Inspired Light and Automotive Photography By Tim Wallace

41 min
Difficulty Difficulty Difficulty

Want to learn how to photograph a car like a pro? Join Tim Wallace, a commercial photographer based in the UK, as he steps through the process of positioning, lighting and shooting a Ford Mustang convertible on location while providing real world tips along the way. It’s all about the angles, as you build up your lighting from the available light to however many strobes you need to achieve your desired result. Learn everything you need to know to ground the car in its environment and light it without it looking too lit.

Video transcripts available with a subscription.

Join Tim as he provides an overview of the course and discusses some of the challenges involved with photographing cars. The location in which a car is placed is vitally important to the message you are communicating in the final photo.
Tim talks about the gear he uses every day on the job while planning out how to light the car by looking at the curves, shadows, and reflective surfaces, which will determine where to place the lights.
Committing to a position is an important first step, which will give you a starting point for deciding where to place the lights needed to achieve the desired final image. Once Tim chooses his shooting position and angle he can place the first key light.
Placing the second light is all about lighting the front of the car while balancing it with the ambient and first key light.
With the two key lights in place we can see how they work togethe, and then look for what new problems need to be solved. The first problem is adding focused light to the front wheel.
The job of the background light is to help separate the car from the darkness in the background, but also to add environmental texture and tie the car to the location. Shooting the car at a low angle allows you to hide a light out of sight behind the car.
By committing to our original shooting position and angle we've been able to build up the lights one at a time to reach the final shot. Now it's time to take the shot and call it a day.
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 jburns5027 jburns5027

    I can’t not wait for more course by Tim. I have lost count on how many times I have watched all of Tim’s course here on Kelby, and although Joe McNally’s been my most watched instructor, in the last month that I’ve watched Tim’s, he’s coming close to passing Joe. TIms knows what he’s doing, and has a way of explaining things that, to me, just make sence, and on top of it, when we see his images pop up that are SOOC, every time, I just say “wow”, I want to do that.

  2. Profile photo of Jeffrey Eatley Jeffrey Eatley

    I have watched these classes multiple times and can’t wait for more. I am now going straight to Mr. Wallace’s page and learning from every image I can find. I goal is not to copy but hopefully out do him one day!

  3. Profile photo of brianw brianw

    I love Tim’s simplistic approach, no messing with light meters, just common sense back to basics, building 1 light at a time to reach a great conclusion. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  4. Profile photo of vergesc vergesc

    First off I’m just going to thank Tim Wallace right off the bat. I loved all the courses and love his style, method and approach to his craft. It fit so well with my current approach that I knew I was on the right track.

    Recently I took that new knowledge and my previous knowledge of dramatic portraits (some of which I also learned on this site) and got to apply it at a historic car weekend.

    I’m not claiming it’s perfection by any means but I wanted to share it to show others that Tim is right, you don’t need a ton of high end equipment to try artificially lit scenes. This is a Nikon D5100 with the 18-55 kit lens and two Yongnuo flashes hand held by my son and myself just out of frame to the left and right. Considering the 10 minutes I took testing flash positions and exposure and the simple equipment I couldn’t be happier with the results! The work in post here is limited to some exposure and shadow adjustments and some sharpening in Nikon’s ViewNX2. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  5. Profile photo of John Rose John Rose

    TIm’s courses are too short. I enjoy learning from him but other instructors have 10-12 minute chapters. Tim’s are 6-8 minutes. I want more time. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  6. Profile photo of Tim Wallace Tim Wallace

    Thanks guys for taking the time to feedback on this class, its great to hear that so many people have been able to take something from the class and most importantly get out there and be inspired to try things of their own, photography is always very much about enjoying the journey and not just a fast track to the destination, this way people hopefully will really build up there own unique knowledge of light and how it impacts on a subject either that being a car or indeed anything else, this way I firmly believe that we give ourselves the opportunity too build up that all important ‘rolodex’ of experience in our minds that builds not only professional ability but also allows us to create and develop our own unique styles which is essential in my view…

    Enjoy the other classes that will be launching soon and most of all enjoy your photography no matter what level you are at! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  7. Profile photo of antwantonwer antwantonwer

    The courses are awesome and informative; however, my imac is pretty fast, but apparently not fast enough to play the videos properly. It keeps pausing. It is really annoying —- Yes, please post my feedback

  8. Profile photo of RandyH RandyH

    This is the course that finally had me press the trigger to subscribe to the training. Please don’t worry about your German accent, the English is clear and the lessons well planned and layed out. I will no doubt be watching this course a few more times as I have always loved to photograph cars and need all the tips I can get. I also want to make sure I didn’t miss any tips for shooting outdoors as I hope to start shooting outdoors soon and would love to hear any tips on getting the detail in the cars while outside with no model. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  9. Profile photo of jamesconn jamesconn

    super course, well explained, made a hard job look easy, sign of a good instructor —- Yes, please post my feedback

  10. Profile photo of Stefano Sergi Stefano Sergi

    Very interesting!! Good job, Tim!!
    But your speech isn’t very easy to understand for me, uff!!!
    Stefano Sergi —- Yes, please post my feedback

  11. Profile photo of Garry Fraser Garry Fraser

    …can’t wait to see more of Tim’s work! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  12. Profile photo of Helge Tveter Helge Tveter

    Great course! Simple, to the point, no BS – very instructive and inspiring!!

  13. Profile photo of tnoe27 tnoe27

    I really enjoyed this course. The photographer came across as a little bit defensive at times about his process (which was wholly unnecessary), but his breakdown of how he chose the lights and how he arrived at the position and power of each light was awesome. I would definitely watch another video by him again.

  14. Profile photo of chelo chelo

    I have seen several courses here but none has had me glued to the seat as this one. I am “inspired” by the clarity and ease Wallace explains how the final image will become. I can’t wait to see more courses from him.

  15. Profile photo of Jasondenham Jasondenham

    Loved this one! Have been anticipating Tim being on KT for a long time–keep it coming please!

  16. Profile photo of fr8dogphoto fr8dogphoto

    Great class. Really like the way be builds the light and has a very practical approach. Tim makes me feel like I could work on this in my garage to get started.

  17. Profile photo of Ray Warren Ray Warren

    Cool course Tim. Great information cleverly imparted. Loved it. More please!

  18. Profile photo of Garry Fraser Garry Fraser

    …can’t wait to see more of Tim Wallace. We have viewed his work online for several years and wished that someday Kelby Training would notice too. Thank you so much!
    Garry ‘n Karri, Contre Jour Studios.

  19. Profile photo of jmp859 jmp859

    Interesting topic and cool location but seemed like way too much repetitive talking and not enough shooting.

  20. Profile photo of jtraver jtraver

    Excellent. Great communication skills and approach to lighting was easy to grasp as well as inspiring..

  21. Profile photo of Tom Quinn Tom Quinn

    I LOVE SHOOTING CARS. Its a new passion for me and I have to say Tim is another excellent instructor that Kelby Media snatched up. WAY TO GO!!!! I have learned so much from this course and cant wait for the other courses from him!!!!

  22. Profile photo of Mark Oliver Ancheta Mark Oliver Ancheta

    we need a part 2 3 4 guys!

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