Learn Automotive Photography in a Flash By Tim Wallace

1 hr 44 min
Difficulty Difficulty Difficulty

Video transcripts available with a subscription.

Join Tim on location as he introduces the concepts covered in this class and jumps right into walking through his process for choosing the location that matches his subject matter.
This class is focused on using a minimal amount of gear, and Tim walks through what he'll be using for this shoot.
The final photograph will be a composite of multiple exposures, so the most important step involves choosing the location for the camera and locking it down.
Start with taking a base ambient exposure (without using the flash), then begin systematically lighting the car.
Adding a rim light along the far side of the car will help set it off from the background.
Lighting the interior is optional, but is worth considering.
Using a red gel on the flash from the vantage point of the brake light can be used to simulate light from the car, while using a blue gel on the flash to light the background can be useful for adding a touch of color to the scene.
Back in the studio it is time to review all of the photos captured on location, start making your selects, and then begin working on your base image.
With your base layer started you can begin going back through your selects and building up toward your final image.
Using the same layer mask technique you can combine the exposure of the lit interior with the base image.
The next phase is to bring in the exposures made to simulate the brake lights on the car.
Tim lit the background in two different ways (once with blue gel and once without), and now has to choose which look he prefers before layering it into the base image.
The final phase of the project is to enhance detail in the image.
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 johnboy10 johnboy10



    1. Profile photo of Aaron Westgate Aaron Westgate

      A rental product has been added to this course.

      Aaron, Web Editor, Kelbyone.com

  2. Profile photo of twickl twickl

    Dear Tim, dear Community,

    is this also a way to light a car by night? How would you get your base exposure? The way I thought you light a car by night is to make 1 long exposure Image and run with your speed light, firing around the car. But I was never happy with the result. Any Tips on how to achieve a good looking light by night with speed lights?

    Thank you!

  3. Profile photo of Christopher Christopher

    Thanks for the great course! All I need now is a garage and someone with a cool car!

  4. Profile photo of Michael Piper Michael Piper

    Absolutely love this class! I used the techniques from this class to shoot the Aston Martin Racing #99 sponsored by Valero late last year! I used 2 Flashes and layered about 20 shots for the final lighting. I have several other shots from that shoot I have been saving and plan to composite and polish this month.

    The images came out great and it all due to Tim’s great training!

  5. Profile photo of RichardJohnson RichardJohnson

    Great course. I learned lots about using a single portable strobe for complex images. I appreciate the workflow section at the back end. Simple and straightforward that I can apply to layering multiple images. Thanks —- Yes, please post my feedback

  6. Profile photo of Ivan Boden Ivan Boden

    Tim’s photography and this class on learning automative photography is amazing. There is so much to learn from Tim, I can’t begin to explain it all. Just watch, learn, and get inspired to try on your own. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  7. Profile photo of JPDesign JPDesign

    Absolutely AMAZING! As usual, Tim brings a concept many of “us” consider out of our reach, either financially or talent-wise, and breaks it down into easy-to-grasp bits that make it seem not only possible, but easy. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  8. Profile photo of Russell Honey Russell Honey

    Very nice and informative class for someone like me who only has one speedlight. I can’t wait to use this technique. Thank you very much for sharing this, Tim. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  9. Profile photo of cthorpe00 cthorpe00

    Awesome class there needs to be more automotive related classes like this thanx again Tim —- Yes, please post my feedback

  10. Profile photo of robertzech robertzech

    Great tutorial and ideas on how to light a car with very basic equipment. Really enjoyed it :) —- Yes, please post my feedback

  11. Profile photo of photo-dave photo-dave

    Very interesting to see what can be done with minimal lighting. I particularly like the way you emphasized taking multiple shots with the light so that it gave you many options to choose from when it came to blending the final image – a very useful tip!

    The way that you used the multiple layers to build up the picture was also very well explained and again something that can be achieved by most people with the benefit of your instruction.

    One question I have is – what sort of ‘lighting pole’ is that you were using (make and availability in the UK would help please)? I have tried using a monopod but it was a bit too heavy to hold extended across a car roof like you did.

    —- Yes, please post my feedback

  12. Profile photo of Charles McGill Charles McGill

    Good course. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  13. Profile photo of Thomas Thomas

    Once again Tim, a really informative course from a true talent. Lots of options and alternative solutions shared – an inspiration rather than a recipe. Well done!
    I’m off out to try some of these, whilst it’s all still fresh in my mind! Keep them coming. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  14. Profile photo of jgabriel jgabriel

    Thanks for the follow-up, and for answering the questions about using a single flash. Great Course. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  15. Profile photo of PatMc PatMc

    Tim, another great class, thanks for sharing. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  16. Profile photo of kenshi2008 kenshi2008

    Very good instructor. I will be going Online more attend classes. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  17. Profile photo of Robert Thompson Robert Thompson

    Very informative! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  18. Profile photo of daniwoodward100 daniwoodward100

    Fantastic class Tim. I really like the fact you were able to show how we could achieve such a great results using relatively little gear. Its nice to see a pro who remembers we don’t all own a heap of equipment. The end result looked great, I look forward to seeing more classes from you in the future. And its nice to see a fellow Brit on Kelby Training. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  19. Profile photo of Adam Adam

    Great class!
    I love Tim’s simple approach to the shoot and to the editing process. Tim used the same methodology in the previous classes, just the equipment was high end. This class is prefect for a hobbyist like myself.

    Again, great work and I can’t wait to see more. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  20. Profile photo of SergeAMH SergeAMH

    As an owner of only one speedlight (for now, at least), I really thank you for this wonderful class. Top notch! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  21. Profile photo of Thierry Thierry

    Thanks Tim
    I really enjoyed this class.. looks of tips ;) —- Yes, please post my feedback

  22. Profile photo of Robin Browne Robin Browne

    Fantastic, very well presented. Thank you Tim and Scott. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  23. Profile photo of Khalid_Bari Khalid_Bari

    Great articulated video, excellent for photographers starting off with and using a simple set of equipment (no high end lighting gear) and demonstrate how one can produce a high quality image. Enjoyed it very much and learned loads thanks. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  24. Profile photo of Tim Wallace Tim Wallace

    Hi guys,

    Hope you have enjoyed the class and it has been of use to consider a method of working of you have very little equipment.
    I would just like to point out one small thing before I get a lot of mails about it…! There is indeed a wire going up my trouser leg throughout the class, its not your eyes deceiving you and contrary to popular belief I am not actually electrically powered ! lol
    The reason is for the sound mic, we had some very high voltage power lines close by when we recorded the class so we opted for a wired mic so that you would not have to put up with a constant buzzing on the sound track.
    Enjoy the class and hope it helps you enjoy your photography a little more.

    Tim —- Yes, please post my feedback

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