Nick Poirier is an experienced photographer from Bellingham, WA. Him and his wife Melissa started Poirier Photography in 2010 after spending years developing their hobby into a business. Their business focuses on event coverage and other natural light photography. Recently, their interest in automotive photography has allowed them to master new techniques they may not otherwise use. In the coming months, Nick plans on sharing some of these techniques with ImportMeet.com.
Over the years, I've noticed that it's difficult to find reliable information about photography. Every photographer seems to have a different way of accomplishing the same thing. My goal with these articles is to provide advice to new photographers just getting started in automotive photography. The following article assumes that you're using a digital SLR camera which allows you to manually control the shutter speed.
With this technique, you will be able to freeze water droplets as they splash off of a car.
Depending on your equipment, you're going to want to use the lens with the lowest F-Rating. For these shots, I used my 70-200 F2.8 lens. The lower the F-Rating the faster your shutter speed can be.
To freeze the water off of a fast moving car you're going to want approximately 1/4000 of a second shutter speed. You can go lower (1/2000), but my personal taste is a minimum of 1/4000. To get to 1/4000 of a second, you're going to need enough light. I find the best time to do it during the day after significant rainfall. If you decide to shoot on a darker day or closer to the evening, you're going to need to bring up the ISO enough to compensate. Using a higher ISO can add noise to your photos so make sure you only increase it if you need to. For the shots of my Subaru STi, the ISO was set to 800.
Once the car approaches the puddle, start shooting! Get pictures from start to finish. The car should be traveling relatively fast (I was doing about 70 mph in these pictures) so make sure you're in a safe location.
For post processing, photos with splashes will benefit from boosting contrast and clarity. I use Lightroom 4 for 99% of my photo editing. Below is before and after processing of the above image.