Hot Wheels Photography 101

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What do you call a spoon, knife and fork? a...... SPIFRK! Meaning of life right there.

Intro: Hot Wheels Photography 101

I have always wondered: ''Why is it so hard to merge two totally different subjects into one?'' It is like trying to merge lava and water. It is frustrating. BUT.... with the one and only ''Hot wheels photography 101'', the impossible just became a reality. (The first caveman said that when fire was invented)

You are about to witness the first, tips and tricks of hot wheels photography 101.

Get your toy cars and camera ready for action!

Step 1: What Is Needed?

I'm not a photo guru, Lets face it: CAMERAS ARE EXPENSIVE. I sadly don't have access to an amazing:

''Canon EOS Rebel T7i DSLR'' (that last part is a camera.... not an ancient dialect.)

Photos taken with:

-Iphone 5c

-Canon G9 camera

Extras and subjects:

-Toy cars

-Homemade macro lens

Photo editing software:

-Adobe lightroom for Iphone

Step 2: The Basics of Iphone

Most of these photos are taken by Iphone. (This is a touchy subject: ''SAMSUNG! Iphone!'')

HOW?

-Point at subject.

-Focus.

-Press the shutter.

-Done.

Step 3: Toy Car Basics

Not all, toy cars are made equally. I find that the limited edition hot wheels cars work best (the cars in the photos are the hot wheels track or race day.)

Some cars are made with headlights. (I'll get to that later.)

Some toy cars are made with rubber wheels.

Some toy cars are made with roll cages!

If the car has more detail, the final product will be a better photo.

Step 4: Lighting (Artificial)

These photos were taken with the ''Canon G9 camera''

Lighting can add drama and depth to your subject. With Hot wheels, some of them are more detailed and have head and taillights. These reflect and give realism to your subject.

Artificial ''hard light''

-The light reflects from the headlights to give the illusion of working lights.

-If the subject is not put in the right place, it will be fuzzy and over exposed.

-Using a better camera than an iphone is an asset because it will capture more detail and will have less bright spots.

Step 5: Lighting (natural)

These photos were taken with an Iphone camera

Natural light will cause your colours to POP and your audience will have their eyes POP! (In a good way...) It brings out the dazzle in the paint and the brilliance in the gloss coat. Thus darker or lighter of the weather means a different amount of drama to the work.

Natural light

-Take care in the amount of glare that the sun gives off on your cars coat of paint.

-When using filters on your image, remember that sometimes natural looking photos is the main focus. If you have a horrible, over edited shot of the car, it will look like the photo is fake.

Step 6: Here Comes the Sun!

When taking photos of cars in the sun, make sure to take into account that shadows play a big part in the overall image quality. If the photo is taken with the sun to the backside of the car, a shadow will appear. Sure, this gives realism but you don't get the brilliance or shine of the sun TOWARDS the subject.

Steps to take-

-Take photos of the car with light source facing towards it.
-Use the brilliance and sparkle of the cars paint to enhance your shot.

-Focus on your subject for a clear shot.

Step 7: Filters

Sometimes, filters will play into your car and the final shot....

The car and the filter-

-Old car = Old looking filter.

-New car = Neon, bright filter.

-Monotone plays real well into making you look into the details, not always the colour of the car.


Step 8: Vignette Amount...

Vignette is touchy, too much, and it looks like you are looking through a huge tube of darkness. Too little, and it looks like nothing has even happened.

To get it right:

-Use the right light source - If you have crazy bright light, it looks like the light of heaven.

-Find the right amount.... The Goldilocks amount: ''just right''

-Try to get the whole subject in the shot. If the car is cut off at halfway, chances are that it will be cut off even more than what it already was.

Step 9: Angles

I like angles. Don't we all? If you can get it just right it will elongate or show off a part of the car. To do this there are Two options:

Take the shot with your camera angled-

1) Angle your camera however you want.

2) Take your shot.

Or...

Edit the angle of your shot-

1) Take your photo.

2) Upload your chosen photo to your preferred photo editing software.

3) Edit away!

Step 10: Location, Location, Location

Here in the first photo, an innocent VW bug roams the muddy, dirty woods. See, it doesn't fit the location at all. It looks like a dirty oversized egg.....

In the next photo, a Jeep now roams the muddy, dirty woods. Now that seems more like it. Rugged Jeep, muddy woods. A match made in heaven.

Step 11: Cropping an Image

Cropping an image of your car lets you fully grasp one detail of the car. If the image is muddled and full of confusing background things, just crop it to show one part of the car!

Step 12: Background Props

In the background, I have a model bomber plane. The car has attributes of an old WW2 delivery van.

Steps to getting the photo-

1) Get your two subjects. (A car and bomber in this case.)

2) Line them up for the shot.

3) Take the shot.

4) Upload to editing software.

5) Put filter and vignette on the image in preferred software.

Step 13: Focal Points

Focal points are hard. To really grasp what a focal point is, it is the point in which light meets. In your eye, your focal point is on your retina. (Unless you are near or far sighted.) Focal points are important if you want to have a sharp striking image that is full of depth, shadows and highlights.

In the images:

1) The focal point is the red taillight. Everything else is blurry in the shot.

2) The focal point is the middle of the black cab cover on the Studebaker.

3) The focal point on the police car is the door under the red lights.

Step 14: Macro

Macro means: Itty bitty teeny tiny. Macro photography is one of my favourite because it lets you take in so much detail of an otherwise unseen object.

To get great shots-

-Focus, focus, focus. Get a very clear shot and don't under or overexpose your shot.

-Angles are your friend. Different angles result in a different shot

-If your car has details, your shot will be great! Rivets, wipers, lights and decals are all wanted for a final product.

Step 15: Lowdown

Taking your photos low, and close to the ground will make your shot look real and give the illusion of having a real car in your midst. It prides the wheels and bumpers as detail and really sells the whole wrap.

Step 16: Hightop

Taking your photos from a higher place will give a feeling of high proportions. Bigger everything.

Step 17: Final Photos

As the great Albert Einstein once said: "creativity is contagious, pass it on."

I think if everyone that saw and read this instructable, took a photo of their favourite toy car, instructables would become a tighter knit community. Pass it on.

If you think that this instructable is worth a favourite or a vote please do!

Cheers,

mrwonton

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    17 Discussions

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    Penolopy Bulnick

    5 months ago

    Nice job taking a relativly simple thing (toy car) and making it seem epic :D

    1 reply
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    cdavenport

    5 months ago

    Nice try, but your choice of camera seriously limits the depth of field. You need a lens with a much smaller aperture approaching f27 to make the model look real. Admittedly, the first photo of the Star Destroyer is Photoshopped into the cosmic background, but the model itself is over 2 feet long from stem to stern. It is all in sharp focus. The last two photos were shot using the techniques you described, only with a lens that gave me great depth of field. Those models are outdoors at least 100 yards from their respective real backgrounds in order to achieve the correct perspective. Finally, a macro lens is only useful for close-up photography where depth of field is not an issue. In your most basic photos, the subjects themselves are out of focus from front to rear.

    Star Destroyer dump a.jpgIMG_0007.jpgMig 29 on the ramp.jpg
    2 replies
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    ndr1968cdavenport

    Reply 5 months ago

    I think you got it on the first two photos. Models often give away their true size by their incorrect treatment of contoured or small radial surfaces. This is where photo shop comes in to the rescue. The fuel truck in the third photo being a case in point. The red tank highlights need to be "thinned" a bit making the tank and accessories appear more realistic.

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    mrwontoncdavenport

    Reply 5 months ago

    Very nice photos you took, you are a skilled photographer! Keep on creating!

    (thank you for the advice)

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    nedchurch

    5 months ago

    Great angles and focal points. The low angles are the key to using the model in a real-life background. A friend just sent me these taken with a camera phone. There are no close by objects to upset the sense of scale with the Yamaha so the bike looks quite realistic - it's a 1/12 scale model. In the second picture the fence is too close so the Moto Guzzi looks a bit small.

    YAMAHA VIRAGO 1000  (1).jpgMOTO GUZZI V10 CENTAURO (1).jpg
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    mrwontonnedchurch

    Reply 5 months ago

    Very nice photos, I agree with you. the Yamaha bike looks more realistic.

    keep on creating!

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    Great tutorial! I am sharing this with my model car building husband. He has been building models since he was a kid in the 60’s. Getting macro shots of 1/25 scale wiring is a challenge with lighting, flash, etc!

    I use a Lume Cube (used most often for lighting GoPro cameras) for additional lighting in my light box when lighting my jewelry. Lume Cube makes a holder that attaches to the iPhone. It puts out a powerful amount of light!

    1 reply
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    srilyk

    5 months ago

    Very nice! I'm inspired. I dig it.

    1 reply
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    mrwontonsrilyk

    Reply 5 months ago

    Go get out your camera right now! ;D

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    tercero

    5 months ago

    Have you previously taken a photography course. As one poster has already stated, you're very talented.

    1 reply
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    mrwontontercero

    Reply 5 months ago

    I have not. Thank you though, it is very nice of you to say that!

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    IJustLikeMakingThings

    6 months ago

    Three things.

    1) I want to know more about this homemade macro lens.

    2) Were all these photos taken with the macro lens?

    3) I'm a little envious of your photography skills.

    1 reply
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    mrwontonIJustLikeMakingThings

    Reply 6 months ago

    Three answers-

    1) Macro lens instructable soon....

    2) Not all of the photos were taken with the macro lens. ( Or all of them would be super close up.)

    3) I'm flattered, thank you very much!

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    Jadem52

    6 months ago

    Very cool way to use old cars and practice photography, have you entered this into the pro tips contest, I'd vote for you if you did.

    1 reply
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    mrwontonJadem52

    Reply 6 months ago

    I did originally but it did not update..... I will soon! look out for it!