It was 10:50am on a Thursday, April 30th, 2015 I was asked to find a photo of someone working on their, polishing, tuning, fixing, preparing – working. There were more than a few additional requirements though. The editor wanted the shot to show the relationship between the car and driver, which makes sense and I agreed, but they also wanted it to be a female tuner and preferably non-caucasian because they were aiming to be as different as possible, and I had a deadline of 6:30pm that same day. That’s what I call a curveball!
So although I had already pulled up a few people mentally in my head, I didn’t actually personally know any girls who worked on their own car. I knew of some girls who were in the car scene and into car culture and might even have a really nice car themselves, but had trouble thinking of girls who actually worked on their car themselves. Hell, even I don’t work on my car myself… mostly because tools are expensive and I don’t have them. It also doesn’t help that I live in a condominium don’t really have a garage space to work out of… but anyway, I was on a quest, asking my Facebook car friends to help me find a girl who worked on her own car, wanted to be published, and would be available on that very day before 6pm.
Luckily it wasn’t too long before I got in touch with one of the girls that originally popped up into my head, Shelby Crackston of Shelby Crackston Drift (Yeah, she drifts), and a shoot was booked for sometime around 4:30pm in Sherwood Park, which was half an hour away from Downtown where I was. This was going to be super tricky because I would have to go from Downtown, to 30 minutes out of town (on a normal drive) during rush hour… Then I’d have to set up, shoot, and make the other half hour drive back, edit, and upload before 6:30pm. So that’s 1 hour gone for driving, and another 20 or so minutes to dump my files, edit, and upload, giving me just 40 minutes to set up and shoot.
The truth is, the shoot wasn’t actually that difficult and we actually spent most of the time talking and hanging out, with very little shooting. Set up took maybe 7 minutes… just one light to fill in the actual garage and give a slight kicker of light of the model and then rely on the natural light from the double garage door to fill in the rest, and thankfully it was partly overcast, giving me nice soft light (most of the time). It also helped that Shelby’s (You have to admit, that’s a fitting name for a car girl) garage was actually fairly spacious and she was already working on her car by the time I arrived. One test shot showed the light did exactly what I wanted it to, and all we had to do was move some stuff around in the shot. Luckily, all her tools and parts were kept on a rubber mat next to her working area, which I asked her to slide to the other side of her so that the camera can see it, and it just looked naturally perfect without much tweaking around and moving of parts. Within the first few clicks, I was already pretty much done. I was so confident in having those shots that I didn’t really even think about any other angles to shoot from. But of course, I did anyway, just in case.
After some more quick shooting and chit-chat, with a lot more chit-chat than shooting, I raced back home to upload the files. Now unfortunately, I can’t do too much editing to the files that I give to the editor, so they were a bit bland in my opinion, but for my own purposes, I had more room to play around with the photo and what not, and I actually really love the final result. Especially given how much of a rush this shoot was. From concept, to assignment, to scouting, to booking the shoot, to driving out there in rush hour, to shooting, and then driving back, then to dumping, editing, uploading the files, and then re-editing the files for my own uses, it only took a total span of 10 hours. Which is a little ridiculous. So given how much time went into the shoot, I absolutely love the results. God, could you imagine if I actually had the time to play around and set up a shot? I’d be there forever.
But I also love how the shot looks in terms of automotive photography. Most automotive photography is shooting cars in a sexy locations with an ridiculously cool building behind it or a picture of a car going epicly fast, but I’ve seen very few photos showing someone actually working on their car (and it helps that the parts were all so clean too!) and really showing off that handy-work that goes into the cars that we car enthusiasts love. I mean, I guess this would classify under portrait, but I still see it more as automotive photography than portrait, truth be told, since it’s about cars. Automotive photography is all about the cars and how the cars make you feel and encompassing those feelings into a photograph, and I feel like these shots do just that.
Oh yeah… I guess it also helps that Shelby is also actually very pretty. Yeah, I’d say that helped make the shots look better lol.
Bonus shots for the road (pun not intended):