Photographing at Williams F1 HQ

In the hectic world of Formula One, January is a quieter time of year for the teams and it proved the right moment to photograph some more cars for GP Racing magazine’s ‘Now That Was A Car !’ feature.

So this week I visited Williams F1’s Grove HQ in Oxfordshire with photo assistant Rachel to shoot classic F1 cars in their superb museum.

With no one available to move the cars around we had no choice but to shoot each car on the list in the position it was set in the display. I’d usually set up black backgrounds and create a bed sheet lightbox, as I did at Mercedes,(https://www.jamesmann.com/2020/02/01/lewis-hamiltons-f1-championship-winnign-mercedes/) but there was no space to do this so we had to use more flash heads to light each panel.

Our target was to photograph three cars in a day FW10, FW15 and FW19 so we had to work fast. Using flash speeds things up as you don’t need to worry about using a tripod so it was all about maximising the number of angles and details we could manage shooting around the other exhibits.

Rachel and I have worked together on many projects but she has never worked this way before so it was a steep learning curve but we had captured our three cars by mid afternoon and managed to photograph a fourth car, FW09, below with minutes to go before our 4pm deadline. Here’s the retouched image below.

Jacques Villeneuve’s 1995 championship winning FW19

Shooting Lewis Hamilton’s Champ’ winning 2019 F1 car

The few weeks ago I got the opportunity to photograph Lewis Hamilton’s 2019 F1 championship winning car at a secret location in the UK.

As is often the case there is neither the time or the funds available to bring the car to a studio so I built a studio around the car. When I say studio it is the bare essentials of what I need to capture the image.Lighting is by flash either direct through softboxes or bounced into a white sheet behind the car.

It’s not perfect and my technique relies on my 30 years plus of experience of knowing what’s important to spend time on and what’s not.My friend Rob came along as assistant and we wrapped up the shoot with minimum fuss in just under four hours.

Here’s the final retouched head on image. You may notice that the car is still quite dirty… actually it is uncleaned from the final race of the F1 season in Abu Dhabi. Lewis won it with Max Verstappen second in the Red Bull Honda and Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari taking the final podium spot.

I’ve featured the front 3/4 view in my cars portfolio see : https://www.jamesmann.com/portfolio-one/

Photographing the Red Bull RB6 and Lotus E21

I’ve been finishing the final shoots for the update of my ‘Art of the F1 Race Car’ book and had another two icons of Formula One in the studio. First up was Red Bull’s championship winning RB6 as driven by Sebastion Vettel to victory in 2010. Who was to know that Adrian Newey’s stunning design would dominate the sport for three further years to come.Check out the portfolio page to see a sneak preview of  Vettel’s car. Also very privileged to get our cameras onto this year’s Kimi Raikkonen Lotus resplendent in it’s JPS inspired black and gold livery.Lotus sent their full F1 rig and and 5 staff to look after the car.

 

In the studio with Jensons’s Brawn F1 car

I’ve been working on an update of my award winning 2010 book ‘Art of the F1 Race Car’ shooting a bunch of Formula One cars to be added .The book is set against a black background but I recently had a contact from an old friend who now works for top London re-touchers Taylor James asking if I had any car images he could hone his art on so I sent him the raw files from the Brawn shoot. The results are amazing and can be seen on my studio portfolio web page….I’ve no idea how he got there from the image I gave him ….see below.!

Button's F1 car i the studio before the re-touch

Button’s F1 car in the studio before re-touching