Photography for Historic Racing Car Teams

May 2016 – Over the last 15 years Classic Car Photography has become a big thing. In the early Zeroes only a handful professionals aimed their cameras at classic cars. Simply because the market wasn’t interesting (read: big enough to make money) and internet did not have the many platforms it has today. There weren’t too many reasons to sent out photographers to cover events such as Classic Le Mans, the Goodwood Revival or the Spa Six Hours. If they were even covered at all!  

Aston Martin DB4 GT – Joe Twyman – Roger Wills 1965 Bizzarrini 5300 GT

The paper magazines had space for the obvious podium shots and maybe a crash or some pitlane action. Analog aces like Jeff Bloxham paved the way for the 1st generation of digital photographers to fill their CF-cards and display their work on Flickr, Photobucket and Youtube. I did the same thing back in the days. Online platforms and magazines started asking for pictures but did not like to pay. Times have changed.

Simon Hadfield & Johnny Tipler – Chris Harris in a Jeremy Welch built Jaguar Low Drag E-type – David Grace

Somewhere in 2004 I started to write short stories and reviews about the classic cars I (born 1967) adored in the 70s and 80s. I posted write ups at the Pistonheads Motoring Forums: Triumph TR6, Lotus Europa, Lamborghini Espada and Countach. My trusty analog Pentax was no good to provide for the pictures to accompany my contributions. My then-employer sent me out to buy a D70, Nikon’s first consumer level digital SLR camera. And yes, it was OK if I took the camera with me on my trips.

Marc Devis, Maserati 200S – Leo Voyazides

Passing time as a TR4 navigator in a Classic Car Rally or making a repo for online magazine Klassiekerrally Winterswijk and I could not be more happy. Until I got fed up with the blue grayish hue of the Nikon images and decided to buy a DSLR of my preference. It had to be tough (no plastic body) and compact and I wanted the images to have a warm and analog-ish quality. I still rely on the Olympus E300 I bought in spring 2006. Flawless piece of kit.

Graf von Oeynhausen – WDK Motorsport – Andrew Smith

Pistonheads proved to be a fertile ground for car photography and I was lucky to be one of the youngsters that caught some attention. An upcoming Dutch automotive online forum particularly liked my public blogging and with the owner / publisher I discussed the possibilities to make videos for his

Lola T290 – Jaguar Broadspeed XJ12

And then I discovered the Spa 6 Hours meeting. Well actually I was invited by a racing car driver. The ‘Spa6‘ is the classic car racing season closer and a sure ‘Petrolhead Nirvana‘ – as car journo Johnny Tipler calls it. It’s the place to be for every petrolhead with a slight interest in classic car racing. The repo I did for Autoblog never got published (so much for video editing) but the reference ‘That Guy On The Wall’ was born. The La Source hairpin was my spot to pan the flashing by racing action. A lot of the teams liked it and asked me for the big files. Since 2006 I snapped 1000s of racing cars rounding La Source. Some took the time to wave or to give me a thumbs up while they were at it.

Blurb photobooks for sale

More than one or two racers have a poster of ‘their car at La Source‘ in their garage, workshop or office. I started to publish photobooks via the Blurb platform and (international) magazines asked me to supply pictures for their articles. The racing drivers found me on the TenTenths Motoring Forum. Both Lola and Chevron Heritage published photography on their online scrapbook sections. But what I wanted was the whole enchilada: the full editorial thingy, pictures and words included.

Chevron Heritage

That proved to be rather difficult. Ten years ago there was no money for additional digital publication because the extent of the new audience was unknown. And no one seemed keen in investing into unexplored territory. Only a few die hard and persistent professionals worked their ways to publication, wheter it be photography or text. And in the best case: both.

Oliver Bryant Racing

But I had a job (self-employed marketer) and I was in no need to add another specialism. So I kept on writing about cars and snapping the odd classic vehicle as a hobby. Which was good. Until the amount of publication on the Pistonheads motoring forums grew to substantial proportions and I decided to duplicate ‘picture and caption’ on Facebook social media. With as a result that even more professionals in the Automotive Industry found me. Which was also good.

LolaT292 – Lola Heritage scrapbook

In 2010 producer and director Alexander Davidis asked me to still photograph his GT Racer project The Algarve Special, I worked with Classic Car Monthly to film a Spa Six Hours and I supplied single images to a variety of magazines and books. Still I served my photography as a side order. Text became more and more important and since 2012 my main propositon is commercial writing (and market research) for B2B entrepreneurs, SME and corporates.

Alexander Davidis website – GT Racer ‘Algarve Special’

But the photography itch did not go. For the Dutch special car collection Daccars I write to sell their collection For Sale classic cars. I don’t do the images: it’s just not that exciting to snap standstill cars isn’t it? Just to wrap up here I invite you to have a look at the suggested links hidden in this text and explore the pictures in my many blogs. There are truckloads out there on the internet (complete list here). If you are looking for a picture of your favorite car, just ask and I will browse my archives.

WDK Motorsport – Filming GT Racer ‘Algarve Special’ – Roger Wills

Final words

To cover a whole event is a full working day. Post production of a days harvest – 500 to 1000 RAW format images – is another full day, spent at the iMac. Ask for a quotation as it depends where the event is located (my HQ is in Utrecht, NL). I often change my mind when invited (please include a press accreditation or an event contact) and I will negotiate my offer to bargain specs. That’s because I love an occasional car outing.
The Spa Six Hours is my annual event. Simply assign and instruct me and I will deliver you pictures in formats up to 3600px, ready for online and offline publications. There are no restrictions in use other than a proper credit: ©

Tom Falconer – Jon Minshaw – Maserati Birdcage
Contact details / +31 (0)6 1308 01313

Joe Twyman – Lola T70 Mk3B – Oliver Bryant