Sharing the love for car photography (workshop)

In the years that lead up to my starting my own business, being involved in different training  workshops featured quite heavily in my life. I wrote various courses for Accor Academy and my time at the Land Rover / Jaguar regional office in Dubai had a 30% focus on training. ‘Dipped in Green’, in particular, developed into a memorable three days brand experience. To date, I still meet participants who refer to it with fond memories. At the end of last year, I also held a Canon photography workshop, and if all goes to plan, we’ll see more of them soon.

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So when Motoring Middle East called to see if I was interested in running a car specific photography workshop, I jumped at the idea. I’m always keen to share and help others take it to the next level… and when it comes to car photography, I’m sure I have a few… valuable tips to share.

Wouter Kingma for Automotivie photography workshop-1

My approach on structuring the two one-hour sessions follows my approach to learning… asking why and how. I’m just not a spoon-fed kind of guy and for me, it’s far less about the technical side of things and far more about the thought process involved. Shooting the final image is relatively straight-forward, but the path to that final frame not always quite so.

So my approach was this. I put up just eight images on the screen and we simply digested all the content.  Again, it’s not the ‘f5.6 at 1/250 at ISO800’, that’s not relevant. Rather, it’s demonstrating the insight to enable others to create images from scratch. Here are a couple of slides …

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What got me on the Bahrain F1 track at 5am in the morning in the first place? Why so early? What about access? Why this composition? Only ambient lighting or strobes too? What was my most important piece of gear that day?

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Same car, different shoot, out on location, on a remote desert road in Dubai. I’m all about shooting varied work, crafting and creating an ever-changing portfolio. I had a very similar set-up as the above image and was waiting for the sun to set. To make the most of the shoot, I didn’t linger around but picked up another camera, attached a 70-200 lens and just played a bit with the dash of light, moving up and down to get the best framing. During the workshop, we discussed in detail how to shoot such a frame.

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A bit more technical speak on this one. We spoke in length about the complexities of shooting from car to car. How to shoot, the pro’s and con’s of shooting on circuit, the safety issues, the importance of shutter speed, the communication between the cars… there’s so much going on whilst you’re literally hanging out of the lead car. I always love it but it’s not for all the faint hearted.

The classroom inspiration followed with a hands-on shoot at the new VW facilities in Sharjah… a chance to get our hands dirty and answer one-on-one questions. I nearly got a few attendees to lie flat on the floor, my favourite position when shooting cars. Nothing like burning the belly on hot tarmac! Judging from the enthusiastic response, the workshop was a great success so I hope all those who attended now go out and take lots of images. My thanks to Shahzad and Imthishan at Motoring Middle East for making it happen and to VW Dubai for giving us such great facilities to work from.

Wk.