Photographing an Audi A4 in the dark

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December, 2018

Cars | Night | Northern lights

The snow has finally come and it is time to photograph yet another automobile in the dark. I grabbed my camera and was ready to apply my slim knowledge from the previous shoot.

A friend recently picked up an Audi A4 with Quattro and wanted some photos of it. Since all-wheel drive goes hand in hand with snow it was only appropriate to get up in the mountains to do this shoot. We did not waste any time and drove straight to the spot that we know for a fact will help create cool pictures. Funny enough this is the exact same spot where I photographed the Berlingo. It is a spot that overlooks the city, combines light and dark and makes for an awesome backdrop. It is still pitch dark outside, but this time there wasn’t as many clouds. You can see the benefits of that below as it made the background even cooler with a dash of green.

You can see the final images below, slightly edited in Adobe Lightroom.

Audi A4 Quattro resting on top of snow overlooking the city with faint northern lights in the background.Photographed by Vegar Henriksen using a Canon 5D III with a 16-35mm f/2.8 L II lens.

I think these images turned out great. I love that the northern lights are present in the background and I really fancy how the car looks against the background. I tried to change between 16mm, 24mm, and 35mm on the lens to get a few different looks. I also adjusted the height of the tripod to strengthen the effect and make the city in the background more visible. We could have removed the snow and ice front the front of the vehicle and given the car a wash, but I think it makes it look like it had to work to get up here. It is, after all, a Norwegian workhorse plowing through snow and gripping ice. I have also learned to make sure the wheel is turned towards the camera so I made sure to do that. I also really like the fancy headlights so I had to do a shot highlighting them.

”It is, after all, a Norwegian workhorse plowing through snow and gripping ice.”

If it was my car I would do a chrome delete and get some blacked out rims. Perhaps also even wrap the car and tint the windows. Below you can see a photo I shot using Night Sight on my smartphone. You really can’t compare the photo to my professional camera on a tripod, since this is with a smartphone from 2016, handheld. I have been playing around with Night Sight ever since the APK leaked and I must say I am blown away by what the Google team has managed to accomplish. Please notice that it is pitch black outside. Without Night Sight the image was just entirely black. The other photo of the back is taken without night sight. I also think it turned out great! Without further ado; here are the photos – slightly edited in Adobe Lightroom.

Audi A4 Quattro in it’s natural habitat.Photographed by Vegar Henriksen using a Google Pixel 1 XL

Below you are going to see the final image. The second photo is an example of too much harsh light, caused by headlight from another car. I still edited and fixed this photo and I think the result is very cool. The last photo is an example of a photo that is too dark, caused by fast shutter speed and low ISO. In theory, you could use these images to merge and fix over and underexposure, and that is exactly what I did, essentially merging these into each other to create the final image. These images are taken with different settings, but with the same focal length and placement.

The images are slightly edited using Adobe Lightroom. The first image is also edited using Adobe Photoshop.

Audi A4 Quattro photographed with different settings, but the same focal length and placement.Photographed by Vegar Henriksen using a Canon 5D III with a 16-35mm f/2.8 L II lens.

Overall I am very satisfied with the result and think the images turned out great. I am happy he chose me to photograph his car and I hope he is happy with the result as well. I am sure we are going to photograph this car many more times during the summer.

Edit (1/19/2019): I revisited the images and decided to make some changes to the post-processing. I have made the images brighter to make the detail and color of the paint more noticeable. The original plan with the images was to hide that the car is dirty, but using the slider below you can see what they would look like if that wasn’t the plan.

Audi A4 Quattro.Photographed by Vegar Henriksen using a Canon 5D III with a 16-35mm f/2.8 L II lens.

Overall I am very satisfied with the result and think the images turned out great. I am happy he chose me to photograph his car and I hope he is happy with the result as well. I am sure we are going to photograph this car many more times during the summer.

Let me know what you think about my photos down below! Make sure to also let me know how I can improve as that is my end goal. Thank you so much for reading!