A few weeks ago, I went to a really cool auto show in West Allis, Wisconsin, a southern suburb of Milwaukee. It was named, appropriately, The West Allis Classic Car Show, put on by downtown West Allis and celebrating its 25th year. If you've read my previous blog posts, you know this wasn't my first photography expedition at a classic car show. But I did learn some new tricks to getting better photos at any car show.
First, it's best if you can go to one of these car shows on an overcast day. Sunny skies tend to make the paint jobs on some automobiles too bright (especially reds and pinks), make reflections more noticeable, and cause glare and sunspots. The same goes for photographing flowers.
Also, find unique angles. It's easy to get into a rut of always photographing the automobiles' grills, bumpers, fenders, dashboards, etc. Change up your perspective and don't be afraid to crouch low to make the automobile look massive. I admit I'm not in the best of shape, and the "squatting" took its toll on my legs the next few days, but the photos were worth the pain.
One part of these classic cars that's always fascinated me are the hood ornaments. As a big fan of art deco design, I think these unique ornaments add class, sophistication and all-around great interest to these automobiles.
A good rule of thumb is to photograph these ornaments like you would flowers. If you have a DSLR, put the camera in Aperture Priority mode (for Canons) and bring your f-stop down as low as you can. Then make sure your lens is on Manual Focus, lock the focus on the ornament itself, and push the button. This will blur out anything behind the ornament (especially people if it's crowded) and make the ornament nice and sharp.
I think the car pictured below, is the oldest automobile I've ever seen at a classic car show. I believe it is from 1909.
The West Allis Classic Car Show was a better event than I thought it would be. There were tons of great classic cars to see it was hard not to photograph them all. I'm already looking forward to attending my next classic automobile show.