Shooting Detail Shots of an Aston Martin Vantage

Last week when I posted my detail shots of exotic cars from the duPont Registery’s in-house collection, a buddy of mine Karl-Franz Marquez dropped me a line about it, and included some shots he had taken of his own car, a beautiful Aston Martin Vantage that he also shot “Tim Wallace” style (after watching some of Tim’s online classes at

He had some taken some beautiful shots, and I was totally digging on his car, and Karl-Franz offered to drive over for the day (around 150 miles each way) to let me shoot this British made Aston Martin, and so yesterday we did an afternoon shoot, indoors at our headquarters inside our video studios.

Above: Here’s the behind-the-scenes shot of the image at the top of the page. That’s Karl-Franz holding a second flash to light the grill in the front of the bar (it’s half the size and power of the large soft box lighting the wheel and edge of the hood above). So, it’s two strobes total powered by the Elinchrom Quadra Ranger powerpack hanging from the light stand in front of me. Camera settings: ISO 100, Aperture f/22, Shutter Speed 1/200 of a second. Full power on the strobe. 

NOTE: The screen screen area behind the car is just there by coincidence — we rolled the car into that part of our video studio so we’d have room to shoot it —  it had nothing to do with our photo shoot (other than spilling green on the other side of the car so we could only shoot on one side).

Above: here’s a detail shot of the engine. I went back and watched Tim’s class and he had a segment on shooting engines so I just followed his instruction to get this shot. 

Above: here’s the behind-the-scenes shot of the engine shot you just saw. Just one light with a long strip-bank positioned opposite me. I’m shooting with a Macro zoom lens. 

Above: After watching Tim’s videos on shooting car details, there was something I missed the right time around, and it’s that he angles the wheels about 20° and it definitely does make a difference. 

Above: here’s the behind-the-scenes of the wheel shot. Not particularly glamorous — a lot of laying on the floor or shooting on your knees (fun on concrete). Just one light for this one. Same settings — shooting at f/22 (or up to f/32 in some cases) makes the light fall of fast to black. 

Here’s a few more shots from the day.

Above: Those three above are just using that one soft box with the long stripbank. All the settings are pretty much the same — f/22 to f/32 so the edges fall off quickly to solid black. I tried to fix a few mistakes I made during the duPont shoot. Luckily, Tim gave me some tips after I sent him some I was struggling with. Mostly, I think I wasn’t getting the softbox in close enough, and I wasn’t powering it high enough, and of course both of Tim’s comments were super helpful. 

Above: I don’t actually like this shot — it didn’t come out quite like I had hoped (I like my rear shot of the Ferrari last week much better lightning wise), but I’m showing it because I did pick up a great tip from Karl-Franz — and that is — he has a black license plate that he uses when shooting cars (seen here). It’s actually the flip-side of the dealer’s license plate that came with the car — how handy is that! :-)

Anyway, I liked the idea so much I ordered a blank, black custom license plate last night from (it was probably not the cheapest way of coming up with an all black license plate, but I was short on time). Anyway, hats off to Karl-Franz for the idea.

Above: Here’s our crew: that’s Karl-Franz’s girlfriend  wife Honey (her real given name); me in the center, and Karl-Franz (fake German guy who owns amazing sports cars and yet is a friend of Vanelli) on the right. 

Above: Seeing as we’re: (a) Shooting a car made in the UK, and (b) using techniques we learned from UK-based commercial automative photographer Tim Wallace, I thought I’d (c) wear my Marshall Amplification Union Jack shirt (legendary guitar amps made in the UK) to create a British “triple threat.” 

A big thinks to Karl-Franz for driving all the way over to our offices to let me shoot one of his cool cars; to Honey for being incredibly patient during the three-hour shoot; to Brad Moore for all his help and suggestions, and of course to the amazing Tim Wallace for helping Me, Karl-Franz, and thousands of other photographers by sharing his awesome automative lighting and shooting techniques.

P.S.  Good news — Tim will be back here in the States filming more classes for Kelby Training very soon (I haven’t seen the full slate of what he’s teaching, but I know I’ll be begging him to do one on lighting car interiors). :)



  1. Hilarious typo in the second paragraph Scott.

    “British Made Austin Martin” instead of “Aston”. Austin was also a British car maker at totally the opposite end of the market to Aston’s.

    1. Many thanks, Tim (as you know, couldn’t have done it without you — the advice helped immensely! Hope you’ll do an interiors class when you’re here (plus, I’ll buy you lunch at City Fish if I can pick your brain for an hour. LOL!!!). Fly safe and we’ll see you soon! :)

      1. Thanks buddy, we will have a chat and a catch up next month, happy for you pick my brains as always

  2. Absolutely beautiful work. Distills the design details in a way that exceeds even their original expression in reality. Thanks for the wide shots showing the approach to lighting, production.

  3. And hopefully my music will help me buy one of those bad boys for myself someday Scott! Man that’s a beauty of the car. Not sure if it’s your photographs that made the car beautiful or is it just the car!

    Great shots!

    D. Tucker | YACHTLIFE

  4. Psst. Don’t tell my wife (Honey) that I spent the weekend with my “girlfriend”. She might get jealous. LOL.
    Thanks for a great day and some yummy Cuban food.

      1. I would be honoured as long as Matt keeps the word ‘flatten’ out if the conversation…. lol

  5. Sometimes I read things different than they are written. For some reason I read this line:
    “Anyway, I liked the idea so much I ordered a blank, black custom license plate last night…” as “Anyway, I liked the idea so much I ordered a black, black custom Vantage last night…”

  6. Tim has taught you well. :) Please let us know when these videos are available for *download*, as your custom player keeps crashing, not to mention the limitations of watching online,etc, etc.

  7. Scott, you out-did yourself on this shoot! There was one of these cars at the New England Auto Show, but is was roped off.
    Interior shots are so tough to do, so a class on this from Tim would be appreciated. Can I also suggest shooting cars in an outdoor setting as well? Such as shooting in spots where you can control the background and in spots where you can’t, best angles, best lenses to use, etc.

  8. An Aston Martin would be my dream car to drive/own. Alas, I’m not in a position to own one or even drive one. Thankfully I can drool over these images and dream about an Aston Martin being parked in the garage. Wonderful shots!

  9. Great post but sorry to be the dweeb to point out a couple more typos. “screen screen” (in the note about the green screen) and “automative” (twice in the last two paragraphs before the P.S.)

  10. I just happened to be wearing my Marshall t-shirt when I saw this blog post. I dedicate my next eardrum pummeling session with my ’73 JMP metal panel to you, Mr. Kelby. Cheers!

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