Photo of the Week – Jen & Sam

Sometimes my job sucks! I have to walk around Castle Combe taking photos of some incredible rally cars, chat with the drivers and owners, and stand trackside and shoot them in action from any angle I like. Then, to just to make matters worse, I am cajoled into photographing Jen and Sam. It’s a terrible job, but someones got to do it!

If you have read anything else on my blog before, you’ve likely heard me talking about needing to be different to stand out and when shooting the same subject as virtually everyone else with a camera at Rallyday, that becomes even more important.

Jen & Sam - The Final Image

I came up with the idea for this shot whilst walking around the paddock. I noticed people passing a trade stand promoting super-bright LED arrays were being given a nice rim light… I later noticed the same lights on the MML EvoX… parked right next to the Pace Ward / Mitsubishi Lancer Register stand for which Sam and Jen were working. That’s too much serendipity to ignore.

exifSo, with an idea in mind, I  had a chat with the MML team and they were more than happy to fire up the lights on their car. While the girls sheltered from the drizzle, I took a few test shots and dialled my settings in.

I’m at f2.8 to blur the background as much as possible and minimize distractions. ISO 500 because that’s what I had been at for most of the day and a shutter speed of 1/1000th to keep the lights on the car under control.

I was using a wink of fill flash to make sure the image didn’t totally wash out because of the backlight and to put a catchlight in the girl’s eyes. Even though the flash was in high speed sync, the fairly high ISO meant it didn’t have to push out too much light and recycled almost instantly.

Here’s what I got in camera. It’s sound enough but not what I was in my head when I thought about using the car as a rim light. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get a strong a light as I wanted from the car so the plan was always to round-trip it out of Lightroom in to Photoshop for a few tweaks. Obviously I have boosted the brightness of the lights (with nothing more than the brush tool and a low flow setting) applied some colour grading and a little dodging and burning but there are a couple of other edits in there. Let me know in the comments if you spot them.

Jen & Sam - Straight out of camera


  1. Ernie Savarese

    Hi Simon.. Obviously a bad day at the office!! hahah.. great shot and beautiful girls!! quick question… did you have speedlights shining between the girls… it looks so cool!!!


    • simon

      Hi Ernie

      Nope, all the light coming form behind the girls is from the cars lights. The only flash in this image is coming form on camera supplying a tiny bit of fill and the catchlights in the girls eyes.

  2. Ted

    Nice rim job


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