2015 Dodge Viper GT: Road Trip Photography Do's and Don'ts
August 23, 2015
When you're dealing with a car that looks as good as our 2015 Dodge Viper, you'd think taking a good photo requires little more than getting it in the frame. Alas, Jay Kavanagh and I are not photographers. So when we returned from our cross-country road trip with a few SD cards loaded with photos, we handed them to actual photographers: Edmunds.com's Scott Jacobs and Kurt Niebuhr. Their critique follows.
Road trips are about adventure. You want to capture those moments of scenic beauty, history, or hilarity of the place or situation. To us, the most common shots in travel photography boil down into two categories. One is something discovered on its own (e.g., the Eiffel Tower) and the other is comparing two elements (Nana and Uncle Fred standing in front of the Eiffel Tower).
Besides the basics of focus and exposure, simplifying your photos and putting a little thought into them will make them much stronger.
Having a picture of Nana with a sign growing out of her head is jarring to the eye. Here we have the Viper GT in lieu of Nana. When putting two subject elements into a photo, make sure there is room for both.
Just standing up and moving a bit to right, there is plenty of breathing room for all. It looks a lot less cluttered and is more pleasing to the eye.
"It's the sun. You can't move the sun." Sage advice from a boss I received many moons ago. Make sure your subject is lit. Here we want both the sign and the car, but the sun is only shining in one direction. I'd rather have the broad side of the car in the sun, otherwise it looks like a big dark blob. By turning the car to the right, you'd put it into the light. License plates and taillights will help break up the shadows, giving it a little more life.
The tried-and-true stand-in-front-of-the-location shot. A classic travel format, but boring.
By giving it a little thought and looking for a different point of view, you can make your photo so much more interesting. Just be careful of broken glass and Hantavirus.
"Excuse me sir..." People getting into your shots are only slightly more annoying than in-laws. They just clutter the shot and are very distracting.
Control the situation. Move to an angle where they can't photobomb you. In this example, a less cluttered shot increases its scenic beauty.
Be aware of your backgrounds. You may never know when somebody is taking a leak in the bushes. OK, maybe they weren't, but the bright orange jacket brings your eye right to it and detracts from the rest of the photo.
Proper framing of a subject can make a real impact. Here the Viper is nestled under the theater marquee. It combines two elements very effortlessly. The lighting flare gives a touch of drama and some life to the photo.
Scott Jacobs, Kurt Niebuhr, and Carlos Lago