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Photographing 1965 Shelby Cobra Replica Cars

by dav.d

This was an awesome photo shoot. Prestman Auto, based in Salt Lake City, has recently become a dealer to sell replica Shelby Cobras. These cars are based off the original 1965 model and they have the horsepower to back it up. They are loud, beautiful, and works of art. It was a pleasure to be the automotive photographer for these “bad boys.”

I’ve had the chance in the past to photograph Toyota Land Cruisers and with each automotive assignment I have been growing by leaps and bounds.

Silver Shelby Cobra replica based on the 1965 model

Silver Shelby Cobra replica based on the 1965 model

We had 2 Shelby Cobras for this assignment. My personal favorite was the silver edition. If I had $65,000 burning a hole in my pocket… well it is fun for a dream car. I might even print a photograph for the wall. These cars are a work of art. I think I mentioned that earlier.

Photographing the curves of a silver Shelby Cobra

Photographing the curves of a silver Shelby Cobra

The day was overcast but we had planned to photograph later in the day to combat the harsh light that sunlight can provide. However, because of the overcast skies we had to deal with the ticking clock of daylight. By the end I had to break out a tripod to get the last few photographs.

Silver Shelby Cobra replica with top attached

Silver Shelby Cobra replica with top attached

Someday it would be fun to photograph a car like this in an automotive studio. The studios can have huge white walls and giant lighting structures. But you can create good images with a softbox or two. Each of these photographs were shot with 2 lights. In the past I would photograph multiple photos and combine them in Photoshop. For this photo shoot I would position the two lights in the best location and then do some basic touch up in Photoshop. I would remove reflections and items that were too distracting. The candy red vehicle was a bit more of a challenge to Photoshop. The softboxes cause some specular highlights that could be distracting and turned out to be too difficult to remove. If the highlight was removed it just didn’t look natural. Some vehicles are just natural mirrors and they show all reflections, including the lights.

Car interior of the silver Shelby Cobra

Car interior of the silver Shelby Cobra

So in some cases I left the highlights. It helps to show the shiny quality of the paint job. Perhaps this is why some photographers have the $10,000 Chimera softboxes that measure 20×40 feet! They are larger than the car and can be awesome, but expensive.

Engine view of the replica Shelby Cobra

Engine view of the replica Shelby Cobra

We photographed the exterior of the cars. We photographed the interiors and the engines. I could spend all day photographing just one car.

Back view of the Shelby Cobra

Back view of the Shelby Cobra

Side view of the silver Shelby Cobra

Side view of the silver Shelby Cobra

Trying some natural light photos of the Shelby Cobra

Trying some natural light photos of the Shelby Cobra

Trying some natural light photos of the Shelby Cobra

Trying some natural light photos of the Shelby Cobra

Candy red Shelby Cobra in all its glory

Candy red Shelby Cobra in all its glory

Front view of the Shelby Cobra

Front view of the Shelby Cobra

Side view of the candy red Shelby Cobra replica

Side view of the candy red Shelby Cobra replica

2 Shelby Cobras photographed for Prestman Auto

2 Shelby Cobras photographed for Prestman Auto

Interior of the candy red Shelby Cobra

Interior of the candy red Shelby Cobra

Shelby Cobra replica engine

Shelby Cobra replica engine

Interior of the candy red Shelby Cobra

Interior of the candy red Shelby Cobra

The location we used is a little used street on the west side of Salt Lake City. We had to be careful for the occasional car that drove by. There was also a variety of locations we could photograph. The different metals, bricks, and a factory would give a great variety and it was within walking distance.

2 Shelby Cobras outside a factory in Salt Lake City

2 Shelby Cobras outside a factory in Salt Lake City

Silver Shelby Cobra by a factory

Silver Shelby Cobra by a factory

If I get to photograph these cars again in the future I would love to find a curvy road in the mountains overlooking the valley. Or Moab. Definitely Moab.

Candy Red Shelby Cobra outside a factory

Candy Red Shelby Cobra outside a factory

Shelby Cobra

Shelby Cobra

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1 comment

Toyota Land Cruiser J60 in the Snow | dav.d photography January 3, 2016 - 8:49 pm

[…] automotive photographer lately. I had photographed a number of Land Cruisers and even a few replica Shelby Cobras! This was the first time to photograph a vehicle in the snow. It was about 17º when we were […]

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