Cars Photography as Hobby

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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