How to make a composite image in Photoshop

You’ve seen them before and may not have even noticed: composite images. That’s where two or more images are combined into one for a seamless look, and it’s used mostly for changing the environment the car is in. This post is all about how to make a convincing composite image that does not look fake.

We’ll use a personal shot I took of my own BMW 335 as an example. I chose it because I liked the lighting and angle of the shot, but not the location. Let’s get to it!

The original image

Normally I go into detail about how to shoot, but for this tutorial, I’ll skip that part and assume you have an image you like, but simply want to change the location of.

Original BMW 335i image
Here is the original, untouched image. Note the dull background.

Now before we go nuts on the image itself, we have to choose a new background. I find it easiest to match up horizon lines, which meant most likely keeping that mound of snow in the background. There are many free stock houses you can choose from, and I found this image by doing a google search. I wanted to maintain the winter theme, so I went looking for some winter mountains.

Stock mountain image
The original stock image. Thanks to Simon Matzinger.

This image has a nice horizon line, and the scale of the mountains won’t overpower the car itself – they will feel far enough away.

Setting up the scene

You’ll want to create a new Photoshop canvas that is big enough to accommodate all your images, in this case, I’ve made mine 6000 x 3000px. Drag the mountain image in. To simulate a little lens blur, I’ll add a Gaussian blur of 1.2 to the mountain image, since you’d never had the entire image in focus if the shot were real.

Now drag in your flattened car image in (do some basic retouching on it like sharpening and clarity beforehand to avoid making this file huge). Add a layer mask to it, and paint out the parts you don’t want, mainly the background.

bmw 335 combined 2
By adding a layer mask, you can erase the parts of the shot you don’t need.

Let’s pause for a moment. You’ll notice I’ve selected a shot that has lighting that matches the car. The driver side is lit up, and so is the sunlight coming in toward the top of the mountains. Matching lighting is the most important part for realism. If lighting looks off, the image will automatically look fake. Even the light from the melted snow on the floor matches nicely.

We’ve only done some basic editing, but you can already tell that the final image will work. Try multiple images for backgrounds when doing these: I never get it right on the first try.

Color correcting

Now we have to make sure everything matches into one seamless look. Start be duplicating your masked car image, make it a smart object, and add the following Camera Raw filter:

Camera Raw settings
Camera Raw settings on your masked car image.

The result is a more purple tone on the car plus better lighting on the front end, to match the tone of the background.

BMW 335i shot 3
We’ve added some purple and better lighting on the car part.

At this point, we can copy both the mountain and car images, flatten them into one image, and make it a smart object. We’ll add some Lut filters to the image now get an even tone on it. Copy your flattened image 2 more times to that you have 3 layers of it, then add a Camera Raw filter to each one.

Layer 1: Vivid Lut filter: opacity 50%.

Layer 2: Cross Process filter, 20% opacity

Layer 3: Matte filter: 30% opacity

The result:

bmw 335i shot 4
The result of the combined Lut filters.

The changes are subtle, but help to give the image a unified look. The additional hits of blue on the car help set it in the scene.

Let there be light

So far, we’ve combined shots and given everything a unified color look and feel, and now we’ll add some emphasis on lighting. As always, visit Shinobi lens flairs. Add a dirty lens flair layer, set the blend mode to screen, and make the opacity 60%. Then, enlarge it by about 40% and set it on the right side of the image, with just the “glare” part coming through on the side of the image, and the rest hanging off the canvas. We set it here because we have a lot of light hitting the car on the driver’s side, and we should explain where that hit is coming from.

Then, we’ll select both the image and the lens flair, duplicate them and combine them into one smart object. Finally, we’ll add a Camera Raw filter of “Lift Shadow” to the image, and set the opacity of the layer to 45%.

Result:

BMW 335i shot 5
We’ve added some lighting on the right side, and a little bit of fog.

Finishing Touches

The last items will help make the image pop more. First, add a new layer and paint with your airbrush along the bottom using black (#000000), then set the opacity to 30%. This adds some darkness to the foreground, and I almost always do this on every image I take.

Next, add a new layer, and again using your airbrush, paint some orange (#ff9428) blobs by the lens flair, then set the opacity to 10%. This will add some color to the light for a more sunset-type of feel.

Add another new layer, and again using the airbrush tool, paint the windshield black to reduce some of the distracting glare. Set the opacity to 25%.

Now, well warm the image up. Add a new color adjustment layer called “Color Lookup” and choose “Crisp_Warm”. Set the opacity to 50%, and then select the mask on the layer. Using the gradient tool set to “Circle”, add a gradient so that the warmth come from the lighting on the right side. Your gradient should look like this:

Color gradient
Color gradient and mask

Finally, add another color adjustment layer called “photo filter”, and set it to Warming Filter (85), density to 30%.

The result, from beginning to end:

BMW 335 composite layer animation
The edit of the image, from start to finish.

And all your layers should be organized like below. Each group interacts with the group below it.

All Photoshop layers
All Photoshop layers.

Where might I use this technique?

Well, major manufactures often do this instead of paying for an on location shoot. Sometimes, they look great, other times, not so much. Below is an example I did for a BMW 2 Series, using a studio shot for the car, and an empty background.

Remember to have fun with these and use your imagination! You might just turn one of your least favorite shots into one of your best.

BMW 2 Series Convertible
This is a composite of 2 images, done for BMW USA.

Feel free to email me at mike@machineswithsouls.com with any questions.

Follow along on Instagram @machineswithsouls

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.

How to get started making automotive art (and getting paid for it)

This is going to be a bit different from a normal ‘how-to” blog post. The question I get asked most by far is simple “How did you get started?” Below I’ll list out some of the things I’ve done that have gotten me to where I am today.

1. Love your subject matter.

I’m going to assume that you have a love for cars – otherwise why be here. But this really does apply to anyone making art for a living: love your subject matter. I’ve had a thing for cars since I was 13. I made my parents drive me to dealerships to get books, subscribed to magazines, memorized specs, all in the name of the automobile. If you love what or who you’re working with, it won’t be nearly as hard to motivate yourself out of bed in the morning; it’ll just come naturally. So be real with yourself and ask what you love looking at the most.

Mitsubishi 3000GT
Here it is – My very first “photo shoot” with my Mitsubishi 3000GT, shot on my dad’s Yashica film camera. Dated March of 2001. Note the Twin Towers are still here.

2. Have a solid background

I was lucky; I knew what I’ve wanted to do since I was little, so I didn’t go to a “normal” college. Instead, I chose SVA in New York City, which focuses on making art. Yes, it has an excellent reputation and helped to  get my foot in doors once I graduated, but it does not have to be SVA – any art school can teach you the basics of composition, lighting, equipment and design.

It might surprise you to learn that I’m not very good at drawing, painting or sculpting. But I managed to get in without taking a single art class in high school because of my inherit talent. Focus on what you need to learn to make the art you want, let your natural ability show, and you’ll leave with a piece of paper that you can show to people that says you know how to make pretty things.

Nissan 350z
I’d revisit the spot many years later with my 350Z and pocket Canon Digital camera.

3. Have interest in multiple things

Speaking of education, my degree from SVA says “Bachelor of fine arts in graphic design”. Nope, not a single photography course taken. Instead, I became an expert in layout, composition, typography and design, and how each interact with another. This ability has lead to me to designing brochures and websites for BMW, graphics for AMMO NYC, and even coding this very website. Be versatile, learn multiple disciplines and keep in mind that you might be the best automotive photographer in the world, but your photos still need a place to live. Learn design to showcase them better.

BMW Art Direction
I’m not in the shot, just took a pic at the BMW Performance Center art directing the videographers. My first ‘I made it!” moment.

4. Ask!

Please don’t ever be afraid to ask a question. Social media has made it easier than ever to find examples of work you love by artists you admire; DM them and ask how they made it. Email them off social media for more detailed questions.

Perhaps you think you’re on the level of a professional, and you’d like to make art for your favorite brands. Once again, ask! Introduce yourself via email. If you want to shoot for BMW Performance Magazine, go out and shoot BMWs and email examples of your work to the editor. People have a short attention span, so prove to them that you can do the work you’re asking to do right away. Chances are, you’ll catch their eye. I’ve gotten to work with these brands because I’ve been both bold enough to ask, and prepared to do the job when I’ve won it.

How did I work with Larry? I designed an email blast using AMMO elements, then emailed it to him and said “Hey, I like what you’re doing. Let me help you.” You’ll hear more nos than yeses, but you just need a few to get your name out there.

Maserati AMMO NYC shoot
A behind the scenes shot of my shoot with Larry of AMMO NYC. Another moment I was proud of because I did it on my own, without the help of an agency.

5. Believe in yourself

It’s the best piece of advice I can give you. When you’re on social media, only people that like your work will follow you and give you love, and it’s easy to be lulled into a false sense of security. If you do make a breakthrough, people will hate. This is often because you’re doing the things they want to do, but aren’t because of a million different excuses. Ignore them. And ignore the love to. Stay true to you. Ask people you respect and admire for real feedback. I promise, from teachers at SVA to co-workers to internet comments, I’ve heard it all. But I’m still here.

BMW Performance Magazine
My first magazine shoot, on the cover no less. Again, I did it on my own, without agency help, and with my original D5200 camera.

Feel free to email me at mike@machineswithsouls.com with any questions.

Follow along on Instagram @machineswithsouls

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.

 

Tutorial: How to shoot with two cars-part 2

Last week, I went into detail on how to shoot two cars in one shoot, while making them feel separate. Now, I’ll go over the second part of this shoot – both cars in the frame.

We’ll be using some light painting here as well, so make sure to bring your Ice Light.

Location

30 Hudson Street
Jersey City, NJ 07302

Gear

  • Camera with detachable lens
  • Ice Light
  • Polarizer
  • Tripod

Setting up

In an ideal world, the entire area would be dark, with just the city lit in the background. You’d then go in and light paint each car individually. But we’re next to the tallest building in Jersey City, so I don’t think they will turn the lights out for us. As a result, we get lots of “contamination” lighting from other sources. Be aware of this for every exposure you take, because it can cause hot spots and uneven lighting in certain areas of the photo.

Also an issue: street lights. This was the spot we picked for the shot, but you’ll notice that light in the middle. Again, not ideal, but these lights are everywhere in a city environment, so we can either edit them out (a lengthy process) – or integrate them in a non-distracting way.

Lastly – it’s an active road, so watch out for cars – and car headlights. If one drives by, reshoot your exposure because those headlights WILL ruin the shot.

We wanted the city in the background, and this was the only spot where it could be seen – another street we went down had been closed off. So be flexible on your shoots, you never know what will happen!

Shooting

I took a few more exposures than I needed, but in the end, only four were needed. A base, and then 3 to light the cars.

Shot 1

  • Aperture: f/4
  • ISO: 160
  • Focal length: 34mm
  • Exposure: 3 seconds

The result is this:

BMW M3s in NYC
The first shot, used for the city in the background.

Right off the bat, you’ll see that the Austin Yellow car is lit from the side by the building lobby, but the Silverstone is completely in shadow. The city itself is lit nicely.

Shot 2

Exposure: 3 seconds

Let’s grab the light bar and paint some of the car front end’s in.

BMW M3 NYC
The second shot using the light wand to light up the front end.

Shot 3

Exposure: 3 seconds

I’ll move the light to the side and light up the driver side corner for better definition.

BMW M3 NYC lightpainting
The side lit up for better definition.

Shot 4

Exposure: 3 seconds

Finally, I’ll bring the wand around to the other side and light both cars up. Naturally, this will light up the front end again, but that makes it too hot, so later on, we’ll paint in the other exposures.

BMW M3 NYC Lightpainting
The last shot – notice my hand waving the light bar back and forth.

See that light on the ground? That comes from not using the optional barn doors on the Ice Light. They are useful in that they prevent the sort of lighting issue you see here, but they (on mine at least) are loose-fitting and never stay in position. I find them to be a pain in the butt, so when I’m in a hurry, like in this scene, I will sometimes not use them. We can edit that out later on.

Post Production

To start off, we will open all 4 photos in Camera Raw and “sync” our settings. We’ll just add the following to everything:

  • Sharpen: +70
  • Clarity: +30
  • Shadow: +20

Then, open all 4 as smart objects, and drag all 4 images into one Photoshop file. Group them to keep the file organized, as there will be many layers.

Then, chose your base image, where everything is well lit, and add layer masks to the others. Review each image carefully to see what sections you’ll want to paint back in for a complete look.

Layer masks
Add layer masks to each and paint in the sections that you want.
BMW M3 NYC edit 1
All 4 exposures combined into one shot.

Now we can go ahead and bring out some detail. Copy and combine the group into a new flat image, make it a smart object, and add the following adjustments in a Camera Raw filter:

edits 2
Camera Raw edits after we combine the image.

This will add some sharpness and brightness to the overall image. Next, we will want to get rid of all those gnarly reflections on the cars, so copy your image and flatten it, then go in with the healing brush and get rid of as much as you can.

Photoshop edits
The GIF shows just how many white light dots I took out from the cars – the building in the foreground out of frame is responsible, and sometimes there is no way around it on location.

 

Since we have that light in the shot, we might as well make it a bit more atmospheric so it adds something to the composition. Using a “Dirty Lens” flair from Shinobi, we’ll set the blend mode to screen and add an adjustment layer to it to de-saturate it.

BMW M3 lamp post edit
Adding a little lens flair to the lamp post.

Finally, it all feels a bit bright, so let’s actually go back to a darker exposure, bring it back on top of everything, and set the opacity to 40%, then paint back in some of the black with a layer mask and your paint brush set to airbrush.

BMW M3 NYC
The final edit – we’ve darkened the area around the cars to make the shot more moody.

That’s all! One shot with 2 cars, at night, light painted, underneath the tallest building in New Jersey.

Feel free to email me at mike@machineswithsouls.com with any questions.

Follow along on Instagram @machineswithsouls

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.

Tutorial: How to shoot with two cars-part 1

Today I’ll go in depth on a shoot with two M3s, showing some sunset, light painting, and framing techniques. We’ll cover a few specific shots step by step. Lets get to it!

Two M3 owners, Chris (Silverstone F80), and Antione (Austin Yellow F80) wanted some poster shots of their rides with a city backdrop. Shooting two cars, both separately and together, presents its own challenges: you literally have twice the work to consider. Make sure you’re looking for the same things you always do; odd reflections, bad lighting and good composition.

Since we’ll be shooting both cars both on their own and together, I’ve split these tutorials in half. This portion will cover two master shots from the first sunset portion of the shoot with both cars alone. The second part will cover both together in one shot with light painting.

Location

2 Cambridge Way
Weehawken, NJ 07086

We’ve shot here before, with an E92 M3 at sunset, but it was worth coming back to. It’s a location that offers a lot of variation of background, and when shooting two cars, that becomes important. Each owner should feel as if they are getting their own shoot; not recycled ideas.

The first shot will be Chris’s beautiful Silverstone M3. Silverstone is a complex color – it picks up tones from the environment much more than some other colors, yet always has a blue hue to it. I tried to keep this in mind while both shooting and editing.

Equipment

  • Tripod
  • Digital camera with separate lens (I’m using a Nikon Z7 with a 24-70 f/4 lens)
  • Polarizer

Composition – Silverstone M3

One of the main draws of this location is the proximity to the Manhattan skyline, so I set the car up along a quiet intersection overlooking the city. There are 2 ways to frame the car:

BMW M3 Silverstone
The original exposure – I prefer this composition.

 

BMW M3 NYC
The alternate way to frame.

I like option 1 a bit more because  it frames the car better. It’s my personal opinion, but you most commonly read from left-to-right, so letting your eye move to the car set on the right hand side and ending there, as oppose to sweeping over the car and landing on the skyline, felt like a better option. But it’s important to still show the skyline, which is why the car is located next to the buildings, as oppose to centered in front. I ending up editing both to demonstrate the difference, and I’ll show you how below.

Settings

Shot 1 – Silverstone M3

  • ISO: 100
  • F/4
  • Exposure: 1/15s
  • Focal Length: 53mm

If you’d like the buildings and background to be sharper, I’d shoot at around F/9, though I like the contrast of focus with the car itself. Light was already low, so a tripod is required. Turn your polarizer to reduce reflections on a different part of the car, and take another shot with the same settings.

A third shot was taken with an exposure time of 1/60 s to capture the LED headlights.

Composition – Austin Yellow M3

Shot 2 – Austin Yellow M3

  • ISO: 100
  • F/4
  • Exposure: 1/5s
  • Focal Length: 34mm

For Antione’s Austin Yellow M3, I wanted a unique spot that would highlight the vibrant color. Since the Silverstone was already shot with the city backdrop, I looked for other places that were atmospheric. An alleyway in the same complex proved to have excellent lighting, so I positioned the car against the sidewalk and shot a few exposures for proper reflections and lighting.

This is one of my favorite shots ever, and as you’ll see, not much editing was required.

BMW M3 Austin Yellow
The original exposure

Let’s Edit – Silverstone

The Z7 captures much more detail than my old D5200, so there is much less retouching needed in Camera Raw.

Since it was shot at sunset, I wanted to emphasize the purple and orange tones of the image.

To begin, open the RAW image in Camera RAW, and adjust the following:

  • Exposure: +.33
  • Temperature: -6300
  • Tint: -20
  • Contrast: -20
  • Highlights: -50
  • Shadows: +40
  • Whites: -53
  • Blacks: +40
  • Texture: +20
  • Clarity: +30
  • Dehaze: +15
  • Sharpening amount: +70

You’ll get this…

BMW M3 in Silverstone
The base image.

Looks nice. But we really need to emphasize the sky. Copy your original image layer, and add a layer mask to it. Hit COMMAND + DELETE to fill the entire mask with black (nothing showing), then select filter > camera raw filter, and adjust the following:

  • Temperature: 8200
  • Tint: 0
  • Contrast: +24
  • Highlights: -100
  • Shadows: +40
  • Whites: -100
  • Blacks: +40
  • Texture: +20
  • Clarity: +55
  • Dehaze: +35

That results in this…

BMW M3 in Silverstone
With the sky edited.

Notice the car is still the original shade from the photo. Silverstone is naturally blueish in hue, so we’ll want to reduce the effect. Copy the sky layer, delete the layer mask, and reduce the opacity to %50 percent, which leads to this…

BMW M3 in Silverstone
With full image matching tones.

I always like to darken the foreground on shots, so simply add a new layer and paint the bottom edge black with the airbrush tool. Then select everything and group it, duplicate the group, and convert it to a new smart object. Add a new Camera Raw filter for additional sharpening to your new layer. Why do I flatten the original layers (while always keeping a copy)? Because I want to add to the original edit, not change it, so I duplicate and flatten.

  • Temperature: +5
  • Shadows: +5
  • Blacks: +20
  • Clarity: +20
  • Dehaze: +10
  • Saturation: +5
  • Vignette: -10

Results in this…

BMW M3 in Silverstone
Adding a boost in contrast and clarity.

Let’s add finishing touches. Select your layers, group, duplicate, and flatten, then convert to smart object again. Now add a new Camera Raw filter, and select a Lut filter called “Vivid”. Reduce the layer opacity to 60 percent. Duplicate the layer and adjust the filter to Warm Contrast, then reduce it to 40 percent opacity. Leads to this…

BMW M3 in Silverstone
After adding Lut filters.

Finally, I’ll just airbrush a little light coming from the right-hand side for a warm tone – hard to see on here, but obvious in the full-res edit. You’re all set!

BMW M3 in Silverstone
The final image.

And here is the alternate composition. Again, I like both but I prefer the first.

BMW M3 in Silverstone
It’s nice to get the tower in the background, but it changes the focus of the image.

Let’s Edit – Austin Yellow

This Austin Yellow is a much different image in tone and color. Here, I have 3 shots I’m working with, 2 for different lens polarizer positions to reduce reflections, and one for lighting.

BMW M3 in Austin Yellow
Original image, polarizer position one.

 

BMW M3 Photoshop Mask
The painted out parts on exposure 2. This goes over the base exposure and replaces the parts of the reflection that are harsh and/or busy.

 

BMW M3 Photoshop Mask
The last exposure used for lighting. Since the street lamps needed a much shorter exposure than the car, I masked out everything but those. Since the exposure is also darker, I also airbrushed back some of the texture for mood.

That leads to this image:

BMW M3 in Austin Yellow
The 3 exposures combined into one, with reflections reduced.

Since there are some distracting elements, let’s go in with a healing brush and take some more things out:

BMW M3 retouching

Finally, I’ll add some tint to the windows to help avoid seeing through the them. Then, I’ll add a few Lut filters to give the entire image more atmosphere, and darken the foreground.

BMW M3 in Austin Yellow
The final image.

So 2 different shots from the same location, with 2 unique results.

Stay tuned for next week’s post, when I review the second part of the shoot – both cars at the same time.

Feel free to email me at mike@machineswithsouls.com with any questions.

Follow along on Instagram @machineswithsouls

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.

A tour of the biggest car show on the east coast

Northern New Jersey is home to some of the most exotic cars in the country, and once each year, they come out to play at a very special Cars and Café event held at the Garden State Plaza mall. Take a walk with me through well over 1,000 cars and 15,000 spectators to see some rare machinery and learn a few tips along the way.

A Ford GT. Barriers marked off certain spots, so I had to either shoot through them or under them.

If you happened to be at the show, you undoubtedly saw me laying on the (surprisingly hot!) ground a lot. This was to give the cars a more aggressive angle. Remember that every day, you see a car from normal standing height. When you get lower (or higher), you change the perspective and magic happens.

Corvette
I’m not a big Corvette fan, but this shot was to good to miss.

Take advantage of the shots given to you – like the Corvette above. Though not a passion of mine, the shot itself, with its clean background and nicely profiled side, was to good to miss. And the car does look great from that angle.

 

BMW M4
Sometimes a car just ends up in a great spot for a shot.
Porsche 911 Turbo
Sometimes a car’s best feature is its butt. Try different angles.

Last year’s event had a lot of cloud cover, which led to dramatic shots. Here, bright lighting and a cloudless sky meant no lens flairs. Sometimes clean shots are just as nice.

 

BMW 1M
The rarest of all modern BMW M cars.
Lambo Aventador
Use a faster shutter speed to make a moving car look like it’s standing still.
Lambo Huracan
The sun hit this Lambo at just the right angle to make the paint really pop.
BMW RnineT
I love bikes, but rarely have the chance to shoot them. This BMW RnineT is a beauty.
McLaren Senna
Some cars always have a crowd around them, and making that crowd a part of your shot can make it interesting too.
Jaguar F Type
Changing your angle from a normal standing height…
Jaguar F Type
…to this makes all the difference.
We are all this kid…
BMW M2
That’s a wrap.

Feel free to email me at mike@machineswithsouls.com with any questions.

Follow along on Instagram @machineswithsouls

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.

Photography tips that I’ve learned…the hard way

Surprise! I’ve messed up on shoots. From shaky camera work to not thinking about environment, I’ve ruined plenty of shots. Below are some tips to avoid doing what I’ve done, so you don’t have to learn the hard way.

1. Temperature

Have you ever shot on a hot, humid summer day? Then on the way to the shoot, you’ve most likely cranked up the A/C in the car, like I did on the way to the park where I planned on shooting my own M3.

When I arrived, I took out my gear and assembled my camera, only to find that my lens has fogged up. No worries, a quick wipe will fix…except it didn’t. Neither did compressed air, or warming it up with a towel. In the end, I had to wait about 20 minutes for the temperature of the lens to equalize with the outside and keep the lens clear. Since a lens in closed to the outside environment and  filled with glass, it takes time for it to adjust to temperature if you suddenly move from one extreme to the other.

The result? I missed the best part of sunset, and will forever rue the day I forgot science.

 

BMW E92 M3
Even after wiping and waiting, the lens was still foggy, and I missed the shot.

2. Shaking

I’ve covered how to do a panning shot before, but it pays to show some ruined shots that COULD have been epic, if only I’d been prepared. Keep the exposure short, get low and give yourself a good base to stabilize, and shoot in bursts. It’s cool, no pressure here, since you can’t do it again most likely. Sorry, Yaz Marina M3.

BMW F80 M3
This could have been awesome, but I wasn’t ready and was to shaky with the camera.

3. Distracting reflections

A polarizer for your lens is probably the most important thing you can get for shooting a car, and I keep it on 99% of the time. But even when it’s on, you could be looking at the wrong part of the car, and missing some bad reflections. Make sure to look at the environment around you too. If someone is reflecting in the car, just wait until they move (or ask nicely). This shot of a Ford GT would have been really nice, if the person standing there in a red shirt hadn’t been. Oops. Of course, you can retouch it, but it’s always best to look for these things in camera, as oppose to after.

Ford GT
If only I waited for Mr. Red Shirt to move.

4. Wrong color balance

I love shooting cars, and there is nothing like first getting to the scene and setting up, thinking about the awesome work you’re about to do. But sometimes I rush in the moment, and forget to take a step back and review my camera settings (which were most likely left on settings used for the last shoot, and thus, all wrong.) The most egregious of these is using the wrong color balance setting.

You CAN fix this in post, but why add extra work? Simply get it right in your setting, and the photos will look that much better afterward. I’ll review color balancing is a future post for more details on it.

Audi AMMO R8
I was so excited to shoot this car, I forgot to adjust the white balance, and hence it had an orange/green hue that came from an off-frame light source. It was fixed in post.

5. Bad luck

This is out of our control, but sometimes you show up and things just don’t work out. Going back to that M3 sunset shot with the fogged over lens, if I HAD been able to shoot it, look who ruined the party? Hi Subaru Outback.

Remember that we usually shoot in public spaces, and even though it should be obvious what is happening, some people just don’t realize, so simply ask someone to move out of frame if you can. This woman, however, elected to stay put, and with the sunset nearly over, I moved on.

BMW E92 M3 Sunset
Oh Subaru Outback. On the other hand, if I was shooting the Outback, it would have been a great marketing shot!

6. Light painting

This will admittedly take a lot of practice, and I will go over step by step how to do this like in the AMMO video, but for now, just be aware that moving the light bar in FRONT of the car is usually not good. Light the car from father away and hold the exposure open longer to capture more light. Otherwise, it’s very difficult to retouch out. The shot below is good for a wheel light section, but everything is just useless.

If you’re lighting a specific section, you can stand in front of the car as long as you’re not covering what you want to shoot.

Yea. Don’t light paint like this.

7. Out of focus

I always like to check my work on a larger screen, like an iPad, in case something is out of focus, and I always take multiple shots to ensure that at least one is good. But it’s important to check your previews sometimes to make sure everything is ok, because if you shoot 6 shots and never look, and use the same setting for each, then you’ll end up with 6 bad shots.

A good example is this F80 wheel – I took 7 shots, and all were blurry, Only with much retouching was the end result usable. If your shot is soft and you’re having a hard time focusing, aim your camera at something else, focus, then come back to your object and focus again. Also make sure you have enough light so the camera can pick up and focus on what you want it to.

BMW F80 Steering Wheel
I really needed to get this right and I did not. As a result of the softness, a lot of post work was needed.

Now, if you read this and went “Duh Mike, I knew all that”, then great! But hopefully I’ve helped some poor soul pay attention to these things before the shot was missed.

Feel free to email me at mike@machineswithsouls.com with any questions.

Follow along on Instagram @machineswithsouls

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.

Getting automotive sunsets right

Sunset shots: Everyone loves ’em. But when is the best time to shoot them? Before the sun has gone down, or after? Do I need multiple exposures? I’ll show you everything you need, including how to edit them, for the most dramatic shots possible.

Pick a good spot

Yes, duh, as always, the first step is picking a good spot. But consider the following: Do you want to see the actual sun setting over the horizon, or just catch the beautiful sky that results from it? It can sometimes be a challenge to find a spot with a clear horizon view. Also consider if you want the camera facing the sun, or away from it. Facing towards it will give you a dramatic flair, but at the cost of losing some sky color and shadow.

BMW M3 at sunset
A clean horizon line off a lake is a great spot for a sunset.

The best time

Sunrise / sunset is the best time to shoot a car, giving the scene nice, even light. But there are still “sections” of time that work best for images. Let’s take a typical summer evening. If you start shooting at 6:30, you have about an hour of good, usable light to work with. I find it best to wait until the sun has almost set, about 7:10, and keep the exposure longer, which helps bring out details in shadows and sky. Since you’ll want to try different angles, walk around your location and shoot a few empty frames, just to see how the light and sky look – then move the car to your desired spot and and begin working. Remember that even in the summer, the light will change very fast; you’ll never get the same shot twice if you move the car, so make sure you save your best spot for the best light.

Kia Stinger GT at sunset
This was shot after the sun had set, giving the clouds excellent detail.

Shoot lots

A camera, no matter how fancy, cannot see everything at once, and sunset produces a high contrast scene, meaning there is a lot of difference between the brightest and darkest points of an image. To overcome this and create an evenly lit image, you must take multiple exposures and combine them. Usually 2-3 is enough. Shoot one where you focus on the car itself, raise the exposure for lighter shadows and more detail. Shoot a second on a shorter exposure to help bring out the clouds and sun in the sky – you don’t want this to appear blown out because we’ll add the sky to the original exposure shot for the car. If you have the sun directly in your image, shoot a third image with a short exposure so both the sun and surrounding area do not appear blown out.

If you’re looking for a sharp starburst in your sunset, then set your aperture up higher – around F/16. The higher the F stop, the more defined the star burst will become.

BMW 440i Convertible at sunset
This final image was composed from 3 different exposures. A lens flair was also added.

After the sun has gone down.

Just because the sun left does not mean you’re out of good light. The first few minutes after a sunset can create a brilliant sky, so pick a spot and fire away. Keep your exposure up higher, and shoot at least 2 frames for the car and sky. I also bring along my ice light, in case there are some spots that need an additional hit of light to bring details out of.

A general rule of color: if you want an orange sky, shoot before the sun goes down. For purple tones, shoot right after as it gets darker.

BMW 335i sunset
Purple tones come from after the sun sets.

Lens flair

Sunrise/Sunset is the perfect time to add a little something extra in the order of a lens flair in post production. The best place to add it would be the brightest part of your sky in the image. Make sure to match the light source of the sun itself, otherwise you’ll have natural light coming in one direction, and the lens flair in the other, and it won’t look real.

You can also add some natural flair by shooting into the sun. Just don’t go overboard, and make sure to get a few without the flair, in case the client finds it distracting.

Ferrari 348 sunset
I shot this in the morning, with the sun still rising. The flair and spots are all natural.

Example time

I’ll now walk you through the shot at the top of this article of a BMW 440i Convertible, shot for BMW of Roxbury.

1. The set up

Location: 270 Watters Road, Port Murray, NJ.

Camera: Nikon D5200.

Lens: Nikon 16-80 mm lens

  • Focal length: 38mm
  • Aperture: F/11
  • Color balance: Shade setting
  • Exposure times: 1/6, 1/80
  • Mounted on tripod with remote shutter
  • ISO: 100

Time: 8:20 p.m.

2. The shots

BMW 440i
A longer exposure results in better details in the shadows and car, especially a dark car like this one.
BMW 440i
A second exposure helps to bring out the details in the sky, so it isn’t over exposed.

3. Combine in post

As always, you’ll can to combine the images into a single shot in photoshop. Bring both images into photoshop, and put a mask on the darker of the 2 images, then, paint in the sky and in this case, some road in the foreground.

BMW 440i
Combine both exposures for a single, evenly lit shot.

4. Edit

From here, you can take the image anywhere you’d like. For this one in particular, I flattened the image and then went back into Camera Raw to boost saturation, specific colors, contrast, and clarity.

BMW 440i Sunset
The result of flattening the image and adding a Camera Raw filter to it.

5. Let’s add flair.

Hopefully you were surprised when you noticed that the original image has no lens flair. Thanks to the hot spot in the right of the image, it makes a perfect spot to house a flair. I’m using the Shinobi flair called “Fireborn” here, then adding a LUT filter called 3D Stripe to boost the colors.

Finally, I’ll flatten all the layers and add a new Camera Raw filter, then add 2 LUT filters called “Cross Process” to help darken the foreground on the road, and “Lighten” to add a little fog for a flat look, painting in the sections that I want. The result is a sunset shot that makes you want to go for a ride with the top down.

BMW 440i Convertible at sunset
The final composite.

Feel free to email me at mike@machineswithsouls.com with any questions.

Follow along on Instagram @machineswithsouls

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.

How to shoot interiors

Vehicle interiors will never get you a million likes on Instagram, but they are an important part of shooting a car, especially one going up for sale. Remember that you spend 95% of your time with any car on the inside, and there are usually a ton of little details to capture.

I had a recent shoot for a Bring a Trailer client with a 2002 Range Rover, and wanted to demonstrate some unique ways you can shoot interiors.

Range Rover Parked
Exteriors get more likes, but don’t forget to give the inside some love.

Items you’ll need

  • A scrim
  • A lens polarizer
  • A light source (either natural or artificial)

Pick a location

As covered in last week’s post, picking a location can be crucial, even for interiors, because you can still see what’s outside the windows. Try matching the colors of the interior with what’s outside, and ensure nothing distracting can be seen. It’s best to shoot interiors with an aperture of around F/4 so you can blur out any background through the windows. In this case, the wood fence outside matches the wood trim of the interior.

Range Rover Steering Wheel
The scene outside perfectly matches the wood tones in the car.

Cover everything

Make sure you capture everything important about the car – from the seats, to the tailgate, and everything in between. I usually have a list with me of standard items that need to be covered, then ask the client if there is anything in particular they might need (which, in this case, was the cup holders of the center console).

Light properly

This is where a scrim and light bar come in handy. If you’re shooting during the day, the sun can create hot spots and high contrast areas, causing your image to have some dark spots, like in the foot wells. Using a scrim can help diffuse some of the sun’s natural light and create a soft area in the section you are shooting. Use the sun to your advantage too – you can get low and aim your camera up, giving you a chance for some nice lens flair or sunbursts.

I usually do just one exposure for an interior shot, but there are times when multiple are required, especially at night, and for this I’ll use my Ice Light. It can be mounted on a stand and used as a conventional light, which is great for helping to focus light where you want it. Trouble spots are usually foot wells, where heavy shadow lives, and windows, which can reflect the light, so be mindful of how every part of your shot looks.

Range Rover Sunroof
A higher F stop will give you a sharper sun burst star.

Night Time

There are some additional things you can do at night to show off the interior:

  • Modern cars have many LED accent lights throughout – this can have a nice effect, so make sure to take an exposure with them on.
  • Ensure the dash board lights are lit up, and try doing a timed exposure where you rev the engine and have the tachometer spinning.
  • Try a shot from the back seat looking out the front window with a nice vista – keep lighting low and pump up the ambient lighting.

Vary your shots

Interior shots don’t have to be boring. Just like you might on the outside, vary your lens angle to get different points. Try sitting in the back seat and shooting over the shoulder of the front passenger seat, aiming for the steering wheel. Get close so the front seat is blurred in front of you, giving the shot some depth. Or, get low in front of the driver side open door and aim up at the driver’s seat, giving it a more heroic look.

Details Matter

That little clock in the dashboard? The shift patter on top of the shifter? The stitching on a head rest? They all matter, and they all help tell the story of how special a car is. So after you shoot everything from a wide angle scale, focus in on the little things. They could be the difference between selling the car or just making it an also-ran.

Land Rover Clock
Details like this Land Rover clock matter, especially to someone familiar and looking to buy a particular model.

 

The goal is always going to be to make sure you’re selling the lifestyle along with the car – you want people to imagine themselves inside, driving and having fun.

Feel free to email me at mike@machineswithsouls.com with any questions.

Follow along on Instagram @machineswithsouls

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.

How to scout locations.

The setting you choose to take pictures of your car in has the biggest effect on how the image will come out. You probably figured that out all on your own. But how do you find these amazing spots? Can you find one out of thin air? I’ll show you how below.

It begins at home

I’m moving from my home this week, and so this one seems fitting to start with. You drive around the area you live in the most of course – you pass the same structures and roads every day. Start paying attention to them! Make a mental note of buildings, trees, parks – anything you think might be a good spot. I’ve pulled over many times on the way home and taken a quick photo with my iPhone so that I mark the location and have a general reminder of the spot. Then, bring your own car to a spot you’ve picked and do a shoot. You’ve already seen the spot and imagined how everything will look, and you’ll find the shoot itself will go much smoother. The title shot was taken on a road a drive by every day.

BMW 335i
I pass this road, and this view, every day.

Check the Googles

Google maps has been an invaluable tool – it allows me to see places I could not practically visit beforehand. Don’t underestimate the value of scouting a location this way; I did the AMMO Brooklyn shoot with this tool, and was able to visualize the shoot without ever seeing the spot until the day of.

Brooklyn wall
The wall in Brooklyn from one of my favorite AMMO shots.
AMMO Audi R8
The final shot.

Ignore the world

As an artist, you’re trained to look at things from a new perspective, and that’s how you need to approach a location. You only need a corner, or a section of your location to work for you. If it helps, put your hands around your face to cut off your peripheral vision – it’ll give you a better idea of the spot you want to shoot in. Many times have I been to a location only to have the client say “Oh this will never work” – it’s your job to set the scene up so that it will. Once they see the actual image, they will forget  about the rusted out water tower or tall weeds that are just off frame.

Arrive early

Whether shooting on your own or with a client, it pays to arrive early. That way, you can pick some sections that will work before good lighting runs out. It also looks better if you’re not looking around while the client is watching you.

Bring your phone

Sometimes it can be difficult to imagine a shot in your head – for that, a smart phone is an invaluable tool. It gives you a quick shot of what your final image will be, where lighting and shadows might fall, and the best angle to put the car in. I have an entire folder of images from shoots that show me a before and after of the location. So bring it with you and fire away!

Revisit

Sometimes a location is so good that you don’t get all the angles in one shoot – save it for another! Bring a car back to the next street, or even the same spot, but the camera facing a different part of the scene. And one of my favorite things with a good spot is to revisit it later – as in a year or two later. You’ll see how you’ve progressed from that first shoot, and it may help you see the location in a whole new light.

Feel free to email me at mike@machineswithsouls.com with any questions.

Follow along on Instagram @machineswithsouls

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.

Behind the scenes on the BMW M2 photoshoot

Today I’ll cover the BMW M2 Competition, shot for BMW of Manhattan, and show you a little behind the scenes at one of the busiest BMW dealers I’ve been to.

I was invited by Louis to stop by the dealership for a few hours and come check out a special M Performance version of the standard M2 Competition. What was so special, he would not say, only that it was on loan from BMW of North America, and that nothing could be shared about it. Of course, I jumped at the opportunity, and headed to midtown on a cloudy April afternoon.

Located on 57th Street and 11th Avenue, BMW of Manhattan is one of the largest BMW dealers I’ve been to. Spanning two buildings with multiple floors, they run a smooth operation considering they work in the busiest city in the country. Over 200 BMWs travel through its service bay doors each day, and there were some rare birds tucked away (such as an Alpina B7 with right-hand drive, and a 1M Coupe.) Their M showroom was of particular interest, with many M5s and M850is on display.

BMW F90 M5 at New York City
A BMW M5 in fetching Marina Bay Blue in the M showroom.
The M850i on display
The M850i on display

Louis led me to a parking garage that was filled to the brim with BMWs, and I finally saw what I had come for: A new BMW M2 Competition with prototype M Performance carbon fiber body parts fitted on it. Front fenders, a hood and trunk gave the car a menacing look.

BMW M2 carbon fiber
A close up of the carbon fiber hood and fenders before the shoot.

Louis had a good spot picked out, and with that, we headed out.

The Shot

Location: 158 Riverside Blvd, New York, NY 10069

Equipment

  • Camera with zoom lens
  • Polarizer
  • A spare battery

This was a live street, but somewhat out of the way, so it was not your typical New York City level of busy. I had the car positioned against some modern buildings and got low – this car is all about aggression, so the lower, the better. Think laying in the street (please have someone look out for traffic as you do this). The weather was overcast, so lighting was nice and even, even though it was mid-day, but this can cause the clouds to have a washed out look.

Normally I would be on a tripod to do this shoot, but room to haul gear was limited, so I left pretty much all of it behind and brought just an extra battery for the camera. If you look at the side of the car in this shot, you’ll see the gnarly reflections on the door panel – I would have done a second shot and rotated the polarizer to even out the reflection, but sometimes you must work within the constrains of the situation. The result is this:

BMW M2 Competition
The RAW shot, unedited.

As oppose to multiple exposures, just one means you are exposing and shooting for the entire frame. You’ll notice the sky is overexposed, with no detail, and the car, especially on the bottom, is underexposed, hiding details in the grill and wheels. But because we are working with RAW files, and the Nikon Z7 has excellent dynamic range, I knew I could go into post and pull out much more.

Post Production

Once we’ve loaded the image into Camera Raw, we’ll adjust some lighting:

  • Clarity +30
  • Dehaze +10
  • Blacks +30
  • Shadows +60
  • Highlights -100
  • Contrast -20
  • Exposure +0.33
  • Temperature: 6250
  • Tint: -20

You’ll end up with this:

BMW M2 Competiton
After Camera Raw editing

Notice how the grille and lower half of the car now has some detail to it. In doing this, the image felt a bit to green and yellow, so I went in and pulled those back. Go into HSL adjustments, Saturation, and select:

  • Orange -48
  • Yellow -23
  • Green-100

Select the Luminescence tab and reduce Yellow by -20. You’ll now have this:

BMW M2 Competition
After color adjustment.

 

You can now add editing effects in any way you like, but this felt ripe for a lens flair popping out from behind the building, and the highlights of the car would make it believable. We’ll use the Fireborn, Dirty Lens, and Supernova flairs for this. Start with Fireborn. Drag it into your canvas, and select “Screen” as your blend mode. Then, increase the size to about 200%, and place it next to the tallest tower.

BMW M2 Competiton
After adding FIREBORN lens flair.

Next is “Dirty Lens”, again setting it to screen, and size it to about 120%. Place it over the first flair and rotate it a bit to position it as you want for some nice gold tones of light.

BMW M2 Competition
With Dirty Lens Flair added

Finally, we can add a little tone to the left side of the image, and soften everything so it isnt as harsh. Add your Supernova lens flair, set it to Screen, and position mostly off frame on the left side, you’ll notice a soft red tone come through. This is a nice touch, but you can also leave it out. Finally, copy your layers, flatten, and turn into a smart object. Then, add a camera raw filter, and set a LUT filter of Lift Shadows. You’re done!

BMW M2 Competition
The Final shot.

Special thanks to BMW NYC for the access, and Louis for the tour and being a great spotter.

Feel free to email me at mike@machineswithsouls.com with any questions.

Follow along on Instagram @machineswithsouls

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.