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Porsche’s Official Race Photographer Shows You How to Snap Better Pictures

You're gonna learn today.

If doodling in a coloring book or joining an iRacing team are too childish for you, Porsche is offering a series of classes from some of its most skilled employees and contributors. The automotive masterclasses are designed to help you become a better all-around gearhead, with lessons on everything from photography to automotive design, all available for free. The first lesson is a primer on automotive photography from Richard Pardon, the official photog for the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team.

If you’ve thought of picking up a new skill while you’re in lockdown, this is a great chance to learn a bit about the world of automotive photography. You’re not going to come out of quarantine shooting Pikes Peak for a major car magazine, but Pardon’s camera tips should give you a good baseline to get out and shoot some of your own cars—while following social distancing, of course. You don’t have to go out and buy a hardcore camera to start shooting, either. Pardon likes smartphone cameras for their simplicity, saying “having too much choice between lenses, apertures, shutter speeds, and so on can sometimes be a burden: if you think about a shot too much you can miss the moment, but with a phone, you’re always ready to capture.” He recommends using apps like VSCO for coloring and filtering, Adobe Lightroom for basic editing, and Unfold for creating layouts to share on social media.

He likes shooting multiple photos across an entire day, which he says offers a variety of lighting and staging opportunities to get different perspectives on the cars. Shutter speed, lighting, and composition all play a major part in the process as well, but the technical details will matter less if you’re using a smartphone to get started, since they do most of the heavy lifting on aperture and other settings for you. Pardon suggests lighting cars from a higher angle, which he says creates more interesting angles and dramatic lines. He says to face toward the sun or light source to give a backlit look to your photos for more dramatic effect.

Porsche is encouraging its fans to submit their own photos on the Porsche Newsroom Instagram page using the hashtag #GetCreativeWithPorsche. More tips from Richard Pardon are coming to Instagram soon, and we can look forward to Michael Mauer, Porsche’s Head of Style, showing us how to sketch a 911 in the coming weeks.

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