Capri Cover

Third cover in a row for Classic Cars Magazine marking the 50th anniversary of a British favourite….

As ever the group tracking is mainly for the cover shot, maybe a DPS and also to get a closing rear shot.

A few examples of some of the images sent to the mag for the cover.

Full frame image with final cover selection….

We shot the pairings both on the outer track and also the inner handling road…. aka ‘the snake’ The pairs were in their Mk’s pairs.

Enjoyed this shoot because it challenged you to look beyond the fact it was 6 Capri’s and top try and pick out the details and feel of each Mk.

The image below is the set up (kindly taken by the owner!) of the images above. Just a single flash head firing through the opposite door.

A decent shoot, Capri’ed out for the day…. some images taken that day that I’m happy with : )

Accelerators Group Test

At the time of shooting this group test I didn’t know that this would be the middle of three covers in a row for Classic Cars Magazine.

The group tracking for the opening DPS and cover we got straight on with.

Chosen opening DPS…

These cars have plenty of details around the bodywork so plenty of options to shoot from. Can’t remember if the corvette was selected in the brief for the lead car …. either way the higher ZR logo gave a nice lead into the other cars.

Fairly tight group… gave instructions before setting off each lap and then just got the corvette to manoeuvre around to get various angles to fit into a DPS.

The layout below fo the final spreads…

Super Saloons Cover Shoot

Its taken me too long to write a few lines about this cover shoot down in Longcross…..

Back in July it was in the middle of the fantastic summer we had and we had 5 classic saloons to shoot for a cover for Classic Cars. The brief was fairly specific for the cover… it was going to run with the Merc as a single cover but with a small group of the other cars as an inset on the cover.

The image below is the small group of 4 for the cut out…. Tried a few different angles and focal lengths. you can see the stray car in the right of frame…. knew this would be only used as a cut out so no need min moving it.

We added the Merc within the group and shifted the cars around so we could get a final group shot.

Details, Interiors, engine images for each car before we set off on getting the cover and tracking shots.

This Audi was in mint condition and for me would be my choice out if this lot. ๐Ÿ™‚

The Jag had plenty of nice details to be able to get some interesting angles.

Like I said the cover was always going to be the mere as a single tracking shot. Below are a few options that made the cutting floor …

The final cover and layout above with the group shot from above inset.

The original image below and then the over lay of the final cover to show you what was used and added.

Really do like the D810 as you can used half a frame and still get more than enough detail for a full page image. Again you can see I leave the images with enough in them so they can be tweaked more by the art editor.

You’ll be surprised just how much gets filmed at Longcross with its test circuit. Theres a scene from Transformers I spotted a while back but the most recent one I’ve seen is a Vauxhall advert which is currently on TV now shot here.

Running with the sun and shooting all around the track to give a bit of different flavour. However the cover image I mainly shot on the straight as the sun was directly on the from of the blue merc.

Along with the owners of the cars we had another photographer …. Racheal (you can check her instagram out… @rpautomotivephotography) who took a few images of me out the boot of the Andrews (journalists) car….. (thats Racheal ๐Ÿ™‚

The image below was taken on the run whilst Racheal took these images. I do have a harness as you can see and used it as the rear seatbelts in the car were too long at full extension. Just find that seat belts can be easier to use than the harness. Don’t worry I’m never not strapped in somehow.

The image above looks like I’ve got my finger over the lens….. just turning the polariser to see whats giving me the best look for the merc and BMW.

With the shoot rounding up and some cars already left we had to get a driving shot of Andrew and so the Merc was a great choice with its light interior and giant sun-roof.

In no particular order the final layout below…


170mph – High Speed Kicks

Down in Dunsford Aerodrome, the home of Top Gear for this cover shoot for Classic Cars. Five cars, an outer track to ourselves to get this cover shoot in the bag.

If I can I try to get the cover shot and opening DPS shot first or at least the group tracking done. Weighing up these owners I didn’t think we would have an issue and first impressions were correct. This road unlike the track at Longcross was pretty flat so couldn’t rely on an incline to see the rear row of cars better. So getting as high up as possible in the tracking vehicle….. and a long arm ; )

A couple of images below showing the order of the cars (the order is at most dictated by the mag so unless the colours of the cars can help out and balance things we run with the brief)

The final image chosen for the cover and the cover overplayed on the chosen frame. You can see the space we can play with the full frame and also the colours… I don’t go too wild on the processing and always allow the mag room to tweak.

A quick option for a DPS which turned out to be the chosen image and also a rear tracking shot as an article finishing image.

The image below was shot for the opening DPS that only saw the editors floor…

Framed and shot over 5 images…

These screen grabs from my phone show what the interface looks like for the CaseAir from Tethertools… I use as I can see a live view from the camera where the lights are positioned and so just makes things work a little faster instead of returning to the camera after every shot. Great bit of kit.

Once the group stuff done it was time for the pairings. This is where finding a slightly different angle from the last pair comes into play. Looking at the pairing first and seeing what details you can shot from and two starts the process and then shows whats left to do.

First few images below shooting from the Corvettes badges two the Aston.

Love the front of the TVR…..

All the variants and pair tracking shot, now onto details and interiors etc.

With the interior and engine shot for each done after that its one or two details as options.

The sun made an appearance now and then which kept you on your toes…

Shot each car as a pan profile again as another option for each car to mix and match in the article and these wouldn’t all be used but like I said as a back up / option for the layout.

On the day there were two cars which could be written as potential number spot…… So we shot the two as a final single car static and the Aston above got the final page of the article.

Little selfie to finish off the day with the Top Gear studios in the background… : )

The final layout…

Chimaera – 25th Anniversary

Back in July shot for Classic Cars Magazine, plenty of miles and not a lot of shooting. From West Yorkshire (home), up to Hexham to pick up the two Chimaera’s, head back down to Lancashire, shoot the feature then onto Blackpool. After all that I had to head back to Yorkshire to drop off my good friend who gave us a hand that day then plough on down to Bicester for a Modern Classic shoot the day after. (the blog before this one ๐Ÿ™‚

So it was a full on day. Due to the weather and travelling we didn’t start shooting until about 2pm, not the best start but we were in the hands of the weather.

Started out at the Parkers arms (you’ll have to pick up a copy to read about the significance of this place.

The first one above was used small in the final layout… the others to show different angles which are among another 10 images I sent for a possible opening DPS.

Just up the road from the ‘Arms’ we had this stretch of road on a hill which had enough visibility to run a few passes for a front cover which I genuinely thought they’d run with. Again I supplied about 10 variants of this set up for the front cover.

This image above became the final cover shot but not in this state which I supplied.below is the cover overlaid to show the difference.

We have a blue sky ๐Ÿ™‚ … those rain clouds were dumping some serious rain about 30mins prior to this shot. I keep th images on the soft side in regards to contrast so theres plenty of room for the mag to adjust accordingly to their wishes.

Also its using half the frame which again I keep saying that the D810’s frame size is the reason I shoot so big… as you can get a landscape from a vertical shot without pushing it to its extreme. So much pixels in there ๐Ÿ™‚

The three images above are sequential frames… at times you just keep that shutter going as the road sweeps round, and the road surface was decent but we didn’t have too much clear visibility to keep this formation so tried to get the most out of every run.Like both the first ones where you can see the road in the background but also like this last one with the road going on the horizon. These shot for the opening DPS.

The frame above was a little further in the sequence of frames above and used as the final opening DPS.

Getting the camera over and down beside the doors was a little contouring to say the least, well when your 6’3″ and the seats are really low and the doors seemed to be fairly high…. Still the body sculpturing lines on the doors helped with some interest looking along the side panel.

The images above are a few more selected images from the set which some were used and some were not…

The final static shot at what is left of the factory in Blackpool. Really not much here to go on, loads of street furniture, other vans and cars all around so had only one angle to shoot from. Time was really ticking at this moment so we had to get through the shots and cover all other ‘angles’ of the brief.

A few more detail shots again some which were used and some not. All shot in front of the last remaining red brick building from the factory, trying to avoid the houses, lampposts and the cars in the reflections and background as best as.

Final layout of the cover feature…. very long day, (think it was a 5:30 am start and then I landed at the hotel in Bicester about 10pm) but still pleased with the outcome despite the short window of photographic time we had.

Until next time or until the next shoot gets printed ๐Ÿ™‚

Below is a video my good friend produced of what he could shoot when he wasn’t being my driver : )


Ultimate Golfs – Modern Classics

Shot back in July the day after the TVR shoot (not yet blogged) for Modern Classics.

3 Golfs and for a cover shoot at Bicester Heritage centre. A really good location especially for statics with old hangers and out-buildings with plenty of character.ย 

Got there early and we already had the VR6 owner with us so I went off to find a location within the grounds to start shooting the individuals until the other 2 golfs turned up. The image above was a giant hanger door which was going to have the sunlight that side of it for the duration we needed to keep things on an even keel as far as having the background light for all the individual images.

I shot the VR6 then we concentrated on the cover image. The first main idea was the one above which never got used… One image was wide and the other more standard focal length. My theory why this didn’t get used is that the month previous cover had a single car cover which was in the same position as the VR6 in these ones and would be too similar to have them one after the other …

Anyway … on the image below, what do you get with x2 car owners, a car dealer, an art editor and mag editor? …… your own personal valet machine ๐Ÿ™‚

This was car prep for the cover… and I didn’t have to do anything ๐Ÿ˜‰

This image above was the final cover shot used but you can see that the VR6 has been cut and moved up to fit in the cover. Final cover below ๐Ÿ™‚

The only other group static would be the opening DPS…. (below)

This was made up of three images in the end. I could have done it in two shots but to save time in getting more lights set up I shot it in three frames as I knew I had to shop this image anyway so it was easier to shoot three… Below I’ll explain ๐Ÿ™‚

This was the first shot, framed for the DPS and this was purely for the VR6 light cluster. The reason I needed at least two frames was because you cannot get the whole frame in focus from foreground to the black golf in one frame. So only the VRG was used from this frame. (Notice the other two cars out of focus.)

This image above with the blue R32 light was the base image as I could drop the VR6 and the black golf on top of this image. Just two lights, one just off frame to the right and one just hidden behind the VR6. (also notice the VR6 out of focus)

You can see from the image above I had a glorified remote controlled light where it would go where I commanded…. voice controlled if you will … i.e the art editor ๐Ÿ˜‰

Same lights from the blue R32 and just light the same way as the previous frame.

So with just the black R32 and the lit bit of ground around it and the light cluster of the VR6 dropped onto the Blue R32 frame you have the final image.

Each car had its own static which needed to be different from the last and complement each other but the engine and interior image the same… above the three car interiors.

Again same image for each car ….


The statics for each of the golfs for their respective double pagers.

Some details which some were used and some that made the editors floor ๐Ÿ™‚

Full frames of the four images above with the VR6 which got a few more pages to its self. We used the Black R32 as a tracking car which I enjoyed the soundtrack as we made one or two laps to get these shots.



The image left is the full framed one which had the passengers door in the top right hand of the frame which I left in ย and the final image on the right used with some clouds magically covering the door ๐Ÿ™‚ …. also the few barriers left on the horizon also taken out.

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The final layout …

13 pages is a decent article length and as ever always good to get a cover ๐Ÿ™‚


A Legend Lives On

As ever a great to have a subject thats near to home …. this one is closer than the first cover shoot we did for Street Machine. This time was the 1967 Silhouette Camaro with the same paint work from the 60s, found by the current owner down in Wimbledon and brought to Yorkshire where it resides.

With these shoots its predominately a rig shot that could be the only motion shot you get. Thankfully the owner found a great outbuilding near a local farm whose owners were typical Yorkshire folk and said carry on ๐Ÿ™‚ …… happy days. The drizzle kept coming and going but we were covered which meant we could carry on with the planned shoot.

The image above was an opener and was used as the opening DPS as apposed to a rig shot / motion shot.

Below you can see were I had 4 lights positioned to light the scene.

Lights 1-3 are battery studio lights (Phoenix – Indras) and 4 is a Nikon Speedlight. All using Phottix odin as a controller and receiver. The light on the front of the Dodge van is sunlight which was the benchmark for the rest of the lights to balance to. No2 light is hidden behind the upright post.

Keeping an eye on the spill light on the floor I think I may have used a few barn doors to eliminate the light on the floor so it wasn’t right to the edge of the frame.

Keeping the lights (No 1 & 3) in the same place we shot a few still (above) off the Camaro on its own. Simple engine shot using the same lights.

The image below I found on the internet of the same car from the 70s when it had a blower on the engine. The current owner has the same bonnet for when such an engine is fitted.

The paint is the original and yes you can see some age to it but its in fantastic condition and still gives back some shimmer when lit.

Still with some original show stickers all add to the provenance of the car and a testament to the current owners desire to keep it original.

A great location and good to get the surrounding features in on the act. The above two using a couple of lights each to light accordingly ๐Ÿ™‚

Keeping the car in the same position as a couple of shots above, just moving around to get another angle… just one light being used to light the nearside of the car against the bright sunlight which kept coming in and out.

Some detail shots that never made the final cut but all shot whilst in that same position. The reason being its easy to keep moving and shoot as much in one position and move the car as minimal as possible, some shoots you can’t help but move things but when you can keep things simple.

Only a couple of rig shots we took. One vertical and one pano. We had one area where we could have the car turn in an arc and so repeated the process and few times so we had donor sections from one frame to help clone out the rig.

Below is a video of us just test the arc so we didn’t end up jousting the upright post with the camera!

Rig test video

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This final front cover image was made up of about 3 rig shots. The side and a bit of the background was from one shot and the rest from another.

The editor definitely wanted the Dodge van in the shoot as this is what gets the Camaro around on long trips. Always try and find places to get your lights in and simply use a wall, door or shoot from behind something to hide said lights. A couple used here to light the exterior and another speed light in the cabin to lift the interior.

A couple of speed lights to help light the vans interior…

The final article above…

A good shoot and pleased with another cover.





70s Grand Tourers – Classic Cars Magazine

Another cover shoot at Longcross, Surrey, ย another long day of shooting 5+ cars… the day was baking and the sun was high and relentless… still it beats working for a living ๐Ÿ™‚

Started the day off with getting the statics and details done for each of the cars, as some the cars naturally come staggered a little. It just means you can get started straight away to use as much time as possible.

I try and get the car to drive around me while I look at how the shadows appear in the cabin from the sun and choose as best as angle thats as sympathetic as possible.

Still black interior on a bright sunny day needs the most ‘lifting’…

Don’t mind the door being opened on this Capri as I think the light is coming over my last shoulder and so the pedals are light by daylight…

Tried this 911 through the door as shown above and also through the sunroof but the angle was too acute.

The Citroรซn SM was just as intriguing to look at under the hood than the rest of it!

The cover shot…. below the original shot and then overlaid.


I’ll let you have a look and see what post work was carried out from the image I supplied to the finished cover ๐Ÿ™‚

Once the statics and the cover group tracking was done we moved onto the head to head shoots. I must say we did the Jag and Aston above just before the group tracking as we were still waiting for cars to turn up. It was a good job as just after the group tracking was done the Jag decided it had had enough for the day… but we had one more shot to do with it… we’ll come to that later on.

Must say not was a really funny view from the boot of the mighty Zafira boot seeing these cars head to head.

Its a great private location this and I wouldn’t really think this would be possible else where. I don’t like to get of manual but was tempted he as you come in and out of very harsh sunlight every second…. just the very few occasions I do let the camera do some of the work.

This SM and 911 just for me looked funny ๐Ÿ™‚

The last shot we had to shoot with all the cars was the opening group static shots… but with the Jag a non runner now.

We had an idea of the layout and so put the jag in first… by hand and so the other owners all piled in and we got it in and just let it then pulled the remaining cars around it. You can see the various street furniture thats been shopped out for the final DPS (below).

Last but not least, taking a few images of the cars individually. This is where we can take the cars that need to get off first and then release them one by one…

here are the layouts of the final article…

Another cover shoot and its always a good feeling to get a cover on the shelf.

until next time


DBS at 50

This was a good shoot for me in the sense that it was my first cover for Classic Cars. Happy with any covers but shoot a lot for Classic Cars over the past few years it was nice to get the opportunity to shoot a cover shoot.

Down in Surrey its a decent distance for me and being a cover shoot with 7 cars all arranged with owners to come together in one place the emphasis is on you to get the job in the bag. This upped the anti a little for me and I found myself building up the pressure as well.


This article is 19 pages long and so being my first cover shoot for CC I was eager to see the final spreads and which images were used and how…..the usual stuff as I keep mentioning on my blog.

The image above was the first hint of the article which was a full page ad in the Decembers issue showing whats coming up in the Jan’s issue. Happy days…


The original image above un-cropped / full frame… and you can see the slight tweak with the car spacing.

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Well here it is…(if you’ve not see it before! or not seen my Instagram feed)… From left to right, the final image as submitted to the mag, Then an overlay of the final cover to show the crop and then the full front cover.

Really happy with this and a few pointers to learn for next time … I shoot on a D810 for magazine work due to it giving me 35mb+ per image so that you can crop heavy into an image and still have plenty of resolution to print with (something I’ll mention later on)

From camera to the first car it may look not that close but it’ll be no more than 2 meters away.


Image above was in fact capturing a run for a cover alternative but in the end was the opening DPS cropped to a landscape, again showing why the nikon D810 is useful as it packs plenty of pixels into the frame and allows for some serious cropping if needed.

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The first order of the day was to start on the individual images of the cars as we were waiting for the last car to turn up. As there was 7 cars and plenty to shoot we needed to get started soon as. A little production line, a front 3/4 shot, engine bay and interior plus and details that were interesting or unique for that particular DBS.

All was going well until about 4 cars in when the clouds came over and decided to dump a lot of rain! Owners seeking refuge in their cars or diving into the trees for about 40 mins while it past. Thankfully my sunroof was open for only 10 mins until it was pointed out to me!!!!

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Eventually when all the details were done (apart from the last car which turned up) we needed to get on and capture the other images. Pairing off the cars we made a few passes along whats know as the ‘Snake’ at the private location. All these are un-cropped so when you get your copy of the mag you can see how they’ve cropped into them.

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Having three pairs and a single car predetermined you need to keep a variety of images so when printed a good selection of images and atmosphere is achieved… I’ll leave that for you to decide on how I did…

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A few more images that were shot for the cover and one for a possible DPS.


The Aston Works 4 door Lagonda was the easiest choice for being the single car… Here are a few more images that didn’t make the final edit….

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Took more side on shots for this to try and show the four door configuration… Again always little a bit of sunlight ๐Ÿ™‚

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This one above was the one that made the article… sunlight as it was and not added.

Since this shoot I’ve shot another cover shoot at the came location and I do like it but you can go from heavy shadow to harsh sunlight within a split second so it does keep you on your toes!


Once all the tracking shots were done the last thing was to shoot each car and do some panning shots…


Just sending the cars back and forth, running to a new location each time to keep things varied. Getting both wide shots and tight shots of different cars.



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The overall winner of the bunch…. this image taken early doors in the shoot… before all the rain!!!!

Only took nearly 5 hours to drive back from this shoot!!!

Until next time…




No ‘Mini’ Shoot…Practical Classics Cover Shoot

This was the 2nd day back in the North East of shooting a few automotive articles. The sky was clear, the sun was bright, the wind was just a gentle breeze… this was a great shoot.

Already marked as a strong contender for a cover we just needed to pick out the locations for the tracking images to make the most of the weather and car.


document171303670255513909.inddThe cover shot was taken along with other static filler shots near to Souter Lighthouse. We had about 100 yds to geta few frames fired off per pass to get the front shot in the bag. Knowing we needed to be either side of a dead on shot to reveal the estate side of the mini; if we shot dead on it would look like ‘another mini’. With the sun in its position the front offside was chosen (as well it sits better on a page with us in the west / reading from L to R)

We did about 3 passes on this short stretch of road. The road further up beside the trees in the background we used to get the car into position quickly so when we came out of the tree shadows we could fire off about 5 frames per pass.

You can see that a little work was done from the file I sent. The shadows within the car and the clarity on the grill are a few areas you can see whats been done.

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A few detail shots that weren’t used in the final edit.

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The images about were shot for the opening DPS. The one on the right which was chosen above the left one. The sun was really intense but the issue was the shadows especially the one coming from the left which was cast by a caravan, so full power from a flash to help lift it.


We had a bit of time and a quiet road with a good turning point at either end so we could do aย  rear tracking shot. The images below shows the set up how we got the image. Using the carbon boom attached to the tracking / donor car you can get the camera as low as you feel its safe before your camera becomes one with the road!

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Simply follow the car and click away via remote, check results repeat if needs be… Takes a little while to set up but worth it in the end.


Grabbing some fish n chips on Rover pier…getting a few images thrown in with the gulls, good times. (you can see Roker lighthouse in the bottom right of the image; thi idea was to get closer down the actual pier but couldn’t get down there)


Another image not used in the final edit…simple interior shot.

Great weather, great location (slightly biased), great restoration.

Until next time


To see more from Practical Classics click here. To see the final article click here.