MAMA News

  • 16 Jan 2020 9:29 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), an organization comprised of automotive journalists and related industry professionals, elected its 2020 board of directors during its annual January business meeting.

    Secretary Kelley Enright, treasurer Larry Nutson and communications director Jennifer Morand were all re-elected to serve two-year terms.

    Damon Bell continues to hold the role of MAMA president, Harvey Briggs continues as MAMA senior vice president and Jennifer Newman continues as vice president, membership.

    Jill Ciminillo, who served a two-year term as MAMA president from 2017-2018, will carry out her second-year term as president emeritus.  

    During the annual business meeting it was reported that the association currently maintains a membership of 253 automotive journalists and industry professionals serving in the automotive industry or related fields.

    It was also announced that MAMA will continue to host the opening breakfast at the 2020 Chicago Auto Show Media Preview on Thursday, Feb. 6, where the association will announce its 2020 Family Vehicle of the Year Award and Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year Award recipients.

    The Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride and Subaru Outback are the finalists for the MAMA Family Vehicle of the Year Award, and the BMW X7, Cadillac XT6 and Lincoln Aviator are the finalists for the luxury category. Following the award ceremony, Toyota North America’s Group Vice President Edward Laukes will present a program.

    For more information on the Midwest Automotive Media Association and upcoming events, visit www.mamaonline.org.

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    About the Midwest Automotive Media Association

    Founded in 1991, and now in its 29th year, the Midwest Automotive Media Association comprises 253 automotive journalists and public relations professionals from across the country – though based in the Chicago area. The organization’s primary purpose is to provide a forum for newsworthy people, major issues and new products in the auto industry.

  • 22 Nov 2019 3:41 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The chief engineer of the Lincoln Corsair, John Jraiche, presented the 2020 Lincoln Corsair to Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) members during the latest MAMA meeting.

    The Lincoln team strategically selected the Lang House in Chicago as the venue to present the vehicle, as the historical building exudes sophistication and charm while offering views of the neighboring Emil Bach House, which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The significance is that Corsair Chief Designer Kemal Curic picked up design cues from Frank Lloyd Wright when designing the vehicle, including his love for dramatic horizontal lines.


    The 2020 Corsair rounds out Lincoln's portfolio of luxurious SUVs, and is available with a 250-hp 2.0-liter or more powerful 2.3-liter engine that puts out 295 horsepower. Five selectable drive modes--Normal, Excite, Slippery, Deep Conditions and Conserve--alter powertrain parameters to suit road conditions and/or drive tastes. With a new 8-speed transmission and 4-wheel independent suspension, the Corsair is designed to provide agility, nimbleness and easy handling. Furthermore, all 2020 Corsairs come standard with a push-button start, hill-start assist, a power liftgate and LED headlights.

    According to Jraiche, the body of the Corsair was designed to incorporate peaks and valleys, and the exaggerated lines draw a vision of continuous light play reflecting its surrounding environment. Lincoln describes the Corsair’s exterior as a “sculpture in motion.” Unique wheel designs feature both directional and radial lines, and a variety of metallic color choices, including Flight Blue, are offered. 


    The Corsair’s interior was designed to be a “sanctuary for the senses.” To ensure the tranquility of the ride, a dual-wall dashboard was utilized to provide additional division between the engine and the passengers. This arrangement provides an air gap that helps prevent vibrations from entering the cabin.  

    The Corsair's design team thought of everything, such as replacing harsh standard electronic alerts with six unique symphonic chimes recorded by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

    Not only is wireless charging available for compatible devices, but the Corsair also offers tech-savvy passengers multiple power outlets and in-vehicle Wi-Fi to keep them connected. Additionally, the Corsair’s SYNC 3 infotainment system allows the driver and passengers to simply plug in their devices to access apps directly from an 8-inch touch screen.


    The Lincoln Corsair also provides personal customization to enhance the individual’s preferred interior sanctuary experience. Owners can set up to 80 preference features within their designated profile, including preferred radio stations, customized seat adjustments and desired cabin climate.

    To top it all off, the Corsair offers a Lincoln-first technology called “Phone As A Key.” The technology can be accessed through The Lincoln Way app, where owners can now open the liftgate, lock and unlock the vehicle, start the vehicle and locate it just by using their compatible smartphone.  

    To further provide convenience to its customer base, Lincoln offers a pickup and delivery service called Lincoln Service Valet. The owner can simply schedule a service via The Lincoln Way app and Lincoln Service Valets will come to pick up the vehicle and bring it a nearby Lincoln dealership, while providing the owner with a loaner vehicle while their vehicle is being serviced. Progress updates are delivered via the app, and the vehicle is delivered back to the owner when the service has been completed.


    The 2020 Lincoln Corsair comes in two trims, with the Standard coming in at $36,940 and the Reserve starting at $43,625. All-wheel-drive versions of each are also available for a bump in price: $39,140 and $45,825, respectively. The Corsair is now available at Lincoln dealerships.  


  • 31 Oct 2019 4:23 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Article by Harvey Briggs, Publisher and Editor - Rides & Drives

    Growing Your Social Media Influence

    The world is digital now – just ask the folks from Autoweek – and building your audience online is more important than ever. One of the best places to do that is social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other platforms are sources of both audience and revenue. But how do you grow your presence from a few hundred followers to the thousands necessary to attract readers and viewers to the content you produce?

    A lot of it is common sense regardless of the platform:

    1.       Your profile is important – Create a profile on your social media account that lets people know who you are, what you do, your point of view, and what they can expect if they follow you. This is where they come to connect with you personally, so include a good photo as well.

    2.      Make sure people know how to find you – Put links to your social accounts on your author page of your website or blog. If possible, embed tweets or Instagram posts into your articles so readers can click to your account and comment.

    3.      Post consistently – Nothing looks worse than an account with little or no activity. You don’t need to post 10 times a day but a consistent schedule will help people find you. According to Chad Kirchner, who, with more than 26,000 followers is one of MAMA’s more prolific Tweeters, “Don’t just use Twitter as a dumping ground for content, be authentic.”

    4.      Use relevant hashtags on Twitter and Instagram – The key here is relevant. There are sites like https://ritetag.com/best-hashtags-for/automotive to help you find trending tags that will help users find your content

    5.      Tag manufacturers in your posts – most social media teams look for content to share on the brand pages. Be sure to @ and # the manufacturers to make it easy to find your news and reviews about their products.

    6.      Think visually – on Instagram, you’re competing with millions of other users, make sure your photos are high quality and have a strong point of view. Adding photos and videos to your Twitter posts increases engagement.

    7.      Follow other relevant accounts – It’s the birds of a feather effect. Follow auto execs, brands, other journalists, and consumers who are interested in automotive. When they comment on, like and share your posts, their followers will see that and enhance your reach.

    8.     Engage with your followers – Ask questions, respond to their questions and comments, like their comments, thank them for following. There are a number of things you can do to engage your audience.

    9.      Use the platform appropriately – Instagram is great for showing what you do, but since you can’t put links in posts, it’s lousy for driving readers and viewers to your site or channel. According to Josh Smith from gottabemobile.com, “Instagram is show and tell. I just use it to build awareness. Twitter brings readers to the site. But engaging on both is important to keep people coming back.”

    10.  Schedule time for social activity – It’s hard to add one more thing to an already overbooked day. My trick that has helped me be consistent with my posts is to put daily reminders in my calendar to post. Every day I get a notification at 10 AM and 4 PM to put something up. It’s just a reminder to take 5 minutes to share things with my audience and since I’ve started doing it, I’ve doubled my followers on Instagram and Twitter.

  • 31 Oct 2019 4:20 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Article by Marlon Hanson, fellow MAMA member and dear friend 

    “I first met Bob Kocher when I was President of the Texas Automotive Writers Association and he was President of the Midwest Automotive Media Association. We immediately struck up a friendship because of his passion for MAMA and wanting to make it the best it could possibly be for all members, journalists and manufacturers.

    We immediately decided to compare notes and attend each other's events to see what we might do to improve our respective organizations. I learned a lot from Bob, witnessing first-hand how MAMA put together its events and he, likewise, learned how to make MAMA more user friendly for all.

    I am particularly grateful for his urging me to attend the MAMA Spring Rally ... I was astounded at how many vehicles were registered and we had an opportunity to drive. Because of Bob, and his introducing me to the Rally, I urged my board to create the TAWA Spring Challenge (now the Spring Roundup). We had 45 vehicles registered for our first Challenge, largely due to Bob's help in assisting me with the nuts and bolts of doing such an event for only automobiles. Being in Texas (the Truck Capital of the world), we had mastered our fall event, the Texas Truck Rodeo, and Bob eagerly worked to institute some of the aspects of the Rodeo into the MAMA Fall Rally.

    As members of MAMA, you know what a great foundation Bob was instrumental in creating for you. But, enough about Bob, the car guy, aka AutoBob! What I will miss most is Bob, the man.

    Bob loved fun and always drove to get the most out of life. I often met him and his beautiful wife, Connie, in Las Vegas, where we spent many an hour, day, and week in various gaming activities as well as enjoying world-famous automotive events such as the SEMA show. In addition to our escapades in Las Vegas, we loved to cruise.

    Our first cruise together was on the Norwegian Breakaway out of New York. Yes, we loved the ship, the world-famous Rockettes from Radio City Music Hall, who were on the ship with us, but the thing I will remember most about that cruise happened one night while sitting at a slot machine in the ship's casino.

    Bob ran up to me, giant grin on his face, bubbling with excitement. You have to come to O’Sheehans Pub, he exclaimed. Now!! They have the best Hot Fudge Sundaes you have ever had. They are as big as your head! I had to abandon my machine and follow him to O'Sheehans. Bob and I marveled at the size, sweetness, and wonder of our Sundaes. Connie was not as much of a sundae lover as us and, I believe had apple pie ala mode or something else as we immersed ourselves in our newfound delight.

    As late as early August, we spoke of taking future cruises, possibly in November, but for sure in December. We were also looking at a few possibilities for 2020 and decided we would decide where and when to go next at this year's SEMA show in early November.

    Life is so fleeting. I got a message from Bob on August 14th: 

    “I am hanging in. Just waiting for a time for my kidney biopsy. No one seems to be in a hurry. Went to a kidney doctor yesterday and he didn’t seem to be worried. I give up trying to understand it all. I guess no lung cancer is a big plus. Will let you know as we get information. Hope you’re having a great time. Hope to see you soon. Bob”

    Bob then sent some bad news on August 22. He began with the better news that although they had found some “spots in my lungs, a large mass on my kidney and a small mass on my spine,” there was no cancer in his lungs or kidney. Then came the bad news: “However, I did not luck out so well with my spine biopsy. I do have a rare cancer. The spine biopsy showed angiosarcoma cancer with is relatively rare and I guess harder to treat. Next we wait and see what treatment the oncologist suggests.”

    By August 30, he had yet to receive news on what was going to be done about it but said pain had intensified and he had to see another oncologist. There was nothing that could be done.

    The morning of September 12, I got a call from our good mutual friend, Kelley Enright. Bob was in the hospital and it was terminal. We could not believe it. It had been a couple days less than a month since his first diagnosis. And, now they were giving him two weeks to live. That night, my wife Kristin was working on making arrangements for me to fly to Ohio to see him. The next morning, Friday the Thirteenth, Connie told me he was gone. Impossible to believe. We would not be taking that next trip to Vegas. We would not be taking that last cruise. We will not be having that next hot fudge sundae.

    I will never take another cruise without having a hot fudge sundae in honor of Bob. I will never walk into a casino in Las Vegas without thinking of Bob. I have had a hard time putting together this year’s Auto Judge Awards program with one of our founding judges and most influential people gone.

    AutoBob … I love and miss you. I cannot think of a tribute great enough for our colleague, leader and friend, Col. Robert Kocher!

  • 31 Oct 2019 4:19 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Earlier this month MAMA held its annual Fall Rally, where nearly 80 media members gathered to test-drive more than 50 of the industry’s latest cars, trucks and SUVs. Held at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, the 2019 MAMA Fall Rally was presented by Subaru and offered journalists ample opportunities to put brand-new vehicles – such as the 2020 Cadillac XT6, 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500, 2020 Ford Escape, 2020 Lincoln Aviator and 2020 Toyota Supra – through their paces on track, on street and off road. To read more on the Fall Rally, click here.

  • 31 Oct 2019 4:17 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We’re already well into fall, and that means it’s time for pumpkins, apple cider, trick-or-treating, and another MAMA Newsletter. Hope you’re all enjoying the foliage and getting ready for the colder weather that’s on the way.

    MAMA hosted another great Fall Rally at the Autobahn Country Club on October 2. There was just enough rain to make the off-road course nice and muddy, but it seemed to taper off by late morning so we weren’t soaked. You can read our full event recap in this issue; thanks once again to our sponsors for their support and our tireless Rally Team for all their hard work.

    On a sad note, we observed the passing of former MAMA president Bob Kocher at the event; Bob lost his battle with spine cancer on September 13—just a couple weeks before the Fall Rally. Former MAMA president Mark Bilek said a few words in remembrance of Bob at the Fall Rally lunch, as did Marlon Hanson, who made special plans to attend the Rally when he heard of Mr. Kocher’s passing. At the end of lunch, we had hot fudge sundaes for dessert in memory of Bob—read Marlon’s tribute to Bob in this issue for the story behind that.

    On Wednesday, October 23, we had our October monthly luncheon meeting at the gorgeous and historic Lang House in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood. The all-new 2020 Lincoln Corsair compact crossover was the topic; Lincoln brought along a pair of Corsairs for our members to drive, as well as Corsair Chief Engineer John Jraiche, who gave an informative presentation.

    A quick note on RSVPing to MAMA events: If you’ve registered for a rally or a monthly luncheon meeting and your plans change for whatever reason and you can no longer attend, PLEASE email us to let us know as soon as you can so we can remove you from the attendee list. Our catering and/or hotel costs are determined by head count, and MAMA and our event sponsors have to eat those costs when members register and then don’t attend.

    Mark your calendars… our Holiday Social is December 9. We’ll again be at The Dawson in Chicago, but this year we'll have the upstairs private room to ourselves. Keep your eye on your inbox for an invite in the near future. Hope to see you there!

    All for now,

    Damon Bell, MAMA President 

  • 08 Oct 2019 2:39 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Joliet, Illinois (Oct. 7) – The Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) recently held its annual Fall Rally, where nearly 80 media members gathered to test-drive more than 50 of the industry’s latest cars, trucks and SUVs. Held at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, the 2019 MAMA Fall Rally was presented by Subaru and offered journalists ample opportunities to put brand-new vehicles – such as the 2020 Cadillac XT6, 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500, 2020 Ford Escape, 2020 Lincoln Aviator and 2020 Toyota Supra – through their paces on track, on street and off road.


    Toyota revved attendees’ engines with a breakfast and an opening presentation on the 2020 GR Supra. Toyota North America Senior Product Specialist Thomas Kretschmann discussed the highly anticipated return of the Supra – after a 21-year hiatus – and highlighted the sports car’s performance, capability and style.

    “The 2020 GR Supra was designed to evoke passion in driving,” said Kretschmann. “Seeing the MAMA members who got to experience the vehicle at the rally with smiles on their faces shows the GR Supra is the complete package – great both on and off the track.”

    The 2020 Supra is now on sale and is available in 3.0 and 3.0 Premium trim levels, as well as an exclusive Launch Edition based on the 3.0 Premium grade. The manufacturer didn’t miss the opportunity to bring not one, but two 2020 Toyota GR Supras for MAMA journalists to experience.

    Following the morning session of driving on track, on street and off road, Honda refueled Fall Rally attendees with lunch and a presentation on the 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid, signaling the first electrified SUV from the Honda brand in the U.S. 


    “The Honda CR-V is the best-selling CUV over the past two decades and the updates we've made to the 2020 model, including a new hybrid-electric variant, solidify its position in this highly competitive segment,” said Steve Kinkade, head of Honda brand public relations, American Honda Motor Co. “We were excited to share key details on this important vehicle as well as our broader electrification strategy with the Midwest Automotive Media Association.”

    Throughout the day, journalists also had the opportunity to maneuver 4WD and AWD trucks and SUVs through an off-road course, sponsored by Jeep. Participating vehicles included the 2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison, 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon, 2019 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk, 2020 Kia Telluride and 2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro.


    MAMA also encouraged members to test-drive contenders for the MAMA Family Vehicle and Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year Awards. To qualify, candidates for each category must be four-door, family-capable vehicles and be present at the MAMA Spring or Fall Rallies. Voting MAMA members chose the following Family Vehicle of the Year finalists at the 2019 MAMA Fall Rally: the 2020 Ford Escape, 2020 Ford Explorer, 2020 Hyundai Palisade, and 2020 Subaru Outback. The Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year Award finalists are the 2020 Cadillac XT6 and 2020 Lincoln Aviator.


    These vehicles will join the list of finalists from the 2019 MAMA Spring Rally, and a final round of voting will take place online. Both the MAMA Family Vehicle of the Year Award and Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year Award winners will be announced at the MAMA opening breakfast during the 2020 Chicago Auto Show on Feb. 6.

    The MAMA Fall Rally is one of two track events the media association hosts each year. MAMA also organizes monthly meetings for its members; the upcoming meeting event schedule can be found at www.mamaonline.org.


    For more information on the Midwest Automotive Media Association, please visit www.mamaonline.org.

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    About the Midwest Automotive Media Association

    Founded in 1991 and now in its 28th year, the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) comprises more than 250 automotive journalists and industry professionals from approximately 23 states and the District of Columbia. Though based in the Chicago area, MAMA welcomes members from all parts of the country. The organization’s primary purpose is to provide a forum for newsworthy people, current issues and new products in the auto industry.

  • 21 Aug 2019 10:17 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Last week, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) hosted MAMA’s August meeting to share an update on the advanced high-strength steel industry, as well as provide attendees a glimpse at what an autonomous vehicle may look and feel like through a virtual reality experience.


    According to AISI, as autonomous vehicles grow in popularity, “traditional” virtues such as performance, value sustainability and occupant protection will become that much more critical. Dr. Jody Hall, vice president, automotive, AISI, shared recent findings with the MAMA group to reinstate why it’s safer, more efficient and more sustainable for manufacturers to build vehicles with steel versus aluminum or carbon fiber, for example. Hall cited aluminum as steel’s direct competition, as carbon fiber is used in niche circumstances.


    Consumer Preferences

    Based on a recent study, AISI found that 90 percent of consumers believe that steel is stronger, safer and more durable than aluminum, and that most consumers prefer a vehicle made from steel versus one manufactured with aluminum. These assumptions greatly impact their purchase decision.  

    Moreover, 71 percent of consumers cite price as being one of the most important criteria when purchasing a vehicle.

    Finally, 60 percent of consumers buy a vehicle for its appealing physical design and ease of entry and exit.


    Cost and Efficiency

    AISI states that the strength of steel allows automakers to design more efficiently and safely to achieve important objectives such as performance. Because of its higher strength, manufacturers can use less of the material to complete the same amount of work. It’s all about input vs. output.

    AISI also argues that, with aluminum, manufacturers have to change a vehicle’s structure to achieve the same objectives, thus driving up the cost to produce the vehicle and being less efficient overall.

    Steel is known for its outstanding formability, interior spaciousness and smaller structural sections, hitting on the aforementioned points regarding consumer preference.


    Steel and the Industry

    A study conducted by Ducker Worldwide in 2014 predicted that seven out of 10 new pickup trucks produced in North America would be aluminum-bodied within a decade. Seven years later, the Ford F-150 is the only pickup that is all-aluminum. AISI lists cost, efficiency and sustainability as the top three reasons automakers have stuck with steel.  


    Steel and the Environment

    Not only is steel safe, cost-effective and efficient, it’s also easily recycled (steel is recycled more than any other material) and low on CO2 emissions (due to its efficiency). Only the greenest cars rely on steel and its light carbon footprint. Dr. Hall reinforced the importance of looking at the entire lifecycle of a product.

    In conclusion, AISI’s stance is that steel continues to be a sound material for automakers. With more than 200 grades of advanced high-strength steel, the steel industry is providing automakers numerous benefits in design capabilities, fuel economy, strength, durability and value for both traditional and, in the near future, self-driving vehicles.

    Media members are encouraged to visit AISI’s press site for additional details and assets: https://www.autosteel.org/press.

    In regards to upcoming MAMA events, registration is now open for the 2019 MAMA Fall Rally, which will be held at the Autobahn Country Club on Wednesday, Oct. 2. If you have questions regarding the rally, registration or sponsorship opportunities, please contact webmaster@mamaonline.org.

  • 01 Aug 2019 1:18 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    South Haven, Mich. (Aug. 1, 2019) –The Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), along with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, hosted the fifth annual MAMA Track Driving School this week at GingerMan Raceway in South Haven, Michigan. CGI Motorsports led 20 automotive journalists in a track training session covering everything from braking techniques, vehicle weight-transfer management, vision instructions and appropriate driving position.


    The real schooling took place outside of the classroom and on the actual track, where MAMA media members were able to put a variety of vehicles through their paces, including an Alfa Romeo Guilia, Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Dodge Challenger Scat Pack Widebody, Dodge Charger Scat Pack, Dodge Durango SRT, Fiat 124 Spider Abarth, Fiat 500 Abarth and a Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. Since the inaugural track school in 2015, MAMA has provided professional instruction to a total of 102 students.


    “MAMA hosts two signature track events a year, our Spring and Fall Rallies, so it’s imperative that our members are trained on how to properly drive on a racetrack,” said MAMA President Damon Bell.

    Throughout the day, both novice and intermediate drivers were paired with driving instructors from CGI Motorsports to learn how to properly and safely handle these high-powered vehicles on a track.

    “GingerMan Raceway is an ideal track to build the fundamentals of high-performance driving,” said Brad Pines, CGI Motorsports instructor.


    Lesson highlights included: Look ahead (plan for what’s ahead, don’t be reactive); do one thing at a time (only brake, or turn, or accelerate to ensure maximum grip); be smooth (the smoother the input, the greater the tire grip); hands should always stay at 9 and 3 o’clock; use landmarks to guide the path; master weight transfer (every control input changes balance); be aware of surroundings (always scan mirrors); increase corner speed gradually; and leave a margin of safety (don’t compound a driver error by making it worse).

    In between the morning and afternoon training sessions, Dodge Charger Brand Manager Ashton Muñoz discussed the new 2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody, which was on display throughout the day.


    “For 2020, we are literally expanding our high-performance Charger models, adding a Widebody exterior to America’s only four-door muscle car,” said Muñoz. “The Charger’s successful formula is in part due to its many personalities; there’s really no other car like it.”

    MAMA members will be able to put their newly acquired skills to use at MAMA’s annual Fall Rally on Oct. 2. Held at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Illinois, the 2019 MAMA Fall Rally will offer track time, street drives and an off-road course, sponsored by Jeep.


    Track driving instructional videos by CGI Motorsports can be found here.

    For more information on the Midwest Automotive Media Association, please visit www.mamaonline.org.

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    About the Midwest Automotive Media Association

    Founded in 1991 and now in its 28th year, the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) comprises more than 250 automotive journalists and industry professionals from approximately 23 states and the District of Columbia. Though based in the Chicago area, MAMA welcomes members from all parts of the country. The organization’s primary purpose is to provide a forum for newsworthy people, current issues and new products in the auto industry.

  • 24 Jul 2019 4:15 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Article by Christian Lantry, photographer at Cars.com.

    • Know your gear – There’s lots of buttons and endless settings on your camera. It’s hard to know it all. But take the time to read through the manual so you know what your camera can do, and how you can quickly get to that setting. As your technical skills improve you will be able to focus more on making great images. Give yourself little assignments. Don’t know what that button is, or what that setting does? Go read about it, watch a YouTube video and practice doing it with your camera.
    • Polarizing is not just for opinions – If you shoot cars, and your camera can accommodate screw-on filters, you need a circular polarizer. This filter is key for reducing/removing reflections from windows and also increases contrast and saturation. You can even get filter sets for smartphones. This small investment will level up your exterior shots right away. Use it for interiors to dial in reflections on dashboards, too. Just remember it will reduce the amount of light getting to your lens so it will not work in every scenario. Again, practice makes perfect.
    • Go for Gold – The golden hour, or magic hour, is the first and last hour of sunlight in the day when the quality of light yields particularly stunning photographs. The reality is, not all the shooting opportunities will happen during these times so look for the light…specifically the lighting ratios. Lighting ratios are the amount of light on the subject (car) versus the light in the rest of the scene. On a soft overcast, cloudy day the ratio will most likely be even or 1:1 with very little contrast. On at sunny day a noon the ratio may be 1:8 resulting in a lot of contrast between the highlights and shadows. Both conditions have advantages and disadvantages but understanding how to use them will elevate the image. Just because it’s a beautiful bright sunny day outside, doesn’t always mean it’s the best for shooting. Don’t be afraid to wait for the right light or wait for that cloud to get out of (or into) your way.
    • Shoot wide – Give yourself wiggle room to crop the image a few different ways. You don’t need to fill the frame with the car. Allow for padding on all sides and crop your image after the fact. You may find that what you saw when shooting can look completely different or better with a different crop. Also, with the rise of Instagram stories and other social media platforms it’s super helpful to shoot a bit wider.  This allows you to crop the image as 3:2, 16:9, or square, without losing vital parts of your shot.
    • Rule the thirds –The “Rule of Thirds” is a basic photographic principle where the image is broken down into thirds both vertically and horizontally into nine parts. Most cameras including smartphones have the ability to turn on different gridlines to give you that overlay to assist in composing your image. By framing the elements of your image on those lines and at the intersection of those lines, it helps create a more balanced and visually interesting image. 
    • Shoot raw When you shoot raw you are getting the most out of your camera’s sensor.  Better yet, any adjustments to the raw file do not affect the original data. It’s also much more forgiving if your original file is over/under exposed. JPGs are compressed and once they’re shot, they’re baked into their look and it’s often not possible to change things like white balance and exposure after the fact. Yes, raw images take up more space, and require using editing software, but if you want better images, start with the most flexible source image.
    • Location, Location, Location– I’m always a bit jealous of our west coast editor(s) because they have so many amazing locations from seascapes to mountains to photograph. But great locations are all around us. Don’t shoot at the same parking lot every time! Put time and research into where you will be shooting a vehicle. Consider context…  a great city skyline or scenic rural road. I do a lot of google map location scouting and have files I can reference to match the car/truck to either my vision and/or the story. You can also save pins in the Google Maps app, making it very easy to see if you’re near one of your favorite spots.
    • Get Low, or high – Don’t shoot everything from standing, eye-level position. Shooting from a low angle will help create a “hero” image.  Finding different vantage points, help show off details from unique perspectives. I often pick a location that has a bridge or walkway if I know I want to capture the car from above.
    • Create a narrative This is often overlooked in automotive photography. Remember to look for details (badging, interesting materials, unique features) and create a visual story that compliments the written content. Much like a great story or song there should be a visual rhythm that keeps the viewer engaged from start to finish. 
    • Capture the speed When shooting the car in motion utilize what is called the panning technique. If you have it, set your camera to shutter priority mode (S on Nikon Cameras, Tv on Canon Cameras) and set your shutter speed from 1/15th to 1/125th. This allows you to keep the car in focus while capturing the motion behind it. Keep the camera level and fluid as possible as you follow the movement of the vehicle and shoot in high-speed continuous or burst mode. It’s easier to pan in a horizontal line but with practice you can master multiple situations. This will take some practice to get right and is a marriage of mastering the technology and using your body to physically move the camera while the shutter is open.
    • Practice I can’t stress this enough! After 15+ years of shooting, I’m always learning something and evolving my shooting style. Shoot as much as you can in multiple situations.  Be willing to learn from your mistakes and take chances. As you become more comfortable you can find your unique perspective and style and truly elevate your images.
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