Five Simple Steps to Lighting a Muscle Car with Tim Wallace

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Intro by Skip Cohen

It’s “Profoto Friday” and every week I love wandering through their archives looking for content to help you raise the bar on the quality of your images. What I love most about today’s pick is how it covers the basics of lighting a car, but it’s more than that.

I realize most of you aren’t car photographers, but at some point in your career as a professional photographer you’re going to get hit with something totally out of your comfort zone. Cars aren’t exclusive to the challenge of lighting something big and neither are warehouses, like the one below.

Thanks to Tim Wallace’s skill set and Profoto, here’s your look behind the curtain. It’s not magic, just a terrific understanding of lighting dynamics, great gear and a short trip inside Tim Wallace’s head. 

There’s a lot of incredible content in the Profoto blog and well worth your time to wander through and see the other gems they’re sharing to help you raise the bar on the quality of your images.

And, if you haven’t seen it yet, check out the latest video with Brian Marcus and the new Air Remote TTL-N for the B1 now available for Nikon shooters.

by Fredrik Franzén

Lighting a car is not easy. Cars are big, they are reflective and they have almost no flat surfaces. Luckily for us, Tim Wallace, who some call the world’s greatest car photographer, is happy to share some invaluable tips and tricks with us.


“When lighting a car it is always best to start very simple, don’t over-engineer it, and build your light up gradually,” explains Tim, who used four Pro-B3 battery generators, two Zoom Reflectors, two Softbox 1×6′ RF and an Air Remote to create the image below.

Take five minutes and learn from one of the best in the industry how to do it yourself. You will not regret it. Check out our designated Tim Wallace page at the Profoto website. Here you will find another two videos with striking images and insightful tips and tricks.
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1. Ambient light | ©Tim Wallace

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2. Light 1 | ©Tim Wallace

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3. Light 2 | ©Tim Wallace

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4. Lights 1 & 2 | ©Tim Wallace

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5. Light 3 | ©Tim Wallace

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6. Lights 1, 2 & 3 | ©Tim Wallace

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7. Background Light | ©Tim Wallace

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8. Final shot in camera with NO photoshop | ©Tim Wallace

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9. Final shot with minor Photoshop tweaks | @Tim Wallace

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