I’m a car guy. I have a healthy respect for anything with a loud muffler and bad gas mileage. If it has paint bright enough to hurt your eyes, even better. Dave Wendt is a photographer that shares my gear-driven passion. He’s been shooting vehicles for over 20 years. Throughout his career he’s shot some of the most rare and exotic cars that I’ve ever seen.

In a conversation with Dave I was impressed by the amount of wisdom his years of practice has built. He’s developed a system of working with minimal equipment. He has to shoot lean, his shoots are always on location. You can’t fit very many lights into an exotic car.

I asked him to give some car shooting advice. Here’s what he said:

Ask yourself some questions before setting up the shot. Think about what you see when you look at the car and what makes this aspect look good. Don’t overlook the background, use it for depth.

Reflections are key. Spend time thinking about how the reflection can help the image and what the lines of the vehicle do to the reflections.

Read what the lines of the car say. Think about if you want to up or downplay these lines. The lines of the car and the angle of the light work together. Think about where you want the light coming from. Lastly, the color. Think about how this affects the way it’s lit.

Here are a few things to consider when you have a car to shoot.

What can you do to help it look better?

Is there something going on in the scene?

What is the difference between the way it looks in 3D and how it looks in 2D?

Here are a few of Dave’s many beautiful shots. Take a look at his website for more.