With all of the great series of cars Mattel releases, photographing them creatively can be fun and rewarding. And not as challenging as you might think.
You can use a point-and-shoot camera and get nice results. When using a point-and-shoot camera, be sure to use your close-up setting. This is usually the flower icon located on the selector dial. Always use a small tripod to steady the camera when photographing your subject matter. Most digital cameras today have at least 10 megapixels, but a camera with less will work great. Some of my best shots were taken with a 2.1 megapixel camera.
For more creative options, a digital SLR is the ultimate choice. If you have a digital SLR, or your camera has a raw file setting, always use that file type. You can process the pictures later with software that came with it or in Photoshop. This file type lets you process your pictures as you would in a darkroom with total creative control. Set your aperture for the maximum depth of field (F22). An aperture of F22 will keep everything in focus. You can use a larger depth of field to get a softening effect. An aperture of F2.1 would leave some of the subject matter out of focus. The larger the aperture number (F22), the better the depth of field. The smaller the number (F2.1), the less depth of field you have.
Get a five-gallon paint bucket. (These can be purchased at the hardware store.) Cut a hole in the bucket so that you have enough space to photograph through. Buy some inexpensive clip lights such as you would find being used in a workshop. Place these on top of the bucket to light your subject matter. Try different positioning of the lights to get the exposures without glare. Use parchment type paper, and hold it over the subject to diffuse the light and keep it from being too harsh. If your camera is able to have filters attached, get a polarizer. You can rotate the filter to reduce glare.
You can find all kinds of paper to use for backdrops at craft stores. They sell a glossy plasticized product in different colors that makes a great effect. There are more heavy duty sheets available in different colors that work well, too.
- Experiment with objects such as maps, old auto ads or other objects that display interestingly with the cars or with items that relate directly to the cars. Using candy products with the Sweet Rides series would be an example of directly related objects.
- Photograph your cars outside. You can place them so that the surroundings compliment the car.
- Use old postcards and photograph the cars in front of them.
Let your imagination run wild!
- Get a book on photography and read it for more techniques.
- Use photo processing software. Photoshop Elements is a good choice. Of the free programs available, the best is Picasa. It’s easy to download and install.
Most of all, have fun with photographing your collection -- and good luck!
The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and not of Mattel, Inc. Mattel, Inc. has not verified the facts stated herein and makes no representation as to their accuracy.