effective, just be sure your camera(s) produce a good color image, else calibrate.

    One trick to this is like so much of controlled lighting is to shoot at night! Then there's never a risk of an open door or window spoiling the shot. Unless of course streetlights or car lights intrude!

    See if you can find an out of work cinema or television DP or Gaffer who this kind of setup is second nature. The amount you spend will depend upon the amount of usage. Lamps burn out and change color as they age and some type get very costly! Diffusion, even light, and lack of cast shadows is the key goal.

    Best wishes and welcome to Photography Review.
    CDPrice 'drg'
    Biography and Contributor's Page

    Please do not edit and repost any of my photographs.

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2020

    Re: Need help with automotive studio setup

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  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2020

    Re: Need help with automotive studio setup

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  7. #7
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2020

    Re: Need help with automotive studio setup

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  8. #8
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2020

    Re: Need help with automotive studio setup

    I'm trying to set up a studio for car photography. I have access to a garage, but it need asbestos in drinking water for some work and construction is happening soon on my house. Does anyone know anything about where I can get help with setting up my studio?

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