Tim shoots some of the worlds most iconic car brands through his commercial work such as that of Lamborghini, Aston Martin and Ferrari in the UK and Europe through to Dodge, and Chevrolet in the US. He is today regarded as a leading commercial automotive car photographer within this industry and is a renowned creative.
Tim is very well known within the automotive car industry for his creativity and open approach and he is regarded by many as one of today's leading commercial automotive car photographers with a unique strong style of work and creative approach that inspires not only his clients but also their customers, something that was reflected recently when he was awarded, 'British Commercial Advertising Photographer of the Year' and 'Car Photographer of the Year' at the Industry Awards.
Shooting campaigns for such car manufacturers at Peugeot with their recent 'Fractal' concept car for its campaign and launch at the Frankfurt Motor Show Tim's work is well respected for its originality and quality.
This page is dedicated to the work and creative vision that Tim brings within the field of automotive car photography, looking at our work, our successes, and our history within this industry. Tim explains a little more about his approach towards car photography, his creative thinking path and gives a brief insight into what he offers our clients both within the UK and Internationally through his work. Car photography is in its nature is a very involved medium of work that brings together many elements to create a final piece of commercial work, from finding the right location to bringing together the lighting and equipment logistics, and not least managing the actual product, the car itself.
Tim's is well respected within the industry and his work is often featured for its quality and creativity across both client sites and also leading manufacturers within the commercial and photographic industries such as Hasselblad, Profoto, Nikon and Elinchrom, all of which have presented the work that Tim shoots as a positive inspiration to others.
Tim is probably most renowned and best known his commercial car and automotive photography, this is his specialist area within the industry. Cars exist all around us in the modern world and they represent a major part of our lives, the cars that Tim shoots commercially are more often than not are at the higher end of that spectrum based within the modern sports or prestige classic ranges. It is our goal not just to show you what a car looks like but to inspire the viewer to see beyond that and get a real sense of how a car makes you feel, to be quite literally inspired so that drives forward your desire to be within that scene yourself. This is something that photographer Tim Wallace is very passionate about and often his work is shot out on location rather than in a studio, giving you a real sense of not only the car as a personality but also the possibilities of what that car can create emotionally and as a personality in its own right. Each car and each range are different and in creating these images Tim approaches his shoots very much in the same way a photographer would approach a portrait, trying to capture the essence of what is being shot. This section therefore looks at some examples of this approach, looks a little at the behind the scenes thoughts of Tim and his work as well as offering links to some of the many interviews that Tim has given over the past few years for different magazines and publications around the world. We hope you enjoy looking through what we do and we hope that you yourself feel inspired by what you see.
"...there are always two people in every photograph, the photographer and the viewer, everything else is irrelevant"
Recent Interview Extract With Tim Wallace
LIFE WITH 261 ASTON MARTINS
It’s 1739Kg of aluminium and carbon fibre: 565bhp, 0-62mph in 4.1 seconds, and it’sTim Wallace’s job to take the shots that capture that energy, and make the car an object of universal lust. Today he’s shooting it at 2mph.
He’s asking the car to glide, and transmit no camera shake to the Nikon D3 that hangs off it at the end of a carbon fibre rig. The speed and vibrancy is achieved with slow shutter speeds, with care, by repeatedly adjusting rig fixing points, but tomorrow’s shoot will be quite different. Tomorrow Tim will hang out of the back of a Range Rover on a harness at 110mph. A steel plate will protect his knuckles from the Tarmac, which rushes a few inches below his camera. Car-to-car work. It’s fast, it’s immediate, it’s deadly.
As a commercial photographer working with luxury cars, Tim might spend one day photographing Jaguar engine parts and the next shooting a classic Shelby as it cuts through the Swiss Alps. He might be shooting the bonnet of a Ferrari, or a newly-restored Bond car, an Aston Martin DB5. He has driven more than 260 Aston Martins for photo shoots, yet six years ago this way of life was barely an idea. Tim was at home, facing redundancy, and looking at what to do next.
A former Fleet Street snapper, Daily Mail photo lab manager, and Royal Marine (it’s complicated!), Tim found himself in management at Virgin, in charge of a department that was being disbanded. There was a 90-day consultation period and at the end of it: “We shut the door and turned the lights off and I realized that, of 110 people, every single one had a job to go to apart from me. So I sat down at home and had a good think. It took three days.” Tim wanted to go back to photography, and he was attracted to commercial work. Then came his first break: “People ask me, ‘how the hell did you manage to get Aston Martin as a first client?’”
“It’s not just a case of how I want to shoot cars, I’ve got to think about what will make people want to buy this particular car. What will make the hairs on the back of their neck stand up?”
This part was quite clever. Tim went to see Aston Martin, and rather than show them loads of pictures, he tried to learn about their problems. It turned out that a big part of their income comes from restoring vintage cars, for clients overseas.
“Take the DB5 – there are so few left in the world that if you find one that’s rusted to hell, with chickens living in it, it’s still going to cost you about £100,000 to buy and cost £400,000 to restore.” There were two problems – finding cars to restore, and keeping wealthy customers interested in the restoration work. Aston Martin were using ancient brochure shots for publicity so Tim suggested shooting some really good restored cars as if they were brand new. He also started creating a photographic record of each car restoration so that customers could follow it online. Aston Martin’s cash flow on the projects improved dramatically. Now, Tim works with other top marques, has his own desk at Aston Martin and was awarded Motor Industry Photographer of the Year recently.
Of course, you can’t just go to a premium car brand, get a shoot and immediately start taking a beautiful photographs in your own style. Tim’s style is grounded in years as a photographic printer. At age seven he would sit on a stool in a shed in Yorkshire, printing black & white images taken by his Brigadier grandfather, and at age 18 he was at the Daily Mail, head of a lab on Fleet Street. Photography began as a means to create images he could print. Tim left photography for a while, during an economic downturn in the early 1990s, and followed his father into the Royal Marines. But that early career as a black & white printer is truly valuable when he shoots cars today.
“It’s all about tone, texture, contrast, and things like that – if you’ve been a printer that’s what you’re into so it’s in your head when you shoot.”
Shooting at test circuits in the company of secret prototypes, and plenty of inherent danger, demands another set of skills. Tim’s seen how this can go badly wrong. During a photography workshop, he met some young photographers keen to have a go at shooting for car magazines. “One of them went out and shot from the back of something like a Nova, on a country lane, with a friend holding the back of his jeans. He fell out, and he’s in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. You can’t be on a public road; it’s not done....”
Tim always anchors himself to three points in the car, he works with pro drivers and uses the strongest possible kit. But he’s just as happy shooting the static stuff: shots that demand an understanding of how to bring out a car’s qualities.
“If I were to shoot an Aston Martin DBS, I’d be thinking, what is a DBS? It’s an aggressive car. It’s like sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll. It needs to be shot thrashing its way out of the Alps like it’s coming out of hell. But an Aston Martin DB4 is a pretty car. A DB4 is about going through Milan and through the mountains with your wife who’s wearing a headscarf, and playing Matt Monro.
“To to me these cars are personalities. So it’s not just a case of how I want to shoot cars; I’ve got to think about what will make people want to buy this particular car? What will make the hairs on the back of their neck stand up?”
“Shooting premium cars – yeah, it’s nice,” he says. “I basically shoot cars you don’t need and probably can’t afford but you really want them. It’s my job to create an image that gives you the strong feeling that you want to be part of that life."
Aston Martin 100 years of Power Beauty and Soul
Aston Martin has been building cars the most beautiful and desirable cars in the world for over 100 years and when a few years ago they reached their centenary it was a time that demanded something special. There mission at that point was to produce the very best that they could, the car to lead them into their second 100 years, a car with power and beauty, a new flagship model for Aston Martin into the future. With the most advanced engineering, the most beautiful design and the finest materials, they created a new carbon fibre 'Vanquish'. Car photographer Tim Wallace was tasked with the project of shooting this car for our UK client Aston to capture that beauty, the power and to visually afford it the grace of its design and the craftsmanship that has been poured into this new exciting model as Aston Martin enters another 100 years.
Over the years Tim has photographed just about every model Aston have ever built, from the very early Bamford Martin car through to the modern day One77, Vanquish and DBS. In 2013 Tim embarked on a quite litterally massive project for our UK client Aston to shoot, and capture all the significant models from the very first one ever built through to the very latest for a Aston Martin book. A book that would flow pictorially through a century of design, beauty and cutting edge technology and engineering.
This was a massive project and the work undertaken by Tim for this would take over 18 months to complete and featured not only all the models over the years but also some very important cars that have their place in Aston Martin's history such as the famous Zagato's VEV1 and VEV2, the infamous DBR2 that took first place winning Le Mans as well as many others.
Tim - "This project was first spoke of very early in 2012 and its one of those projects that you know will be very important. As Aston Martin celebrated their 100th centenary year there is a real feeling of drive and passion in the air not only to push forward the business but also to really pull all the stops out and create something really quite magical that will grab the Worlds audience by the scruff of the neck, shake it and say 'hey look at what we just did...' The Worlds best Aston Martin is a phrase I have heard a lot over the last few months but in truth its correct in the case of the new Vanquish, the car is quite honestly amazing both to look at and to drive and as a photographer its my role to try the very best I can to impart the feelings and emotions that I personally feel when I look at or indeed drive this car so that Aston's clients and customers can review the imagery and hopefully get a real sense of what this model has to offer and all the emotions that come through owning such a beautiful car."
Tim is the humble recipient of many awards including International Commercial Advertising Photographer of the Year, UK Motor Industry Photographer of the Year for his work with Aston Martin, Hasselblad Photographer of the month, Professional Photographer of the Year as well as a respected giving professional seminars on the skill of lighting, photography and effective business practice both on stage and to a live audience for organisations such as Nikon and in recorded video format for such people as Profoto and KelbyOne in the US where he has built up a catalogue of training videos available that are available Worldwide. He is well respected both within the UK and internationally for both his approach to his work, his creativity, and his very down to earth approach to his clients.
Tim is often invited to talk about his work in the field of automotive car photography and we've included some links to some of the recent Pro features and interviews that Tim has given that may offer some interesting additional reading for those interested in this area of photography as well as Tim's approach to such topics as lighting, logistics, creating that all important atmosphere for the right shot.
Chicago Video Interview with Tim Wallace
Hungry Eye Magazine Hasselblad Anniversary Feature with Comment
Advanced Photographer Magazine Interview Tim Wallace
Scott Kelby US Interview Feature with Tim Wallace
MAN LONDON Magazine Interview with Tim Wallace
Professional Photo Magazine Feature and Interview with Tim Wallace
Hasselblad 'Our World' Interview Interview with Tim Wallace
Photofocus USA Robert Vanelli Interview Podcast interview with Tim Wallace
APA - Automotive Photographers Association - Worldwide Interview with Tim Wallace
f11 - Photography Magazine - Worldwide 50 page Feature Interview with Tim Wallace
Shutterbug - Photography Magazine - US Pro Interview with Tim Wallace
F2 - Freelance Photographer Magazine - UK Print Interview with Tim Wallace
PhotoFocus Interview with Robert Vanelli Pro Interview with Tim Wallace in Las Vegas
Professional Photographer Magazine - UK 'Living the Dream' - Pro Interview with Tim Wallace
F2 - Freelance Photographer Magazine - UK Personal work in US Interview
Digital Photo Pro Magazine - US Pro Interview with Tim Wallace
The Review Magazine - London Interview with Commercial Photographer Tim Wallace
A lifetime behind the lens A personal view on film and camera's from Tim Wallace
Camerapixo (Europe) Special 'Tim Wallace Interview' Magazine Edition- 48 Page Interview and Feature
BBC TV Interview with Gerallt Jones of BBC Wales (UK) - TV Interview following Tim's Charity Seminar Event in Wales for Disadvantaged Children
Fuji Interview (UK) - Personal Work and using the XPro1 - Interview
3LT (UK) - Pro Feature Interview
Photographer Monthly Magazine (UK) - A Century of Car Advertising - Interview
Interview FOTOGRAFIE (Germany) - Pro Feature Interview
Digital SLR Magazine (Europe) - Darwin Project Interview
.Get Inspired Magazine (iPad) - Darwin Project Feature
The Coolector (Europe) - Personal Work Feature
Topaz USA - Pro Insight Interview
Professional Photographer Magazine (UK) - The 'BIG' Interview
PHUCK Magazine (South Africa) - Pro Spotlight Feature
Light It Magazine - Interview - iPad
Pro Interview (Europe) Digital Photo - Pro Magazine Interview
Seamless (Europe) - Photographer Spotlight
Profoto Sweden - Pro Photographer Interview and Videos
Professional Photographer of the Year Awards 2013 - 'AmbientLife Tim Wallace Wins 2 Awards
Personal Interview (US) - 'The Inspiration' with Larry Becker
US Interview - 'Business Interview with TV Host Mia McCormick
500px - 'Photographer Spotlight Feature'
Profoto Sweden - 'Pro Interview'
Pro Interview - US - 'Personal Interview'
Photography - Scott Kelby- 'BTS of Kelby Classes'
Leading Pro's at Work - DSLR Europe- 'Pro Interview'
Profoto Magazine Germany - Pro Photographer Interview
Le Grand Pro Feature - Pro Photographer Interview
Nikon Pro Book - Pro Feature
Professional Photographer of the Year Awards 2011 - Tim wins Advertising Photographer of the Year
Photography Week 'Pro Interview'
Royal Photographic Society UK - Pro Interview Article
Car Industry Awards 2011 London - Tim wins Car Photographer of the Year 2011
US Photographer Interview - Borrowlenses- 'Interview'
DSLR PRO Malaysia- 'Pro Interview'
Kelby TV USA - Pro Photographer Interview
DSLR Cutting Edge PRO - 'Photographer Feature'
Hasselblad Victor Magazine - 'Pro Photographer Feature'
PhotoPro Magazine - 'Lighting Feature'
Calumet - 'Photographer Spotlight' Interview
Digital SLR Photography - 'Photographer Interview' UK Magazine
Scott Kelby - 'Guest Interview' US Feature
Elinchrom Switzerland - 'The Making of Tim Wallace' Feature
What Digital Camera - 'Creative Drive' Photographer Interview
BBC Interview - Awards Interview with Tim Wallace
Focus Magazine - 'Photographer Tim Wallace' Feature Interview
Hasselblad Award - International Photographer of the Month
UK Business Awards 2011 - AmbientLife Win Best New Business Awards
Digital Camera - 'Out There' Magazine Interview
Nikon Europe - Pro Talk at NEC UK for Focus Event
Pro Insight - 'Capturing Cars' Feature
Tim – “Car and indeed any professional automotive vehicle car photography can be quite difficult, for me its all about shooting the image to fit the client, that maybe a shot that is powerful and aggressive or indeed one that gives a air of grace and beauty about the car, truck, or any vehicle type. In some ways I view each car as a person that has a personality, and the starting point is to understand what the design and overall purpose of the car is trying to put across, the job in hand then is too work out how best to get this message across. Aston Martin is a very good example of this, the modern Vanquish and DB9 are very sculptured and aggressive in their look compared to say the earlier DB5 and 6 therefore the shoot takes on a whole different feeling and the stage for this type of work maybe very different to that used on a more graceful classic style of car."
In the US Scott Kelby described Tim recently as one of the most influential photographers in the World today in car photography and Tim was invited back to KelbyOne and worked with their filming and production crews to create several hour long video tutorials that covered the lighting of cars, the approach and took an indepth look at how Tim approaches his work. These proved to be a huge success both in the US and Europe and as such Tim returns to KelbyOne in the US on a yearly basis now to add further training course videos to his catalogue area on KelbyOne as one of their featured official training instructors in the World along side other well respected names in the industry such as Joe McNally. There are lots of video classes to choose from and browse and all of them are very in-depth and allow you to sit back while Tim walks you through the whole process on each shoot from the very start on location to the final post edit photoshop work. There are also some interviews live at KelbyOne in the US available on video to watch where Tim talks through his approach to business and also a separate interview where Tim talks through what inspires him personally and how his life has affected him and led him the point where he is today.
These are available to view at KelbyOne Training online
Tim also works closely with his car industry clients such as Aston, Land Rover, Jaguar and most recently Morgan. Morgan approached Tim in early Spring with a desire to utilise Tim's unique shooting style to help them make the transition from the more standardised car photography through to a body of work with more passion and feeling to suit their changing demographic of customer and fully show the passion of their own new designs with such models as the Aero 8. Some of Tim's initial work was used for the Geneva Motor Show to great reviews and some really positive feedback not only from customers of Morgan but from their manufacturing staff themselves, a real indicator of the passion involved in such projects from both sides of the table. Since Tim's involvement with Morgan the company has made some design and photographic changes to their website presence as well as launching new brochures, marketing and advertising campaigns and using Tim's photography at major events such as a recent design event in Milan where a 40ft print was used to set off their stand and bring some real drama to the location and event.
Tim was involved in the launch of the new concept from Morgan, the Eva GT, the car was shot by Tim following its launch in the US to provide marketing and brochure material as the company promote the car globally prior to the start of production.
The majority of the work was shot on location at the Morgan main factory in the UK and Tim worked closely with their designers and marketing division to ensure that during the two day shoot a large amount of diverse and powerful imagery was created. The car has attracted a huge amount of interest globally and Morgan have already taken thousands of calls with deposits already being paid by some with delivery being anticipated for those first purchasers. It was crucial to shoot a wide spectrum of work not only close and high quality detail but also 'lifestyle' type work that Tim has become famous for with his dramatic use of the world around him that not only shows the car being shot but more importantly attempts to bring the viewer into the photography to understand how the car makes you feel, creating a desire and a passion within the customer equalled only by that of Morgan for what is to be a very significant car for the UK manufacturer over the next few years.
Tim - “The scene in which the car is positioned and photographed is very important, for example on a recent commission I photographed the new Ford GT, the model reborn of the classic GT40. This car could be shot in a studio as we indeed did on one of the days however the main commercial shots that were done were all taken in a run down industrial estate near to the clients location. We did get some strange looks bringing such a beautiful car into such an urban and rough location, however that was in some respects the whole point as the car was very much in the tradition of the GT40 which was in its time a legend and built very much as a ‘blue collar’ working class hero so the industrial scene suited it well and brought some passion into the work, set the mood if you like. Once the 'environment based shots were complete we shot a selection of action based work. This work is normally completed using car rigs and shooting from chase cars, however once again its not simply a case of getting a sharp image of the car moving, its important to keep the creative element alive and allowing some distance to the subject with careful exposure and framing can be just as powerful as coming in very close to the car at speed. On the completion of the days shooting our client was extremely happy with the results, and even went on to take print orders from their own customers outside the intended usage in marketing and brochure publications, this is something that we see a lot of with clients and indeed its a great yard stick to say that people feel inspired by what in effect is simply a advertisement image.
Lighting, the key in some cases to creating a great image. Most of the lighting that we use is field portable such as Elinchrom and ProFoto, this is essential to our work as heavy and unreliable generators add expense and time to a shoot often. In a studio situation on a large scale shoot the lighting choice switches to Arri continuous lighting both for control and quality working and shooting within a typical infinity cove setting.
Tim - "Lighting is a very personal thing and in truth its simply not possible to copy a lighting set up and get the same result. The way that I approach lighting is very simple, in cases where you will have multiple lights in play it's important to 'light up' to the subject slowly, what I mean is do not over light the car, throwing huge belts of light at it from different directions, a lot of my work I like to look as if its not been lit at all, subtle so to speak. The best way to do this is to set up each light one at a time, do a test shot and when your happy with the result move onto the next and so on, also consider however that where lights contaminate into each others area's that meter readings may need to be re-evaluated as light intensity increases in these area's as you would expect. Also people in my view make little use of the best light source that they have, the sun!, it's very underrated and if you look back at the time of the great masters you'll note that many used to employ a lighting technique that meant lighting in the same direction as the sun instead of against it as many seem to now. The important thing is not to bury your head in 'how to' books on lighting but simply to get out there and shoot different things and try new setups yourself, this way you will build up what I call a lighting 'Rolodex' in your mind of what works and what doesn't in different situations.
There is no easy answer to lighting, it's simply a piece of the puzzle or indeed a piece of the photographers tool kit that makes his work look different to the next guy, a style, a mood, his technique, it's personal and it's what each photographer must develop for themselves to achieve development as a photographer"
"Being out there shooting is where things happen..."
We work very closely with our clients to ensure that we offer the best possible photographic output for their needs with virtually all of our work coming from recommendations from existing clients and through agencies that have worked with us on commissions.
The production of professional material for the workplace or showroom is another aspect of our work that features innovative design and visual impact, a recent example of this is a set of 8 12ft high banners to be used in a clients showroom promoting their modern approach to the product but also the heritage of the brand.
Tim- "It’s a little too easy to create an ‘acceptable’ image for quick gratification where a little thought and passion can easily make use of the digital medium to create a truly inspirational piece of work through careful thought, exposure, and lighting. A camera does not create a great photograph, the photographer does, 90% of the achievement lays in your imagination of what you want to create.
I shoot many on Professional Hassleblad Medium Format Platforms and also Pro DSLR's which I find are great for my type of work. I also use portable pro studio lights, the kit is very robust and offers me powerful yet consistently correct studio quality light in quite literally any environment which is very important when you’ve got a deadline to meet. I tie this equipment together using radio trigger systems as its gives me total flexibility and again is consistent and reliable under bad conditions, but I can’t stress enough that each situation in car photography is different and its not the equipment that makes the image, it’s the passion and imagination that is invested into it."
"Often with professional automotive car work it will involve some more ‘action’ based shots which I achieve using a professional car rig that can be easily deployed for use on most vehicles, this allows us to get some really dramatic photography that sits well for use in magazines, brochures and other area’s of client output. The rig can be used in a very versatile ways to capture elements of the car in motion as well as afford me the ability to be very fluid with my shots and open up possibilities for very unusual and eye catching photography that holds the viewers attention, a real must for many of my clients who believe in the power of strong imagery. For more overall car action work we often use chase cars to shoot from, and this is easily set up providing of course safety measures are in place and road access is available.”
Tim - "Our clients are building steadily each year and today we are very fortunate that they include some major corporate companies both in the UK, Europe and US. Like most business’s I’m always looking to tomorrow and the future, new opportunities and potential new clients that we can work with to help carry their branding message forward in a positive with creative photography. Recently we have seen a marked interest in non-automotive clients approaching us to shoot commercial for them, these have included luxury yachts and even airlines with the common driving factor being that they have been attracted by the style of our car photography and the drama that it often portrays and are seeking the same within their industry area's, this is a great challenge for us and I feel very proud that we have such a strong style and feel to our work that these sorts of approaches are made, for me style and indeed our own 'branding' through our photography is the key to successful growth longterm with the field of commercial photography."
"Be passionate about your product, be inspired by your customers"
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