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Why I Photograph Cars

October 28, 2012 Art, Cars, Technique No Comments

Why I Photograph Cars
by Alain Briot

Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s the determination and commitment
to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal –a commitment to excellence-
that will enable you to attain the success you seek.
Mario Andretti

1 – Introduction
My primary photographic subject is landscape photography.  I came to photograph cars not as a professional occupation, but because I wanted beautiful photographs of my personal cars for my own enjoyment.

In short, car photography was, and still is, a hobby. I enjoy photographing cars to change my mind from landscape photography.  I find car photography to be fun and relaxing.  I photograph my own cars, as well as cars that I like and cars in historical, racing or other interesting settings.

2 – Why I photograph cars
We all have cars.  Or we will all have cars.  That is, unless we committed ourselves to public transportation for the rest of our lives, or resolved ourselves to using a bicycle, or decided that walking will be our only form of locomotion.

While we may own the cars we photograph, many of the cars we want to photograph are not owned by us.  They are either too expensive, too unique, or simply not for sale.  This is the case for race cars, in particular those being raced at the present time, because they are the sole property of the race teams.  It is also the case for unique vehicles that belong to museums or to private collectors and of cars that are simply too pricy to purchase.  Finally, regardless of our level of income, we simply cannot own all the cars we like.  While some succeed at assembling a fascinating collection over many years, doing so is not commonplace.  Furthermore, no matter how much we try, there will always be certain cars that stay away from ownership reach.

Because of this, for many car enthusiasts seeing cars in person and bringing back photographs of these cars is an important aspect of enjoying the vehicles we like.  I should say ‘bringing back good photographs’ or better ‘bringing back great photographs. ‘ This is what this is all about.  Owning a great photograph of a great car is almost as good as owning a great car.  Not quite the same, I agree.  You cannot drive the photograph, you cannot hear the scream of the engine when looking at an image and you do not have the scent of leather, oil and gas. But when you have seen and experienced the real car, a good photograph has the power of bringing this back to you when you look at the image.  Why?  Because a great photograph captures not just the look of the car.  It also captures its soul.

A great photograph captures not only what the car looks like but also, and most importantly, how the car feels. It has the power of bringing back the emotions generated by the car.  It represents what the car means to you, both on a factual and an emotional level.  It also offers the opportunity of sharing your vision with others through your photographs, and of making them see and feel what you saw and felt.

3 – The eBook
I do car photography for my personal enjoyment, my primary photographic activity being landscape photography. However, this series of car photographs has been very well received and I have had a lot of questions about how I created them. I therefore created an eBook to explain how these photographs were created, to express my approach to car photography and to describe my vision.
The Car Photography eBook is avaible for order at this link:

4 – The Folio and eFolio
I also decided to create an eFolio, an electronic version of a Folio, to present a  selection of my favorite car photographs.  Ninety photographs are featured in the eFolio.  These ninety images represent my initial selection from hundreds, if not thousands, of car photographs.

Later this year I plan to release a Folio, a physical collection of 5×7 images printed on 8×10 fine art paper, accompanied by an artist statement, a biography and a colophon and presented in a die-cut Folio enclosure. This physical Folio will feature 15 car photographs.  Therefore, from my eFolio initial selection of 90 images, I will have to remove 75 photographs to get to the final selection of 15 photographs that will be included in the Folio. This will be a tough process since I will have to eliminate about three fourth of the images featured in the eFolio.

The Cars eFolio is available for order at this link:

Alain Briot
October 2012


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New Car Photography eBook

October 26, 2012 Art, Cars, Technique No Comments
Latest News:

New Ebook on Car Photography by Alain Briot

November 27th

A new eBook is available. It is titled Car Photography by Alain Briot.

For a limited time this new eBook is offered at a special offer price 20% lower than the regular price. Plus, you receive the new Car Photography eFolio, featuring 85 pages of stunning car photographs, free when you place your order.

All the details are at this link:

If you are not sure why I photograph cars, the answer is in the free sampler taht you can download for free at this link:

Alain Briot

Lensbaby Composer

April 4, 2011 Art, Cars No Comments

These photographs were taken with the Lensbaby Composer at the Speedworld Dragstrip in Surprise, Arizona.

I used the f/8 Aperture ring for all of them.



Bel Air

Alain Briot
April 2011

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Cars Photography as Hobby

March 31, 2011 Cars No Comments

Car Photography as Hobby

When your hobby becomes your profession you need a new hobby.  For me, photography was a hobby.  Until I started my business that is. Then, it became a profession.  Don’t get me wrong, I love photography.  If I didn’t I wouldn’t have made it my profession.  But regardless of how much you love doing something, you can’t do that one thing 100% of the time. If you do, you’ll go nuts to put it simply.  You need to change your mind and do other things.

I did not become aware of this until I had built a successful photography business.  Businesses go through phases, successful ones that is.  Those that are unsuccessful get started then tank.  But that’s another subject altogether.  Successful businesses demand all your time when you get started. As things move along, successful businesses mature and become less and less dependent on you, the business owner. That’s when I realized that I needed a new hobby.  I was just at that stage where my business was successful and I had time for other things.  Of course these other things could have been more photography products.  But then that would mean doing more work, exactly the opposite of what I wanted.

I have always been interested in cars.  I suppose that’s a guy thing.  Guys like cars.  Maybe.  But then we also live in Arizona, a state that’s ‘car friendly” I like to say, or rather a state in which you can drive a sports car year round without having to take particular precautions.  It rains rarely here, it doesn’t snow (at least not in Central Arizona), and wherever it snows DOT doesn’t use salt on the roads. They use cinders instead. Salt isn’t friendly to cars (it causes them to rust) so living in a ‘no-DOT-salt’ state is a bonus when you’re a car enthusiast.

All of this to say that I naturally drifted towards cars as a hobby.  Not to say I don’t have other hobbies.  I do.  I love home decorating also.  Maybe not as much as a ‘guy thing’ as cars, but something I love regardless.  I love gardening too, although I’m not the ‘vegetable gardening’ type.  More the ‘cactus and decorative plants’ type. I do gardening as an art form.  I should call it ‘botanical gardening’.

At any rate I started looking at cars more carefully.  I also started attending car auctions.  There’s lots of them in Phoenix. Barrett Jackson and Russo and Steele are the most affordable and well known ones.  But there’s also R&M and Gooding and Co. among the more upscale ones.  There’s also countless car dealers and used-luxury car (also known as ’boutiques’) dealers. There are also many informal gatherings of car enthusiasts in parking lots around the city.  Finally, there’s several racing events in the Spring and Fall (too hot in the summer to be out racing), from NHRA to Nascar and other series. Basically, there’s no shortage of ways to cater to the car enthusiast, if such is your passion.

I started by going to auctions, then started buying cars.  At first I wasn’t photographing, but I soon saw the possibilitiesof creating images that conveyed not only the beauty of the lines but also the excitement and the speed that are associated with powerful and exotic machinery.  At first I carried a small Canon G9 camera in my car.  It was convenient because it fit in the glove compartment and because it was discreet.  It did not draw any attention to me when I used it, and it was light enough that I hardly noticed I had it with me.

Soon the G9 started to be too limiting, and I started using a larger camera to create images that required more control than the G9 afforded me. In time, I learned to do all the different ‘shots’ that are peculiar to car photography.  But one thing remained the same throughout: I wasn’t doing this to generate income.  To this day I have not sold, or tried to sell, a single one of my car photographs.  It’s a hobby, not a profession, and even though the word ‘photography’ is in the name of that hobby, I do not do it for a living.

You can follow my car photography efforts on my Facebook page at this link:

Alain Briot
March 2011

Ford Starliner 1961, Sanderson Ford, Glendale, Arizona.

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About Photographing Cars

January 14, 2011 Cars 1 Comment

APS Generating Station Sunset

The interesting thing about photographing cars is how most people look at car photographs.  There is an assumption, especially when the photographs show my own cars, that the purpose is to brag about owning a specific vehicle.   The fact is I photograph cars because I love cars, be it my own cars or someone else’s cars.  I don’t photograph them to brag about them.  I have been photographing cars for at least 5 years now, and if I was taking these photos to brag about owning specific cars, I would have stopped a long time ago! Bragging doesn’t go on for years.  It’s a short lived thing.  You brag, people get envious (if the bragging worked), you achieve what you wanted, and you move on.  You don’t go on doing it for years and years.

Plus, regardless of how long you brag about owning a vehicle, you don’t put all your efforts into creating the finest car photographs possible.  You don’t spend hours planning a shot, composing the photograph, making sure everything is done right, processing and optimizing the photograph to get optimal quality, printing it to the highest standards, and making sure you are expressing a personal vision.  No.  If your purpose is to brag, you grab a quick shot with your cell phone and post it on Facebook.  Bragging isn’t about the quality of the photograph. It’s about owning something that others don’t have.  Who cares how good the photo of that thing is. What matters is you have it and they don’t .  Your skills as a photographer are not at stake here.  It’s your buying power that is!

Quite frankly, I photograph cars for the same reason I photograph landscapes.  Because I love them.  That’s all. I love landscapes and I love cars.  I admit that having a passion for both is quite unusual because there isn’t a whole lot in common between both.  One is man made while the other is nature made. One is the product of science and technology, while the other is the product of geology and natural forces.  But to me, the one thing they have in common is that they are both beautiful.  Landscapes are beautiful and cars are beautiful.  Not all landscapes and not all cars of course, although the case can be made that with the proper light, composition and vision all landscapes and all cars can be made to look beautiful.

Regardless of these considerations what I am saying is that it is the aesthetic aspect of both that attracts me.  The visual quality. The fact that there are beautiful aspects to both.  The fact that they allow me to express not only my passion for both subjects but also my creativity.  Both offer plenty of room for creativity, for personal expression, for the creation of a body of work that demonstrates vision and not just documentation.

. . .  to be continued.

Alain Briot

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