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Shooting the Jaguar XJR-15

Sometimes I put the Bimmers away and shoot incredibly rare cars. In this case, it was a Jaguar XJR-15 going up for auction with Sotheby’s (the car eventually sold for 1.9 million!). What was it like shooting this thing? Not a lot of fun…I’ll explain.

The Jaguar XJR-15

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Color compliments the car’s curves well.

Just 53 were made for use, and it’s the first road car (we use that term loosely here) to be made entirely from carbon fiber. Designed by Peter Stevens, he’d later go on to design the McLaren F1.  It also bears a resemblance to Nissan’s R390, as the Nissan was aerodynamically-based on the Jaguar XJR-15 and they share the same carbon fiber tub.

The car was eventually replaced with Jaguar’s XJ220, which was simply a road-going super car (hence no R in the name, for racing). Inside, the car was so loud that you had to wear a headset to communicate with your passengers.

Shooting the Jaguar XJR-15: Location

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I did what I could to de-emphasize the space we were in.

As you might expect, this car couldn’t move from its spot, which happened to be in an underground garage. While not ideal for showing off its “life of luxury” price tag, we work with what he have. It was dark and tight. That meant light painting.

Highlighting details

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Lots of dials and switches, like a real race car. Because it is.
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Don’t forget the mileage counter when you shoot a car going up for sale.

It’s likely the person bidding on this car knows their stuff. That means it’s important to capture all the details to show off the overall condition of the car. Center lock wheels, special toggle switches and the carbon fiber all had to be displayed.

Some mechanical compartments had not been detailed yet, so we skipped that part.

Making it special

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I did another from the rear, the result looking like the engine is “breathing”, as in a cold morning.

Shooting a car like this in a dingy garage, as special as it is, means I needed to add some WOW factor myself. For that, I chose photographer’s haze, which I’ve mentioned here before.

This was done at the end of the shoot, so the haze wouldn’t linger around every shot. The result is a shot that hopefully catches your eye, and makes you want to click through the car’s images.

Jaguar XJR-15 Mega Gallery

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Silhouettes are sexy

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The exposed carbon fiber tub
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Clam shell, but no luggage stored here.

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The car is so loud that you need to wear a headset.

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Engine intakes
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Center lock wheels.

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It’s a bit hard to work with flip up headlights and light paint – you have to account for both states when retouching.

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TWR is the car’s designer, and has designed many famous racing cars.

Commissions may be received for product links on this site, so help out if you can. I only write about products I use and believe in.

I use Nikon camera bodies and lenses, a Westcott Ice Light 2, Manfrotto tripod, B + W filters and an iMac Pro to make the art you see here.

Email me at mike@machineswithsouls.com with any questions.

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Legal

Due to factors beyond the control of Machines With Souls LLC and Mike D’Ambrosio, I cannot guarantee against improper use or unauthorized modifications of this information. Machines With Souls LLC and Mike D’Ambrosio assumes no liability for property damage or injury incurred as a result of any of the information contained in this post. Use this information at your own risk. Machines With Souls LLC and Mike D’Ambrosio recommends safe practices when working on vehicles and or with tools seen or implied in this post.

Due to factors beyond the control of Machines With Souls LLC and Mike D’Ambrosio, no information contained in this post shall create any expressed or implied warranty or guarantee of any particular result. Any injury, damage, or loss that may result from improper use of these tools, equipment, or from the information contained in this post is the sole responsibility of the user and not Machines With Souls LLC or Mike D’Ambrosio.

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