Environmental Light and Automotive Photography By Tim Wallace

42 min
Difficulty Difficulty Difficulty

Meet up with Tim Wallace and a Dodge Challenger to learn what is possible for shooting cars with just one camera, one lens, and available light. Shooting a black car can present real challenges for proper exposure, but Tim’s careful, yet efficient process will take you through each step, and have you out shooting like a pro in no time! You’ll learn about the gear he uses, how to look at a scene from all the angles, and why it is important to leave yourself room to be creative.

Video transcripts available with a subscription.

Join Tim as he introduces the concepts, location, and the car for this class.
Tim goes over the gear he'll be using for this shoot and then suggests getting started by putting your camera down and taking a walk around the car to look for important details you might want to shoot later.
Time to get shooting. The first position is a simple shot comprised of multiple exposures that will be blended together later for the final result. A graduated neutral density filter is a great tool for taming exposure on brighter areas.
Little details can help tell the story of a car. Tim decides to hand hold a close-up shot of the logo on the car's hood.
It is fine to start by getting the obvious shot in the obvious location, but take time to look around and see what else a location has to offer. Tim walks through his process in a challenging situation to create a fantastic shot that really ties the car into the location.
If you work efficiently and get the shots required by the client, you can end up with enough extra time to get creative and try different things that take things to the next level.
Using available light gives you the flexibility to go where the light is, and Tim wraps up the class with two shots using the exterior of the building as a backdrop for the car.
Profile photo of Tim Wallace

Meet your instructor

Tim Wallace


Photographer Tim Wallace is the driving force and creative thinking behind Ambient Life. An award winning photographer his work is often described as both conceptual and dramatic. Tim works internationally with many high end brands and clients such as Aston Martin, Land Rover Jaguar and Morgan in the UK to Kenwood and Audi in the US. ...

Tim's Courses


Join the Discussion
  1. Profile photo of klwoods klwoods

    Absolutely fantastic series. Learning to use light creatively is a tremendous asset. Thanks so much Tim and Co. for producing such high quality, informative content. It is truly inspirational. Yes, please post my feedback

  2. Profile photo of JPDesign JPDesign

    This was the first video I watched after joining, and I am so glad I watched it when I did. My passion is shooting cars, so to see that I don’t, in fact, have to drop a ton of money on lights, strobes, modifiers and controllers absolutely revived my spirit. These shots are amazing! I want to get out now and find some locations with similar light so I can try to get some similar shots of my own. Thanks so much for taking the time to share! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  3. Profile photo of flemmo63 flemmo63

    Nice, simple and logical info on how to get great results without all the gear, just using your eye and the environment. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  4. Profile photo of Sandra Crocker Sandra Crocker

    Just what I needed! Ha, I can’t believe you had this video on Kelby. Valuable advice and examples. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  5. Profile photo of Jonathan Jonathan

    Another excellent course by Tim, really got to thinking of how I can put some of this in practice, have a friend with a sports car, seems like a great reason to create some inspiring images. It’s great to see the craft of photography being taught. Many thanks to all involved & I hope you will get Tim back for further classes. Very inspirational :)
    —- Yes, please post my feedback

  6. Profile photo of Dianna Van Horn Dianna Van Horn

    This was excellent — even for those who think they’d never shoot something like this. The comments about being open for different views, practice, looking all around before starting, and thinking the photo through before you start are applicable to every shooter in virtually every situation. And, of course, the information about shooting automotive photos was extremely useful. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  7. Profile photo of Tim Wallace Tim Wallace

    Thanks buddy very glad that you found the class useful and hopefully inspiring.
    Photography in my view very much begins in the heart and eye and not on the sensor, indeed the most memorable images in history were shot on very basic equipment and their power comes from their thought and the capturing of a moment in time, never under estimate the power of composition and light and just what you can achieve with these two elements working together….

    Enjoy your photography and shoot shoot shoot —- Yes, please post my feedback

  8. Profile photo of chelo chelo

    Wallace did it again!!!! His simple approach yet powerful results just amazes me. What I liked best was the simple setup and equipment to obtain quality results. Really like it…. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  9. Profile photo of Tim Wallace Tim Wallace

    Gentlemen thank you for your very positive and kind feedback it is very much appreciated and reading responses like these make all the effort very worth while.
    It is truly my pleasure to have helped some of you maybe view this type of photography slightly differently and I hope that you all took away a few things to think about and indeed try yourself.
    Remember photography is not a destination it’s a journey and as long as we remember to enjoy the ride then that’s all that counts. Go out and shoot and most of all enjoy your photography and thank you again for taking the time to comment on this class, I hope that I will be asked to return to the US so that maybe we can do some further classes in the future. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  10. Profile photo of Wayne Wayne

    To the folks at Kelby Training and Tim Wallace, thanks so much! I have enjoyed and learned so much from Tim’s series so far. I am a car enthusiast and have always wanted to learn how to improve my photographs of cars. This course has helped significantly.
    Tim thanks so much for taking the time, I really enjoy your approach to photography and find your creativity very inspirational! Keep it up. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  11. Profile photo of jonmold jonmold

    I just wanted to say that I have been following Tim’s awesome work for sometime. I’m trying to break into commercial photography and couldn’t believe my luck when I saw that Tim was featuring as one of your pro instructors. The timing couldn’t have been better as I have a commercial shoot for a luxury car dealership in a few weeks. I am fairly comfortable with off camera lighting, but Tim’s attention to detail, the way he teaches and makes you feel like you’re having a 1-2-1 session on location with him s fantastic. I’ve learnt so much from this series that I know I’ll be taking my vehicle photography to the next level. I have learnt so much from the first 3 courses he has done that I really look forward to seeing more of him on Kelby Training. I would love to see some moving vehicle shots. Rigs of hanging out of another vehicle? No idea how he gets those incredible shots. PLEASE SHARE !!!
    Thanks again Team Kelby :)? —- Yes, please post my feedback

  12. Profile photo of Musaad Musaad

    Dear Lord! This guy is TOO good. I took photos with my dusty old “Suzuki Swift” following these instructors with only one soft box and it turned out amazing, mean and moister looking ride! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  13. Profile photo of Tom Quinn Tom Quinn

    My word….another winner Mr. Wallace. Minimal equipment with maximum output. For the car nut like me this is so great to learn and think about seeing in the camera rather than in Photoshop. With that being said, cannot wait for the 4th class on photoshop to see what you can do, —- Yes, please post my feedback

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