Shooting Car Shows

With Back to the Bricks raging at full speed today I thought I would give you some tid-bits on photographing cars.

Shooting at a show is a tough thing to pull off well. There are tons of people and other cars all over the place which make it difficult to get a high-quality shot. That’s why my first tip is to find a car that’s on the end, or fairly secluded from the other shoulder-to-shoulder groups. If you want to go crazy, show up early to find more cars with some open space around them.

If you find yourself pulling your hair out from not finding a shot with junk in the background, there is still hope. Shoot it, and when you edit the image later on, simply isolate the car and blur our the background, even desaturate and darken them a bit for better results.

Most classic cars are filled with interesting details, so focus on those. Zoom in real tight and flip on Macro mode and grab an uber-close shot of your favorite details.

Shoot for an overcast day – when the sun is blasting you will get nasty blown-out reflections on any shiny part of the car. When skies are overcast, your light source is large, sweet, and diffused.

Off With Her Hand!

Nothing bugs me more than a beautiful photo at the perfect time of day, great shot, and the subjects finger, toe, or hand is cut off from the edge of the photo! You can really step up the quality of your photos by simply paying close attention to where hands and feet are located for the shoot.

Keep them limbs away from the edge of the photo! Cut them off far down the arm, as more of a head shot or let them breathe.

Go 100% or 0%
This is a good general rule to follow when dealing with any composition challenge. Think about some photos where the top of someone’s head just meets the top of the image – it looks weird, and unbalanced. You’ve either got to chop that head a good length down, or give it some space.

It’s just my personal opinion, but chopping the ends of limbs is a deal breaker for me. Keep a look out – you decide!

Canon VS Nikon

A lot of people see me shooting with Canon equipment and assume I have an inner hate for Nikon. I’ve got no beef with Nikon, but there is a lot of trash talk out there, from both sides of the fence. The truth is that both Canon and Nikon make some amazing equipment and I can’t say a bad thing about either companies. Canon does seem to have a slight edge in the lens depart though, specifically the 70-200 model.

So, Why Canon?
I fell in love with photography after my son Jericho was born. We bought a Canon A635 point-and-shoot to take tons of baby photos and I did just that. When the time came for me to buy some pro-level equipment, I simply felt more comfortable staying with Canon. That initial $200 A635 purchase dictated the future of my gear choices.

I think this is probably true for many. The first camera is like a gateway drug that will take you down the path of that brand, unless the camera is complete trash, then it will steer you in the opposite direction!

First “Giving Back” Family Selected

I received a number of requests over the past few weeks from the new Giving Back page on my website. I’m happy to announce today that a family has been chosen and will be announced very soon!

How You Can Help
I am giving away outdoor 1H portrait sessions ($275 value) to families that otherwise could not afford a professional photographer. If you know of a needy family that would appreciate a free photo package, please visit and click on “Nominate A Family”.

Shane Gramling is a photographer serving Flint, Grand Blanc, and many surrounding counties. For more information about what Shane is up to, visit

Shooting in Flint, Michigan

It’s a tough gig living as a portrait photographer in a city like Flint, Michigan, but as bad as things seem to get, it’s always important to remember the good that’s going on as well – and that, the simple act of acknowledging the good,  can take a lot of mental work on your own.

If you’ve lived on this planet for any number of years you’ve probably learned that no one is out to help you succeed. You cannot count on anyone to lift you up.

You have to do it yourself.
You have to get up every morning and tell yourself that you are worth something.

Because no one else is going to do it. Think about it for a minute. Every encounter throughout the day will tell you that you are not good enough. We are pressed down all day long by our own failures through past experiences, words from others, and a constant stream of media telling us how we’re supposed to be living.

When you start doing this and people find out about it, get ready for a fight. Friends and family will tell you that you’re being boastful and cocky. They will call you a hypocrite, and some may call you mentally ill.  That’s because that too are being pressed down by everyone and everything.

Don’t let them take it from you – it’s yours!

Free Photography? Yes.

Because I know what it’s like to just barely get by.

I was raised in Flint on government assistance in a single-parent home, and through that experience I have gained an appreciation for the programs that helped during our time of need. Our cupboards were filled with the help of the Food Bank and I remember getting that mystery box of random goodies for Christmas from the Old Newsboys of Flint for a number of years.

Now I’m doing my part by giving away outdoor 1H portrait sessions ($275 value) to families that otherwise could not afford a professional photographer. If you know of a needy family that would appreciate a free photo package, please fill out the form on this page.