Commercial Beer & Beverage Photography South Bend | Brian Rodgers Jr. | Digital Art That Rocks

“Don’t shoot what it looks like, shoot what it feels like” - David Allen Harvey

Any time I create photography, whether commercially or self assignments, I want the viewer to feel something. For me, that is the ultimate goal. I try to light my subjects in a way that creates a some sort of mood to invoke a feeling. In this example, I've created a shot of a beer bottle with strategically placed light. This image is simple and clean, yet it has atmosphere. It feels as if you're sitting outside on a rooftop on a summer night gazing at the city below. After a long hard day at work, just take in the fresh scent of rain, with an ice cold brew in hand. Enjoy the time-lapse!

The Grid: The Path to Inspiration Episode 142 | Brian Rodgers Jr. Commercial Photographer/Digital Artist

Hey everyone! As photographers and artist's, we all need sources of inspiration. We use that inspiration as fuel to ignite our own creativity. What inspires you? Music has been a driving force in the creation of much of my work over the years, even at an early age. There's just something about the feeling you get when listening to music that moves you. When I'm shooting and retouching, I'm always listening to music. I truly believe that for me, it helps shape my images and the mood they create. It's that feeling that drives my creativity. For some reason I can always turn on Oleander's latest album Something Beautiful and get into my creative zone. Great album! And it's really cool to see an awesome band that went away for a while come back with such a powerful record. Check it out!

I just happened to be watching last weeks episode of The Grid. The episode focused on The Path to Inspiration. I am absolutely honored to have been referenced in the discussion for my automotive self assignment (I'm referenced at about 34:20 & 1:03:15) I've been watching The Grid since it first aired and I'm a huge fan of the show. Kelby Media has been such a huge inspiration of mine for a long time.

I just wanted to thank Pete Collins for sharing my work on the air and for posting to the NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals) member site. I also wanted to thank RC and Mia as well.

What inspires you?

• Check out last week's episode of The Grid!

• You can see the automotive self assignment here

Commercial Automotive Photography Retouching Time-Lapse | Brian Rodgers Jr. South Bend Commercial Photographer/Digital Artist


Recently I went out and shot an automotive self assignment. The subject: a Ford Focus Titanium. I think the overall design of the car speaks volumes over it’s predecessors, and I really wanted to capture that in this composite image. I cannot stress enough that self assignments are worth your time. You need to shoot for yourself, not just for clients. It’s the only way you will ever bring out your true vision as an artist.  

The Studio: I used an empty parking lot as my studio for this shoot because I knew that I wanted to build a composite shot of the car in some kind of scene, at the time of shooting, I had no idea what that scene would look like. 


Composition: The composition for this shot was so important! I can’t stress that enough. If you want to get a professional commercial automotive shot, it starts with the composition. I suggest looking at a lot of commercial automotive photography for inspiration. Look at where the light falls on the vehicle. Notice that this front 3/4 shot of the vehicle shows off the design of the car? Notice the interior details? 

The Lighting: I used natural light for the most part. I paid very close attention to where my light was falling on the vehicle. Notice that beautiful horizon line that paints the landscape on the side of the vehicle? How about that beautiful light that kisses the hood of the car?  That was completely intentional. You really have to pay attention to the details on a shot like this. If the car had been positioned in a different direction, the light would have looked completely different. I used a speedlight to light the interior of the vehicle ever so slightly. Even though this shot is primarily an exterior, It’s important to show some interior detail as well. 

Here is a behind the scenes image of me light painting the vehicle as the sun started to go down.

Here is a behind the scenes image of me light painting the vehicle as the sun started to go down.

The Composite: I had no idea what the background would end up being until I started building it. I shoot backgrounds all the time and keep a library of images that I can pull from on any given day. In the video, you will see me experimenting with some different backgrounds. They all looked pretty good, but I thought the mountain range worked perfect for this shot. The background was derived from the smoky mountains of Tennessee during a family vacation. I shot them years ago, with no intention of ever using the as a background for an automotive composite, in fact I was using a point-and-shoot camera at the time.  With Photoshop and a little creativity, the possibilities are endless! So never throw away your images, you may end up using them as backgrounds someday ;)

Composite side notes: Notice that the background light matches the light on the car? When looking through your library of backgrounds, keep that in mind. Look at the overall direction of light. Also, I knew that when building this composite image, that the foreground would work to my advantage. I had a little cleanup to do on the pavement, but I didn’t have to go out and shoot separate pavement and build a new shadow for the car. I used what I had shot, defined the horizon line of the image, and composited in a background that I thought fit the car. For this shot, I wanted to convey traveling in style. If this image makes you want to to test drive this car, and possibly buy it, this image has served it's purpose.

Brian Rodgers Jr. of Digital Art that Rocks featured on the popular web based photography show "The Grid" Check it out at 35:12 & 1:03:15 mintues into the show!

Until next time, Rock & Roll