Monday, September 13, 2010

Fast Cars, Stock Photos, Creativity and Success

Jaguar XKR Supercharge convertible looking fast, powerful and futuristic.
A photograph of a fast, futuristic car intended for concept stock photography rather than the "traditional" car shot helps diversify my library of images and hone my creativity.

A Fun Car, A Stock Photo, And The Thinking Behind It
I photographed my “fun” car this week end to create a stock photo…and was reminded of how difficult car photography is…at least for those of us who don’t practice it much!
I did, however get some good photos, one of which I wanted to share here along with my thinking behind the creation of this image.

Jaguar XKR Convertible
The car is a Jaguar XKR (circa 2004) convertible. Really a fun car to drive…and with a supercharged V-8 it can really get up and move! Jaguar did a great job with the visuals of the car and making the legendary XK-E type heritage apparent in its’ lines. As perhaps you can tell, I am really in to this car…that is except for the darn flat tires I get which end up costing an arm and a leg! Oh well….

Speed, Power, Freedom and Fun
But I digress. I wanted to create a stock photo that represented speed, power, the future, fun and freedom…and what the heck, maybe a few other things as well.  My strategy for shoots these days is to come up with a central or “hero” shot and then to fill in around that. In this case I wanted to center the shoot around a convertible sports car with a couple enjoying a sunset drive.

A Sexy Shot of a Generic Sports Car
The day before the shoot my partner, Stephanie and I (she doesn’t particularly care for the car claiming that anyone who drives one is compensating for other shortcomings…) drove out to the road I had picked for the shoot. It was Stephanie who commented that the best shot seemed to be looking into the sun. I had to agree…and it seemed to me that with a little Photoshop work I could create a very sexy shot of a generic sports car that could represent all of my concepts…and could even represent sporty hybrids or EVs as well…as long as I managed to disguise the “Jaguar” lineage.

Shots We Have Seen Before…and a “Hero” Shot
I hired two models (one of whom actually showed up) and spent a few hours shooting.  Not shown here are the more typical shots of a pretty woman driving, a couple driving holding hands…and all that stuff. We have all seen that before and while it makes sense to shoot it (and it will earn me money) it is my “hero” shot that I think is worth taking a longer look at. To be honest…I really have no idea if it will sell or not. One never knows.

Cars of the Future and Fast Internet
My thinking goes like this. Suppose you are an editor of a magazine that is doing a feature story on cars of the future…you need a cool looking image of a car that is not identifiable…but looks really hot. That could well be this one…and I composed it so that it could work well as a magazine cover with lots of room for type, mastheads, headlines and so forth. What if you are pushing a web site that covers fast cars…this image could again be used. Motor Oil? You bet! Car polish? How about fast Internet connections? You get the picture. This image has a wide range of possible applications not restricted by being a specific brand. It looks fast and fun and even futuristic which can apply to a whole lot more concepts than just cars. 

Creativity and Success
It is great to shoot all the photographs that we know sell…but it is also important to step beyond the ordinary, or at least attempt to, and create concept shots that can stand out from the crowd. Not all of them will result in good revenue, but just as importantly they keep you practicing creativity both in execution and in coming up with the ideas. And I am convinced that it is creativity that is the most important factor in success as we move into the future.