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Shooting the Saleen S7

Learn how I shot the Saleen S7 at AMMO NYC's Garage, using ambient light, photographer's haze and light painting.

Saleen S7

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Next up in Larry’s incredible garage is sort of a unicorn. As an automotive photographer, I’ve seen and shot all sorts of rare vehicles, but the last time I could remember seeing a Saleen S7 was at an auto show almost 20 years ago. Yet here it was, in front of me.

Once again, the car came with a “do not move” rule, but that’s ok. We’ll use creativity and different angles to give these shots a new look compared to last week’s Rimac.

Prop me up

I lamented that I forgot my photographer’s haze during the Rimac shoot, but I remembered it here. It would help me give the Saleen a different mood from the Rimac. Also handy was a set of tires on hand for Larry’s Porsche Macan. But, this is a garage, and a stack of tires helps to give these images a unique composition. By setting them off to the side, we give the eye something to help draw attention in towards the car by framing it.

Pretty in purple

The purple accent wall was featured in the Rimac shoot, but there, it was just an accent. Here, I kept the exposure open longer and just left those purple lights on. The result is pretty nice. It highlights the dramatic curves of the Saleen while giving it dramatic shadow. Then, I turned them off and lit the car with my ice light as I usually do. Just enough to fill in some details.

Saleen S7
Going high for this super wide car.
Saleen S7
Comin’ at you.

Let’s get sudsy with the Saleen

AMMO is a detailing brand. So I had the car sprayed down with AMMO FOAM and worked quickly to light paint it. This isn’t the norm though – the soap moves! That means multiple exposures would be difficult. I left the purple lights on, had the brake lights on, and lit the car much further away for a broader coverage. I still had to combine a few shots, but the result is pretty dramatic, and there is minimal ghosting.

Saleen S7
The final soapy shot.

Haze me down

Finally, the headlights. They always get their own exposure, but I wanted to highlight the light beam that comes out. Sometimes, photographer’s haze can sit still, but here we had a draft. That means moving quickly to capture the “cloud” affect before it dissipated. My advice here is to bring plenty and experiment with shots until you have one you like.

Saleen S7
The poster shot. Notice how the tire stack nicely frames the car. Even the light bounces off.
Saleen S7
Getting the haze to sit still proved difficult.
Saleen S7
Water beading with AMMO.
Saleen S7
Going for the mirror effect.
Saleen S7
The interiors of super cars usually reveals their true identity. In this case, vintage 2003.

The Saleen was so low, wide and awesome. It’s a beautiful car and one I hope I get to see again!

Special thanks to Larry for making the Saleen available. Car provided by The Cultivated Collector.

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 with any questions.

Follow along on Instagram @machineswithsouls

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