When scrolling through my Instagram feed I always gawk at all the fantastic automotive photography being uploaded every day. I also notice that whether it be a different car, angle, or background, every photo is completely unique to the others. That got me thinking; I have never seen different photographers tackle the same photo of a car. So I conjured up an idea for an interesting experiment and reached out to some of my colleagues in the automotive photography industry.

Now every adept and professional automotive photographer will tell you that most of the magic happens in the editing room (i.e. Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom) but it also heavily relies on the camera. Cell phones have come a long way in the last 10 years but they will never be capable of the depth, customization settings, and lens range of a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera. Most photographers have their own rigs that they prefer to shoot with but this article will focus only on the editing styles of each person by giving them a single photo shot by me.

So, when I got a solid list of candidates, I sent them a photo, they worked on it, and then returned their edits to me. The results I got back were even better than expected because all eight of the examples below are completely different from one another. That just goes to show that when you’re following a photographer, or even paying for their work, they all have their own unique style to pay attention to. Check out the exciting results below and I’ll attempt to highlight some things that stood out to me!

First of all, here is the original image:

2006 Ford GT Original

Second, here are the details from when the photo was taken:

  • Car: 2006 Ford GT
  • Time Shot: Around 7:00 am in early autumn
  • Camera: Nikon D3200
  • Lens: AF-S NIKKOR 18-55mm
  • ISO: 200
  • F-Stop: f/6.3
  • Exposure Time: 1/100 second
  • Focal Length: 55mm

And here are the completely unique photographer edits:

Dynamic Photowerks

2006 Ford GT Edit - Josh Hway

Based out of Minneapolis, MN, Josh Hway has one of the most impressive portfolios I’ve seen. On top of photography Josh also shoots professional videos and drone footage. Don’t like cars? He also does weddings and architecture. You’ll definitely want to check out his work here: www.dynamicphotowerks.com

What to look for: In this edit Josh has removed the large post in the background and added some sun flare/accents to the top left. There’s also a reddish/brownish tone throughout the whole image.

Alex Bellus Photography

2006 Ford GT Edit - Alex Bellus

Also based out of Minneapolis, I’ve had the pleasure of shooting the 2014 Central Crown Rally along side Alex Bellus. He’s shot some of the craziest cars around and every picture is beyond crystal clear. Check out his work here: www.alexbellusphoto.com

What to look for: You’ll notice in his edit that he’s completely removed the background and added in his own pinkish sunrise. The brightness and contrast are also up to really make this photo pop.

Austin Jerke Photography

2006 Ford GT Edit - Austin Jerke

Austin Jerke is a fellow Sioux Falls, SD photographer who has his own unique style. On his website you’ll find he’s a jack of all trades ranging from landscapes to cars to senior photos. You can check out his work here: www.facebook.com/austinjerkephotography

What to look for: In many of his car photos Austin prefers a high contrast, low-fi look with dark vignetting around the edges for a frame.

Rylex Media

2006 Ford GT Edit - Ryan Alexander

Ryan Alexander is also based out of Sioux Falls, SD and does photography and cinematography. He’s done some cool videos and we even have one of his from Cars & Coffee of Siouxland up on the site. Check out his work here: www.ryanalexanderphotography.com

What to look for: Ryan has reduced the shadowing so you can see the little details in the dark spaces. He’s also brightened up a lot of the image so objects stand out.

Michael O’Hara Photography

2006 Ford GT Edit - Michael O'Hara

Michael O’Hara is a good friend of mine and an outstanding photographer. He is located in wherever he happens to be this week while most recently shooting in Ecuador and Alaska. He’s so talented, I’ll even plug that he did my engagement photos. Follow where he goes next here: www.facebook.com/MichaelOHaraPhotography/

What to look for: Michael removed both the post and the train car in the background and brought out much more vivid color in this picture.

Brian Stalter Photography

2006 Ford GT Edit -Brian Stalter

Brian Stalter is an automotive photographer based out of Sioux City, IA and he’s shot some cool cars. We met through one of his visits to Cars & Coffee of Siouxland and have followed each other on Instagram ever since. Check out his portfolio here: www.brianstalterphotography.com/

What to look for: Brian has removed the post in the background and darkened the frame around the car so it really stands out. You’ll also notice the car is a lot more red than the original.

Eric Vilendrer Photography

2006 Ford GT Edit - Eric Vilendrer

Eric Vilandrer has shot some cars with our own contributor Steve Miller up in Minneapolis, MN. He has some really cool shots and although his website is not up and running yet, you can check out some of his work here: www.facebook.com/ericvilendrerphotography/

What to look for: Eric’s edit relies heavily on dark shadows. He has lowered the brightness and saturation surrounding the car so the red just barely pops out.

Short Shift

2006 Ford GT Edit - Chris Berke

Last but not least, there’s me! I started Short Shift back in 2012 and have been improving as a photographer ever since. I shot and reviewed this 2006 Ford GT back in 2014 and, just for fun, I went back and re-edited this photo with my current vision and skill. Check out all of my work here on this site!

What to look for: I can speak more for myself than the other photographers but what I like to focus on revolves around 2 things: Can I see all of the details in the photo? And does the car stand out? I made sure the clouds were visible and the shadows weren’t too dark in the background. When approaching the car I deepened the reds and blacks while still maintaining the clarity. I also like to crop a 16×9 ratio because I just like “widescreen” look.

Thanks for checking this article out! What was your favorite edit? Do you have a favorite photographer? Let us know in the comments below!