Category “Blog”

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

Is this a Stock Photography Game Changer?

There is no argument against the fact that the stock photography industry is in a state of radical flux. Congruently there is not one voice that has a clear vision of how to move this industry forward for creators, sellers, and buyers alike. The purveyors of the old school preach industry melt down doom and gloom, and the new mini micro evangelists tout salvation in high volume sales of tokens.

The basic business principles of over saturation in product supply and the parallel opportunities presented by the vast new customer segments afforded by extremely low barriers to entry are an interesting problem to solve. The various licensing business models are all stretched to meet this new media demand in a global market place of free flowing information. No mater which soap box you stand on all three stock licensing business models of rights managed, royalty free and micro stock end in short comings towards meeting the win-win digital delivery divide between consumer an provider. Especially with agency and portal gatekeepers promoting a race to the bottom by competing on price alone.

This is an exciting problem to solve. We know that value add solutions come from thinking different. Thanks Apple. And given the transformational times we are in, a complete game changer is what is needed in the stock photo industry.

Along comes Stipple and their image market place. In the simplest terms what Stipple is offering is technology that flips the stock photography licensing business model upside down. Publishers of stock photography want free images, done. Brands want images that add value to their massive investments in brand identity and laser targeted trackable results, done. Talented creators of beautiful photographs, which make the psych emotional bond, and motivates consumer action before they read a single line of marketing pitch, want a fare share of the revenue their images deliver to the brands, almost done.

“[Stipple] solution is the only solution that protects the rights of all parties in the ecosystem and ensures that everyone is paid and their rights are respected.” Rey Flemings, Chief Executive of Stipple

Stipple technology removes the pain point for publishers spending up front for images and recuperating licensing investment through on page advertising and real sales. With Stipple, publishers use images with trackable ingenious metadata tags (annotations) that give the publisher and creator a revenue share based on the brands campaign. Removing the pain from transaction is something I think we will much more of. Notice how iTunes sends the invoice four days after you buy or rent a movie? The benefit and enjoyment are distanced from the financial experience, which often comes with negative association.

There are two forms of revenue generating tags within Stipple images:
1. Pay per Engagement: Shop
2. Pay per Click: Info, Want, People

Here is an example of how this might work. Let’s say Fiat signs up a campaign around the launch of the 500 in the USA. izmostock places photographs of the Fiat 500 in the Stipple Cloud (market place). Publishers up and down the automotive vertical use the Fiat 500 pictures in blogs, dealer websites, accessories, insurance, and service, ect. The public then interacts with these images and eventually 10,000 people click on the want tag, which stores this information by user similar to a wish list. The brand (Fiat) sees this threshold of 10,000 wants and sends out a promotion. Publishers and us (izmostock) get a revenue share of this promotion plus the pay per click action.

Here is another good example of how a photographer can benefit from this game changer.

In this stock photography business model all parties are in partnership. Whether it will be a successful outcome for all three remains to be seen. I think it has digital age solution potential even though from my biased perspective it favors publishers and brands more than image creators. As with any disruptive business model, the challenge is shifting an industry that has been doing business the same way for decades or more.


Popular Photography | How to Light Black

The 2011 August issue of Popular Photography magazine features one of our custom studio creations in a How To Lighting section. Our very own izmostudio automotive photographer, Andreas Lunde’s night time steering wheel of an Audi S3 caught the eye of Senior Editor, Peter Kolonia, for this informative article. Click on the photo below to read the interview and see how this challenging photograph was made.

How to lighting article by Popular Photography magazine.