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  1. #1
    Dellinger's Avatar
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    First off, I was prompted to create this thread by another member, Nth Degree, who wrote a fantastic post regarding, What is really in a reflection shot?


    `


    There are a lot of peripheral skills that I did not anticipate when beginning my detailing business. `The greatest among those unanticipated skills- Photography.`


    `


    This is not a `How-to` guide and if the mods deem necessary, please move it to another subforum. `I am creating this thread, in the hopes, that new, newer, newish, aspiring detailers can post questions or thoughts... maybe even some actual photos and receive some constructive feedback on their photography technique in order to display their work with integrity and honesty going forward. `Maybe this is best suited to an actual photography based site but I will role the dice here.


    `


    I want to give credit where credit is due and that is to Mr. Zach McGovern for creating some very basic, yet extremely helpful threads on photography basics...


    Photography Basics Part 1


    Photography Basics Part 2


    Photography Basics Part 3


    `


    Mr. McGovern`s writings gave me the confidence to step outside `autoshoot` and push forward with manual settings.


    `


    It is without argument that a good 50/50 with proper lighting serves the purpose of displaying the true nature of the quality of work performed. `Yet, it is clearly evident to this amateur the shot can be massaged with camera settings, depth of field, angles (both of lighting and camera), and post processing.


    `


    My photography equipment is certainly not top-shelf... a Canon PowerShot SX 260 HS and I don`t have a tripod. `But I am unable to utilize this camera to its maximum potential so, I clearly don`t need a `better` camera, yet. ` I also do not utilize PhotoShop or a post-processing software. `I do crop some photos in Microsoft Live Photo Gallery.


    `


    With the preface out of the way, let me pose some loose etiquette I follow when setting up before shots, after shots, and work shots (50/50s)... and these are up for rebuttal, confirmation, or the addition to:


    `


    - Before/ Afters: Taken in sun, all 4 sides, all 4 angles... ideally at noon with sun over head (no always possible)


    - 50/50s: Taken with halogen/LEDs, with lighting 45 degrees toward focal point, camera setup inverse side, positioned 45 degrees toward focal point. `A second photo with lighting perpendicular to focal point.


    - Special Shots: these emphasize a certain area, usually zoomed in such as side mirror housing, door handle, etc... camera should be positioned on tripod and left unaltered for the before and after.


    `


    `


    Now, I will post some of my own pictures for critique. `I am looking for feedback on the integrity of my photos... not necessarily the photo in general (ie- settings, depth of field, etc... but that feedback is certainly welcome too, lol.)


    `





    `


    `





    `





    `





    `





    `


    Am I on the right track here, considering `integrity` of the pictures? `If not, how can I improve?


    `


    All the best,


    -Gabe

  2. #2
    Rasky's Auto Detailing RaskyR1's Avatar
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    Good Thread!


    `


    `


    First I`ll start by saying glamor shots are great for giving to the clients for thier own use, but when it comes to online forums I don`t really care for the overdone photo`s unless they are accompanied by some solid 50/50 shots and maybe some unmanipulated shots as well. What I DO NOT like is when pictures are so over the top that it`s clear the vehicle looks nothing like the image portrayed, ESPECIALLY when it`s used to market ones abilities or a product they sell!!! Some have gotten very good at knowing just what light to shoot in to give the desired look they are after...(they know who they are)


    `


    `


    While I do have some decent camera gear and a basic understanding of how to use it, I`m nowhere near the level of some of the guys. I do use Lightroom to adjust a correct exposure, WB, fill light, and to export out & re-size into .jpg format.


    `


    For me I don`t always have the ability to take sun pics but I will at least use a few different lights when I can`t pull into the sun. Note that halogens have shown to be very good at hiding micro marring (DA haze), so I try to always show at least an LED or Brinkmann pic.


    `


    Examples of pics I use:


    `


    50/50 pics





    `





    `


    direct light after pics





    `





    `





    `





    `


    Before after same/similar angle





    `





    `





    `




  3. #3

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    Dellinger, I was thinking about how you stated that for the special shots that the tripod needs to stay


    in one place, ideally.` My mind asked, "Is there a` better way".` I immediately thought about how


    you could place an "x" in electrical tape the position of the tripod.` You then could have a fifth little


    arm of the x pointing the angle of the camera.` This should allow you to set up multiple before and


    after shots, without the hastle of leaving a tripod untouched the entire time.` What happens if you


    bump it, or need to take other shots?


    `


    Rasky, that was a great description of how you view reflections.` I have been hesitant to use


    Lightroom (although its my favorite), just because I view the post processing as the more sketchy


    side of photography (as it pertains to portraying skills).` Thanks!


    `


    ETA: Rasky, your shot convinces me that Meguiars should be printing some of their banners


    in reverse also.` They could give the reverse printed ones to detailers, as the majority of the


    banners caught in pictures will be in reflections.` That would`ve made a very clean picture

  4. #4
    Dellinger's Avatar
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    Chad,


    `


    Thanks for the tips and the examples... great photos!`


    `


    I was not aware that halogens hide D/A haze... that`s interesting. `I have a really small LED... `a better LED stand will have to come later since I`ve got some bigger fish to fry.



    `
    <blockquote class="ipsBlockquote">


    <span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:`helvetica neue`, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">First I`ll start by saying glamor shots are great for giving to the clients for thier own use, but when it comes to online forums I don`t really care for the overdone photo`s unless they are accompanied by some solid 50/50 shots and maybe some unmanipulated shots as well. What I DO NOT like is when pictures are so over the top that it`s clear the vehicle looks nothing like the image portrayed,`


    `


    `
    </blockquote>


    `


    Forgive me, but you might have to spoon feed me here, if you are willing... what do you mean by `overdone`? `Is that the number of pictures in a C-n-B? What do you mean exactly?


    `


    When a picture is so `over the top`...you mean manipulating the shot on the camera and in a post-picture software?


    `


    Just clarifying because as I have been fiddling around with the manual settings on my phone... I have found I can make thoroughly depleted trim on my wife`s 170K mile Accord look black as night with the right F-stop, ISO, and some other setting I don`t know the name of. `Is this an example of what you would call over the top?


    `


    Thanks!


    `


    `


    `Will, I was on the same page as you... lol. Good call on the below!
    <blockquote class="ipsBlockquote">
    <p style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:`helvetica neue`, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">Dellinger, I was thinking about how you stated that for the special shots that the tripod needs to stay
    <p style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:`helvetica neue`, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">in one place, ideally.` My mind asked, "Is there a` better way".` I immediately thought about how
    <p style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:`helvetica neue`, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">you could place an "x" in electrical tape the position of the tripod.` You then could have a fifth little
    <p style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:`helvetica neue`, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">arm of the x pointing the angle of the camera.` This should allow you to set up multiple before and
    <p style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:`helvetica neue`, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">after shots, without the hastle of leaving a tripod untouched the entire time.` What happens if you
    <p style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:`helvetica neue`, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">bump it, or need to take other shots?


    `
    </blockquote>

  5. #5
    Rasky's Auto Detailing RaskyR1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dellinger



    Cha


    `


    `


    Forgive me, but you might have to spoon feed me here, if you are willing... what do you mean by `overdone`? `Is that the number of pictures in a C-n-B? What do you mean exactly?


    `


    `


    `


    When a picture is so `over the top`...you mean manipulating the shot on the camera and in a post-picture software?


    `

    `


    <span style="color:#0000cd;">When I say "overdone" I`m referring to the editing, whether it be post process, settings on the camera, or manipulation of lighting to create an effect that is blatantly not realistic to how the car actually looked. Most can tell when a picture looks unnatural, especially those who`ve been polishing cars for years. Same applies for my "So over the top" comment.


    `


    <span style="color:#0000cd;">I`ve had images of my own that just happened to come out looking unnatural by chance (not how it looked in person) simply because of how the light happened to be hitting the car in combination with my camera settings. A good photographer knows exactly how to set up camera and lighting to get the desired look they want, but some like to abuse this knowledge IMO.


    `


    <span style="color:#0000cd;">I did pick up a book to understand more about lighting, but I`m only about a chapter in right now as I never seem to have the free time to read it.


    `

    <span>Light Science and Magic: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting

  6. #6
    Forza Auto Salon David Fermani's Avatar
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    Great topic! As a super-dooper noob photographer I still strive to take quality shots when possible. Because many jobs are at clients homes it`s difficult to really take the time to set up and capture nice shots.`


    `


    I personally don`t particularly care for people who alter their photos to the point that it looks out of natural context. There are a few high profile detailers that known for over-stimulating their pictures to the point that it conceals the true outcome. Mostly used to embellish a product or their abilities.`


    `


    50/50`s are certainly nice, but nothing obviously compares to seeing it with your own 2 eyes. `
    Metro Detroit`s leader in cleaning, preserving & perfecting fine automobiles!

  7. #7
    Dellinger's Avatar
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    Chad,


    `


    Thank you again for explaining things a little more, I appreciate it! `Personally, I can`t tell the difference when things are `overdone`... but that`s pretty obvious since I`m new. `I guess, if I experience some success with my business... I`ll start picking up on it.

  8. #8
    Nth Degree's Avatar
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    Great post. `I think what all these threads lead to is that people want honesty. `The sun is constantly moving so it is difficult to capture photos at the same time of day with the same conditions. `Not every detail needs to have perfect shots. `Sometimes it just isn`t feasible. `Sometimes, on the forums, a detailer`s reputation will buy them some leeway. `If David or Chad post photos I am more likely to believe the final results are impressive than if Joe Blow posts photos of his first detail. `Not that I think Joe Blow didn`t do a decent job, just that he doesn`t know any better, either in the detailing or the photography. `


    `


    I have used a laptop to look through my before photos of a car to set up the after shots with the same light and camera angles. `It also help remind me what shots I took before so I don`t forget the after shot of the same part of the car. `I often get frustrated when I get home and go through my photos and realize I forgot an after shot of a critical before shot.


    `


    These photos are not mine. `I don`t recall who posted them but they were specifically posted to demonstrate how photo editing can make a car/detail look far better than the original photo.


    `





    `




  9. #9
    Dellinger's Avatar
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    <blockquote class="ipsBlockquote">Great post. `I think what all these threads lead to is that people want honesty. `The sun is constantly moving so it is difficult to capture photos at the same time of day with the same conditions. `Not every detail needs to have perfect shots. `Sometimes it just isn`t feasible. `Sometimes, on the forums, a detailer`s reputation will buy them some leeway. `If David or Chad post photos I am more likely to believe the final results are impressive than if Joe Blow posts photos of his first detail. `Not that I think Joe Blow didn`t do a decent job, just that he doesn`t know any better, either in the detailing or the photography


    `
    </blockquote>


    `


    `


    Nth degree-


    `


    Thanks for taking the time to add your thoughts in this thread. `I see the obvious with the photos you posted... makes sense. `And I know that sun shots are not always possible... I live in WA state `and we usually don`t see the sun until June and it goes away again in Oct. `(Although we have had some nice weather this winter.) `I also know that time is usually of the essence and setting up good photos usually isn`t in the cards for me... not that I could set them up.


    `


    And I am Joe Blow, lol, but I`m ok with that! `This Joe Blow just wants to make sure that I`m doing my best to display my work in an honest fashion.


    `


    Did you look at the photos I posted above? `Do they look `gamey`? `Shoot straight with me...`


    `


    Thanks!


    -Gabe

  10. #10

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    Very good point. Many times a sun shot or proper lighting

    is just not feasable. I don`t like to waste time myself, and snapping pictures

    borders on that. If it`s cloudy outside, you get an overcast shot.


    There is a slight danger in assuming that Joe blow is intentionally

    hiding or manipulating images. Time, lack of knowledge, and lack

    of caring may all be a factor.


    Nth, that second shot almost looks HDR. Do some people use that

    to enhance their shots?




    Reading your initial post again, when determining the integrity of your photos,

    it sounds as if you are asking, "do these look real or manipulated". I think that

    the ones you posted look great. Even if you pay true pictures all of the time,

    the only people to question the integrity of the pictures is other detailers.


    This might sound rude, but does it matter what the competition views of your

    of does it nate what the customer thinks. As the customers eye is much more

    forgiving, there are separate standards (usually). I have never heard a customer

    critique my photos because it was cloudy.


    That being said, it does always help to build a reputation in the industry. What are

    some ways that we can appeal to customers more effectively? I ask this because

    sometimes they will not notice that two shots are before and after shots.

    I have come to the conclusion that spelling it out for them is the best method.


    An animated gif is a great tool. People enjoy movement, and it

    catches our eye. I sometimes use a two picture Gif. The first pic says

    "Turn This... ", second pic says" Into This". With claims like this, I

    would make sure that these pics have high integrity.


    I also enjoy photos that are edited into one photo side by side.

    A poster did a long strip of side by side, and I thought this was

    phenomenal presentation. He had over twenty photos arranged into

    what appeared to be a single strip. If I can just find an easy and quick way to

    edit in this fashion.

  11. #11
    Dellinger's Avatar
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    <blockquote class="ipsBlockquote"><span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:`helvetica neue`, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">Reading your initial post again, when determining the integrity of your photos,`
    <span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:`helvetica neue`, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">it sounds as if you are asking, "do these look real or manipulated". I think that`
    <span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:`helvetica neue`, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">the ones you posted look great. Even if you pay true pictures all of the time,`
    <span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:`helvetica neue`, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">the only people to question the integrity of the pictures is other detailers.`

    <span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:`helvetica neue`, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">This might sound rude, but does it matter what the competition views of your`
    <span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:`helvetica neue`, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">of does it nate what the customer thinks. As the customers eye is much more`
    <span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:`helvetica neue`, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">forgiving, there are separate standards (usually). I have never heard a customer`
    <span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:`helvetica neue`, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">critique my photos because it was cloudy.`

    <span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:`helvetica neue`, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">That being said, it does always help to build a reputation in the industry. What are`
    <span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:`helvetica neue`, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">some ways that we can appeal to customers more effectively? I ask this because`
    <span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:`helvetica neue`, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">sometimes they will not notice that two shots are before and after shots.`
    <span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:`helvetica neue`, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">I have come to the conclusion that spelling it out for them is the best method.`


    `
    </blockquote>


    `


    Will, I did not take offense to you comments... and I think, as this thread moves along, it is refining my `question`. `I wasn`t really able to capture the essence of in the original post but you just did it for me. `Thanks!


    `


    Given, there`are two audiences... the customer(s) & the professional. `And obviously, you will choose certain pictures based on that audience. `


    `


    I perceive the majority of my customers will not necessarily care about the `micro` pictures (ie- work shots showing defect removed or 50/50s) nor will they be cognizant of certain lighting and it`s effects on the photos. ` They will care about the `macro` pictures (before & after). ` Now, if I happened to land some higher value cars... sure, I perceive that customer to be more in-tune with proper detailing. `But I`m just speculating, at best.


    `


    When I started this post, I was seeking `how to display my images to the professional detailer`s here`. `Sure, reputation is a big thing... and I`m not here to prove my reputation because, quite frankly, I don`t have one.


    `


    Bottom line- I want to take`honest photos because I want to learn from them... if I am displaying photos that aren`t quite believable... then I`m hurting myself. I am hurting myself because I try to post C-n-B`s as a learning tool.


    `


    So these reasons compel me to strive for `honest` photos:


    `


    If my photos are `overdone` then-


    A.) The viewer will write off my work and NOT COMMENT on it. `


    B.) If the audience here doesn`t COMMENT, then I can`t receive feedback/ help or constructive criticism


    C.) If my work isn`t displayed as true-to-life, it marginalizes me and on this forum in particular... you gotta be real about your skill set or people will write you off (see A again.)


    `


    Now, I`m going to state, for the record, I personally DON`T care if other detailer`s edit pictures on post-processing software. `This thread might seem that I`m calling them out... that IS NOT the intent of this thread. `Again I (and maybe other new/ newer/ newish detailers of the same mind) <u>want to be sure I`m posting photos with integrity so that it will serve the purpose of helping me become a better detailer.</u> `Nothing more, nothing less.


    `


    -Gabe

  12. #12

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    The one thing that bothers me is when someone uses lights for the before and all the afters are in the shade. I can understand if you used the sun in the before shots and it clouds up or the sun sets but if you have lights for the before shots, you have them for the after shots.`
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  13. #13
    Keeper of the beautiful Jean-Claude's Avatar
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    Good subject and guys, you are providing some real content that I am sure has been on all of our minds in regards to how work is shown off.


    Gabe, I would say to be your own worst critic. When you take photographs pay attention to the ones that don`t come out as good as you`d like.`That`is where you need to work on improving.


    `


    I try to provide the most telling photographs and tend to post a ton of images per project. I feel like providing many images gives the best insight into what we do. I respect many skilled detailers here and on other forums, but they are not my clients. Some do not care for threads with a ton of shots. But my clients consistently tell me how much they love the extensive photographs. The point? Remember that while we can respect each other professionally, we don`t have to see eye to eye on our marketing. You need to figure out what will keep food on your table without being dishonest about what you are being compensated for.
    Detailed Designs Auto Spa
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  14. #14
    Keeper of the beautiful Jean-Claude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nth Degree



    Great post. `I think what all these threads lead to is that people want honesty. `The sun is constantly moving so it is difficult to capture photos at the same time of day with the same conditions. `Not every detail needs to have perfect shots. `Sometimes it just isn`t feasible. `Sometimes, on the forums, a detailer`s reputation will buy them some leeway. `If David or Chad post photos I am more likely to believe the final results are impressive than if Joe Blow posts photos of his first detail. `Not that I think Joe Blow didn`t do a decent job, just that he doesn`t know any better, either in the detailing or the photography. `


    `


    I have used a laptop to look through my before photos of a car to set up the after shots with the same light and camera angles. `It also help remind me what shots I took before so I don`t forget the after shot of the same part of the car. `I often get frustrated when I get home and go through my photos and realize I forgot an after shot of a critical before shot.


    `


    These photos are not mine. `I don`t recall who posted them but they were specifically posted to demonstrate how photo editing can make a car/detail look far better than the original photo.


    `





    `



    `


    `


    It`s called HDR.


    `


    Years ago I restored a 190sl and it came out great. It didn`t come out HDR great though haha


    `


    My photographer took some HDR shots that I could provide the owner with. Here is one of them.


    Detailed Designs Auto Spa
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    Authorized CQuartz Finest Installer
    Paint Protection Film and Clear Bra Installation

 

 

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