This Stag Estate is no weekend runner…

Well its been too long since I blogged last as I’ve been too busy and I’m sure while I’m sat on the train now there’ll be more posts coming…

This one is for last months cover shoot for Practical Classic mag. A great restored Triumph Stag estate… Even though as I’ve mentioned before each mag and article has its own feel and standard shots.

After saying that each location is different and brings its own challenges to capture some interesting images. I try and capture the opening DPS or the owner shot which takes the most time in general to create.


This was a double garage but the contents weren’t interesting enough to shoot inside. The sun that day was intense and blue sky. With the sun hitting the garage doors we had the sun to contend with. 2 lights used here, the green one was shooting through the fence on the right which a panel was able to be removed… (Happy days!) the one indicated by the blue was just to the right of me with a snoot. The areas circled is where the light was aimed.

Shooting at full power here to balance out the sun. The white line that I’ve drawn in the centre is what ‘m looking at as well for the centre crease of the mag. Not wanting to get any ‘important’ info lost in the crease.


This is the same set up but including the owner. Usually give 3-4 variants with the owner. Be it working on the car, stood, sat… again leaving enough space for titles, text boxes etc…


Using the sun while its there is the best form of lighting…


Don’t think I added any light to this as the Stag had a sun roof and so had enough illumination without any harsh sunlight (as we parked it under some trees which gave some nice dabbled light)


This was a little tricky as we kept going under trees, in and out of shadows…. still had to work it post to pull it out. Not the best but still acceptable for a fill shot.


The car in the same place as the shot shown first. One light brought in just over my right shoulder and another just out of shot hidden by the bonnet which was aimed at the owners left shoulder to give a key light with a snoot.


Plenty of detail shots to be had on the Stag but this was a decent one. Not yet wired in and connected but sat there with the same 8-track when the car was bought before restoration…..


This was a vertical shot that was eventually used for the cover and opening DPS. We were using a Triumph 2000 for the tracking car which seemed to sit quite low so with me long arms could hold the camera about a foot of the road surface.

Stag resto-1

This is the full framed image with minimal top and bottom crop… and one which I’m happy with.

You can see the final layouts in the In Print section of my gallery.

More posts to come in the hour!!!


911 Restoration – Leeds Porsche Centre

This was at the time the closest automotive magazine shoot that I’ve had… only a 20min drive … happy days. Shot for Classic Car magazine the 911 Turbo won ‘Best Mechanical Restoration’ and was only a few points of being the overall winner.

If I were to shoot in a garage I’m more used to the smaller shops or mostly private garages. The Porsche Centre Leeds certainly was on another level altogether. Clean, organised and the whole place spoke ‘efficiency’.

The first port of call was to get the main DPS (Double Page Spread) shot sorted as that was the lead image into the article. This restoration shoot predominately is intended for within the magazine and not for the cover. A similar style from one resto article to the next is the aim which still leaves you enough room to compose a shot.

Arranging the vehicles and finding an angle that works in the DPS and also has interesting elements, tells the story and also has room for title and copy.


This is one of the initial shot / testers to see what elements work, if its too busy or too empty. Also can just get some lighting in there to help focus the readers attention. The car being red and all the other cars and its surrounding all fairly neutral made this even easier.


The car on the jack in the foreground wasn’t going anywhere and although it was red also from this angle it didn’t interfere to much with the 911.

This car and its owners had history with the centre which made it all the more interesting and tied up the story nicely.


A few lights were also needed to get an overview shot of the interior from the drivers side.


In the article each member of the team talks about there specialist area and what they had to do with the car. This image on the left was shot to show the interior but it never made the final article.

A couple of speedlights used in this one…one on the dash of the car and the other on the back parcel shelf.


Getting under the car to shoot a few images to go with the engine side of the article proved a little tricky. Purely to find an angle that wasn’t too extreme and also of interest which could be lit sufficiently.



All in all a nice shoot and was good to meet the workshop staff from Porsche Centre Leeds.

You can see the finished article and layout here.


Febs cover feature… (ACM)

Going back to my ‘home land’ is always welcome… so when I was asked to shoot this Mustang, even though based in the wrong footballing world it was to be back in the North East.

Further north than where I was born the ‘Geordie’ accent was thicker and stronger to the point I had to concentrate to understand the conversation…

I digress… I’ve always been a fan of the mustang but this was a beast of a one…

The location was set but last minute issues was that we couldn’t get access to the desired building. A shell of a building and a fantastic location…. so the lay-by right beside the building became the background.


(Access denied… ah well… these things happen and you just have to get on with it and bag some shots)

This meant that you couldn’t really get a variety of angles as other street furniture and the road interfered with the images.


Other than just turning the car we had to run with the background. Not just in this situation but every shoot I do, knowing your kit and what ‘style’ and ‘feel’ you can get in camera helps with creating diversity within the gallery of images.

Especially in magazines you need to allow for text, graphics and other elements that gives the designer the scope to play with and makes their job easier.

Layout 1

Take the image on the right above. As well as supplying a tight crop on the car… in effect the same shot but leaving a lot of ‘dead’ space helps like I mention with layout. I’ve know idea how my images will be positioned so when I see the final article I’m interested in seeing how I can offer different images to further push layout design etc.

JJP_2488 JJP_2479 JJP_2449

Detailed images, or ‘cut-away’ images help fill out the article and build the story of the featured car.

I must say my lens came off worse on that gear shifter and needed to go for repair… doh!


(Original image as submitted…)

Layout 1

For the opening shot to an article (doesn’t have to be automotive…) you try and capture a stand-alone image or a visually captive shot but keeping in mind layout…

Here the shot above for the DPS, the car could have been over to the left a bit more to help with cropping… like I say, always learning & trying to improve.

Until next time…

At the time of writing this article I have another 3 American Car shoots already sat waiting to be used, so as and when they appear I’ll be posting stuff out.