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Auto shows add excitement to car photography

Auto show season means busy days for the car photography world.

And at Detroit’s 2012 North American International Show, the rest of the automotive industry, the media and the public has been getting some of their first live looks at this year’s new models.

Now everyone has been getting to see if the cars are as sleek in person as they are in all those advance photos. In this year’s line-up, there’s something to catch everyone’s eye.

Business Insider is focusing on concept cars and production cars, while websites like’s top five are drawn to more practical models from various companies.

Business Insider likes the look of the Lexus LF-LC Coupe, Honda’s new NSX super car and Toyota’s NS-4 plug-in hybrid.’s  favorites, on the other hand, include the 2012 Tesla Model S, the 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo and the 2013 Cadillac ATS. The site will also stop by the Mercedes-Benz booth, where the company is showcasing a new SL Roadster and two E-Class hybrids.

And those are just a select few of the models on display this year —as we said, these are busy days.

We’re never too busy to talk about car photography, though, so contact us  if we can put our professional skills to work for you.

Car photography steps out in style

Thanks to an idea from Ford Motor Co., car photography has outdone itself.

Looking for a way to celebrate its 100 years in Britain, Ford commissioned a pair of European fashion designers to incorporate a Ford Focus Pictures— or at least parts of one — into a photo shoot, reports in a new post.

The result? A head-turning spread featuring 2011 Miss Scotland Jennifer Reoch in an elegant Edwardian dress and necklace … and lots of shiny, red car parts. The designers are Judy Clark of Scotland and Katherine Hawkins of Britain. Hawkins doesn’t even drive.

2009 Dacia Logan Laureate Minivan Stock Photography

Passenger side profile view of a 2009 Dacia Logan Laureate Minivan

“The massive red rear lights were a bit of a challenge,” Clark admits in her blog. “I sawed off the back section with a hack saw to shed some bulk and weight, then drilled holes in top section attaching wire and kilt straps so they could be clipped on and off. I attached the lights and the entire bustle to an industrial sized leather belt to carry the weight.”

But it was worth it. The pictures are getting attention on both sides of the ocean and across the web, including in a YouTube video.

2015 Lincoln Navigator Select 5 Door

2015 Lincoln Navigator Select 5 Door SUV Angular Front Three Quarter View

Who knows? Clark jokes, maybe Lady Gaga will borrow one of those taillights for her next video. It all goes to show the key role creative teams and skilled photographers can play in promoting car lines.

Car photography sets off industry buzz

The 2013 Dodge Dart is generating a lot of buzz in automotive circles — and some of that might have started with successful car photography. The new Dart comes with a six-speed dual clutch transmission or a nine-speed automatic that could push fuel economy to 40 miles per gallon, Motor Trend reports. But the pictures caught the magazine’s eye first, writer Christian Seabaugh notes in a new post for the magazine.

2015 Dodge Dart SE 4 Door Sedan

2015 Dodge Dart SE 4 Door Sedan Angular Front Three Quarter View

“We were teased earlier this week by photos of the sleek new 2013 Dodge Dart, but Dodge conveniently left out some important details as it prepares for its launch. Key among those details were fuel economy figures, and transmission options,” Seabaugh writes.

Interesting — and telling — points, we’d say.

 2013 Dodge Dart Rallye sedan

Low aggressive passenger side front three quarter view of 2013 Dodge Dart Rallye sedan

First, quality photography gets cars noticed. Even among automotive aficionados like the folks at Motor Trend.

Second, proper staging can even help a car that’s being presented as economically practical put its most stylish foot forward.

It’s another example of the value of involving car photography professionals.

By the way, the 2013 Dart, which will be built in Chrysler’s Belvidere, Ill., plant, will debut at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month, Motor Trend reports. And as the pictures prove, it’s a head-turner. Contact us  if you’d like professional expertise with your next automotive marketing campaign.

The cloak-and-dagger side of car photography

When marketing-minded automotive companies roll out new models, they generally do it with some flair and fanfare. And if they can, they do it on their own terms.

That’s why they turn to car photography providers who can show they have high-quality skills — and can show some discretion.

As competitive and image-conscious as the worldwide automotive industry has become, security and spying have become secretive spinoff businesses all their own.

Car spies do their best to sneak photos of yet-to-be-released models while automakers go to extreme lengths to keep the wraps on their new products.

“The stakes,” Bloomberg Businessweek reports in a detailed article, “are huge.”
Automakers, of course, don’t want competitors to steal their intellectual property. But they’re also guarding current-model sales.

“There’s a school of thought that says once you show the new (version of a vehicle), it could impact sales of the current one, even if it’s a few years out,” explains Terry Rhadigan, director of GM’s global product development team.

Here’s how seriously car companies take security, the Bloomberg article says:
“They cloak vehicles during transport. They create ‘mules,’ cars with updated running gear hidden under the body of a current model. And they use camouflage — darkened trim, grafted prosthetics, black vinyl patches, or arresting paint patterns.”

It’s as dead serious as a John Le Carré novel. But it’s the kind of precaution and precision that we understand — and use. Contact us if you need an ally.

A concept car that calls for professional car photography

Toyota’s new Fun VII Concept Car could make adjusting the color a challenge for car photography.

The star of this year’s Tokyo Motor Show can change its paint scheme in the blink of an eye. And with a simple upload from a smart phone or computer, the exterior can light up with a photo, a company logo or even a video.

Wow. That will take some calibrating.

The possibilities for the car’s appearance seem endless, notes — anything from keying in a different color every day of the week to adorning it with flowers for your wife’s birthday or pictures of your pets.

For businesses, the advantages are obvious: Phone numbers, awards, daily specials — just upload them onto the doors or back bumper. And that’s not even counting practical applications like posting missing-person alerts or warnings to other drivers about approaching road hazards. For photographers, though?

Just as limitless.

Professional stock shooters could capture the Fun VII’s rounded curves and driver perks (the futuristic interior features are a whole other subject) — and they could effectively demonstrate the benefits of the car’s chameleon-like exterior.

Perhaps more than most hot models, a car like this underscores the need for effective and creative photography. This is a good thing, because izmostudio loves a challenge.

Stock Photography: Cheaper Is Not Better

We’ve all heard the phrase a picture is worth a thousand words.  It’s cliche, it’s a bit over used.  The same is true for stock photography that is seen over and over.  In the medical device industry, for example, the same photograph of physicians in an operating room is on numerous websites and brochures. In fact, if you are on a certain stock photography website you can see that the image has been downloaded over 1,700 times.  Why?  Perhaps because it’s cheap, about $3.00 for a web photo.  Surely there are other photographs that capture the message the vendor is trying to portray without using the same image everyone else is using.

When developing content for a client, you are hired to make them and their product standout from the competition, so following the crowd with cheap car stock photos is not going to help you win their business in the future.  Just because something is cheap does not make it better, it means everyone else is using it.  So just like a car conveys individual personality, so should the images chosen to market the client’s project.

Here are 3 tips to choosing the right stock photography:

1. Selection – Choose a company that offers a large variety of selection and who takes their own photographs. When working on your own car photo library, or one for a client, having a large selection of high quality and proprietary photos to choose creates sizzle and makes an impact on the project.

2. Rights/Releases – The rights associated with companies who take their own pictures are guaranteed as opposed to a generic company who takes photos from all types of photographers, the rights can become confusing and you could cause problems later because the original photographer may not have given permission for certain usage.

3. Membership/Database creation – If you foresee needing a large inventory of car photography, select a company that allows you to create an affordable database, so that if a client needs something quickly you already have access to the image.

Seeing a photo of our dream car lets our imagination take us to another world…. driving in the mountains, hugging curves in a sports car, accelerating at mind-blowing speeds on the autobahn, somewhere other than where we are in the moment.  We think this quote sums it up:

Photography, as we all know, is not real at all. It is an illusion of reality with which we create our own private world.-Arnold Newman

Here at izmostock we are ready to help you, or your clients, create illusions with compelling and original car photography.

Contact us to learn more!

Car Photography or Sleek Psychology?

You don’t need anyone to tell you what you like.

Sleek lines on a fancy late-model European sports car, backlit by an incredible sunset. Or maybe it’s a classic muscle car that pumps you up; lit up with bright summer sunshine and parked at the beach.

But did you know there’s psychology at work in that picture you’re entranced with?

This October 27, 2011 article by Derek Thompson on showcases the differences between a “thinking” advertisement vs. a “feeling” one:

Imagine two commercials for a new light beer. The first ad begins with a super-zoom of the luxurious, golden liquid tumbling into a tall clear glass. There is a man’s voice: “All of the taste you want in a rich beer. Only half the calories.”

The second ad starts in a bar. As a gaggle of unshaven men with floppy bellies are circling two beautiful women, like fat buzzards, a well-built man in a svelte black suit approaches the bar and orders a light beer. The women hear him and turn. He looks back. “Make that three,” he tells the barkeep. The slogan appears: “Light is the new strong.”

You can probably guess where I’m going here. The first ad relied on facts. The second relied on emotional influence. Advertising execs and researchers commonly say that all ads are either rational or emotional. Of course, this is a gross oversimplification, and everybody knows it. Rational ads can still be beautiful, and beauty influences. Sexy ads can be logical, and logic persuades.

Regardless of the angle your ad is using to attract customers, your Custom Automotive Photography will affect the customer in a way you may not be able to control. The most successful ads play on our desires, both conscious and unconscious.

In the end, which ad type is better: rational or affective? Hard to say, and even the psychology community may not be able to solve this puzzle.

Stock Photography: More Acceleration or Better Gas Mileage?

Everyone has felt that emotional feeling of… Varooom!!!  It happens when you look at a photo of a car you really crave.  It’s an exciting feeling; almost a guilty pleasure, that our studios in Long Beach and Brussels happily bring to life daily.

Our industry, that is both the car world and stock photography, specialize in designing and creating emotional thoughts. Most advertising executives will tell you, people make their decisions to buy based on emotion and later back up their gut feelings with logic. They want to experience that quick acceleration off the line; but then drive home and tell their neighbor how everything came down to gas mileage and safety features.

Remember the ad campaign by Maxell Cassette Tapes in the 1970’s… The Blown Away Guy? (see bleow) So good it should have been sports car ad (Ok I’m dating myself a little). That single image by Steve Steigman launched a hugely successful campaign for Hitachi and over time has morphed into an icon of pop culture.

Or the recent images surrounding the Japanese Tsunami, they shaped emotions of all kinds in us. These emotionally horrific photos caused us to logically think about ways to help and how to better to prepare our communities for the unthinkable.

Images are powerful tools that convey emotion. Our library at izmostock is full of images that will make your emotional prospects into logical buyers contact us.

Stock photos of cars, with or without "esthetic value"

We have car stock photography here, rights-managed photos of interest mainly to ad agencies, art directors, graphic designers, etc. They come to us because they are looking for specific photos, usually of specific cars, or with some other detailed requirement in mind.

Do those photos have “esthetic value”? Sure. They look great.

2015 Audi A7 S Line 5 Door

Rear Three Quarter View of 2015 Audi A7 S Line 5 Door Hatchback Stock Photo

Not everyone might like those photos. Someone who only likes bicycles might think the photos are even ugly.

Why is this an issue? Seems that in Long Beach, California, the police think that they can detain anyone taking photos that have “no esthetic value.”


It’s true. According to this story, police can detain anyone taking photos in which the police think there is nothing esthetically pleasing about the subject.

We think most police officers are terrific, and we imagine that most of them have a discerning eye for under age drivers, parole violators, dangerous road hazards, and a million other things. But we do not think that police officers are in any kind of position to be judging the esthetic value of a photograph.

2009 Ford Flex Stock Photo

Low aggressive front three quarter view of a 2009 Ford Flex

Maybe that’s a part of why the ACLU is reportedly suing the nearby LA Sheriff’s Department.

“Photography is not a crime. It’s protected 1st Amendment expression,” Peter Bibring, senior staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California told the LA Times. “It violates the Constitution’s core protections for sheriff’s deputies to detain and search people who are doing nothing wrong. To single them out for such treatment while they’re pursuing a constitutionally protected activity is doubly wrong.”

Even more wrong would be if someone stopped us from selling photos, but we think for now we are safe.

For more information about our (constitutionally protected) images, please contact us.

VW Golf Now & Then

In this post I am back to shameless plugs and studio project updates. In August izmostudio worked on a campaign for DDB, from our studio in Brussels. The reinvention of the VW Golf is the brand vision behind this campaign. Our goal was to show the Volkswagen Golf then and now.

photo of ads produced for VW Golf campaign

The reinvention of the VW Golf

We received a 1979 Golf from the amazing car museum of Belgian VW importer, D’Ieteren, and a flawless new VW Golf off the showroom floor. Our challenge was to have the 1979 Golf look like new next to the new 2011 Golf, so that the viewer is only comparing lines of design.

After a serious car prep session, Blondie, Village People, and The Knack got the team in the mood. Those are bands from the late 1970’s. Our modular lighting style and in house retouching team came together, so the ’79 Golf looks like new again.

In September, for about a week or so, we had that funny photographer feeling, while seeing this ad plastered at just about every transit station in Brussels. Fun.

photo of 1979 Volkswagen Golf

Volkswagen Golf then and now photos