For many of us, a pickup is more than just a way to get around. Trucks carry the tools of our trade, the gear of our passions, and the people who make it all worthwhile. Our trucks serve as the backdrop for so many incredible moments and outdoor memories that they begin to feel like part of the family. If you’ve struggled to take an image that does your adventure-mobile justice, join the club. It’s not easy to photograph a 5,000 pound subject. That’s why we reached out to one of the best, our friend Naoto Aoki of Rockhouse Motion, for help. Follow his five tips for better truck photography.
As with all photography, beautiful lighting can turn a stagnant image into something that leaves you staring in awe. I’m not just talking about those few magic moments as the sun rises and falls, but also the use of shadows. Even on the darkest day, there’s light breaking through somewhere that can help propel your images to the next level. Maybe it’s the sun’s rays breaking through the trees, the sunset framed in a downtown skyline, or the light of a streetlamp reflected in your mirror. Follow the light, and your images will thank you!
My photography changed when I switched from telephoto to prime lenses. By no means am I suggesting that you trade in your lenses for one with a fixed focal length, but what I am saying is to not let that adjustable focal length be the driving force in changing the look to your photos. The best thing you can do for yourself is to move around. Walk back, walk closer, change angles, lay down, get up high - I don’t care how you do it, but change your perspective constantly. As you move around, notice the many different images you can create as your eye catches something creative. Laziness is reflected in images.
Add life to your photos. Don’t stick to posed or staged photography - Yes there is a time and place for that, but there is nothing like an image taken in the moment. Have your family/friends just go about their business around the truck - and capture those moments - you’ll be amazed by how your images take life. My brother wisely once told me to stop standing far back from my subjects. Grab a wide lens and get in their face. It creates a whole different level of emotion and it helps tell their story - probably the smartest thing he ever said, haha.
Think In Photos
Once you can think in photos, photography takes on a life of its own. Always keep an eye out for a great new location, scene, lighting, lines or anything at all that may help create a stunning image. You shouldn’t have to look through your camera to see your photo. The more you think in photos, the more you’ll start shooting beautiful imagery.
Take Your Camera Out
The most important advice I can give to aspiring photographers - take your camera out of its bag. It can be the hardest thing to do - it takes time and effort, but it’s one of the things that separates the great photographers from the novice. I’m sure you all know someone who takes beautiful photos consistently. The one constant incredible photographers will all share - they always have a camera in their hand. Rain or shine, they have the willingness to take a photo. It sounds so simple - but it takes great discipline and I cannot stress the importance enough.