Car Corner
Car Calendar Pics

May 1, 2011
By Scott Lewis

Last year I bought a new camera. I have been to as many car shows as possible. My goal is to create my own car calendar. I just bought a printer so now it's time to look through the pictures and see what I can do.

Taking pictures at car shows to use for a calendar is the worst. Even if you are patient and wait until there are no people in your way, there will almost always be people in the background. Then the cars have their hoods up... a major no-no for a calendar shot. Lighting is what you get. Then the cars are parked so close together you can't get a car in a picture by itself.

The problems are enormous. But... there is Photoshop. Below is a Plumb Crazy Cuda. It was fairly isolated when I took the picture. But there was a trash can, and big signs behind the car... including ones you could see in the rear windows of the car. I clean this up pretty well, but I may still spend some time on it.

The pictures after the Cuda are representative of the better pictures from car shows. And as you will see... better is not really good enough. Most will require a lot of Photoshop time. We'll see. I have until the end of the year... since these will be going into a 2012 calendar. 

This is the picture that started this project. When I bought my printer I wanted to see how well it would print a photo. It did great. So...
Here is the same picture after Photoshopping out all the crap. I removed the red car to the left, the lawn chair and trash can to the right, as well as the signs behind the car. Don't forget the one in the back window. I also removed the reflection of a lawn chair in the door. This image is just about ready to go into my 2012 calendar.

I am not going to try to clean up the background on this picture. What I want to do is remove the car completely, then take out the engine view and the logo view from the detail shots and create a collage. I want it to look like something Chip Foose would do as a drawing... but from these photos.
This picture might work as-is. The background is a bit busy, but there are no people and no lawn chairs. I can work with this with just some careful cropping.
Here we have a good chance to clean up the background. We really only need to remove the copper car to the left. Then a little cropping should do the rest.
Now this photo is perfect... NOT! It could be. There is a lot of background to be removed. Plus there is the reflection of a person in the door. However, I think I can make this work. I could bring the sky down around the car, and maybe move the pavement up to make it look like a car in an empty parking lot.
Same as the black Camaro above. But in this one the sky is so blown out I don't know how well it will work.
This could be a great photo. But the lighting is coming form the wrong direction and the background id all over. Removing the white car to the left will likely be impossible, especial the hood that you can see through the windshield.
The background is a lot here, but there is a lot of sky above. I might be able to just pull it down around the car.
This could work. Since there is a lot of foliage around that is easy to Photoshop. But removing half a car on the left is still going to be a chore... if I can do it at have this photo look natural.
Here is why we hate taking pictures at cars shows. Even though this Pantera is isolated from other cars, and I caught it with no people around... the hood and truck are up, and there is a sign in front of the car. What a shame.
This car was actually driving. Probably the only reason the hood is down. I might be able to clean up the background to use this one.

This is from a monthly "cars & coffee" thing I go to. It is a very informal event. The lighting is a bit strong. It would be better had I taken these about an hour earlier... assuming the cars were there an hour earlier. It wouldn't matter with how tight the cars are packed in and how many people are around. I don't think this Ferrari and Porsche are usable.

These four Mustangs are all great shots. Well, except that the sun is bright as can be creating all kinds of harsh shadows. The teal convertible might be usable, and I will try real hard for the red coupe. The picture does not do the color justice. The red coupe has a killer Candy Apple Red paint job.
More harsh light and shadows, but I think this can be cleaned up of background noise pretty easily.
I think I can use this one. It should be easy to crop out the guy on the right. The rest of the background could be easily hidden with Photoshopping the foliage.
Why couldn't he have his hood closed. Photoshopping out the white Mustang on the right would be easy.
This is an easy pick. But does it go with the Cuda above? New vs. Old Muscle Cars.

One of these could work. Notice how much a difference the angle makes toward cleaning up the background for you. I will spend as much time removing the shadows in the foreground as I will cleaning up the background.

These high end British cars should be easy to work with. However, I don't have enough high end cars for a common theme to a calendar. Oops!
I could easily clean up the entire background... except the gray car on the left. So the question is, would you use this picture if you had to have the extra car next to it?
Initially this looks usable. But the harsh reflections in the quarter panel of the car will be a pain. And I am not sure I really like this image.
This image will be easy to clean up the background... like the Cuda above. But the reflection of the white truck in the side of the car will be much harder.
Here is an example of why I just snapped a picture. I could have gotten down low and this would have been good enough to work for my calendar. Unfortunately the hood is up. Rats!
This might work. There is a lot to remove, but I think it is possible.
I love 69 Camaros... and I love this picture. I am pretty sure I will try to work with this picture and clean up all the people stand behind the car.
This should be easy.
This would be easy... if his hood was closed. Arggggh!
I can work with this... but I don't have enough 50's style customs to make a calendar of them.
This I can use... but what will it go with?
I kind of like this one. I can definitely clean this up. But it is a little too close up for me. I had other shots of this car, but they would require a lot more work to clean up. You take what you can get.
This would be cool... if it were the front of the car and not the rear.

These three are nearly perfect. The background is already picturesque. The only issues are the harsh light and the reflections in the side of the cars.
These three are portrait shots. I could probably crop them down to work with some others. It would be better if I had 12 vertical shots like these.
I should be able to clean this one up, but I don't think I could find other cars to place with it in a calendar.
This is one of the cars that you take a picture of because it is so amazing. This shot barely does it justice with that candy, metalflake, root beer paint. It would change colors to a deep forest green as you walked around it. But... the hood is up and there were always people around it. Darn!

There you have it. I have enough for one or two calendars... but not enough of any one theme. So I will keep taking pictures this summer and hope to get at least one calendar with a common theme. Maybe two... we'll see.