We get around five Jeep Shots submissions a day and throw out four or five of them. It isn't that we are overly picky, it's just that we want your Jeep to look good when we print it, and you guys aren't helping us much. Rather than tell you how to shoot a picture of your Jeep and send it in, we are going to show you some pictures that were sent in and go through what was wrong with them.
So read through this story, take notes if you have to, but keep it handy for when you go to shoot a picture of your Jeep, and read it again before you send your pictures in. We are running low on good Jeep Shots pictures and need your help to keep the column going.
Send us your Jeep Shots. Include at least a two megapixel photo, your name, and information about your Jeep. Send 'em to Jp magazine, Jeep Shots, 6420 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048, or e-mail 'em to email@example.com.
In the last couple of years we have thrown out basically every submission sent from a hotmail account. Why? Because when you click on "attach image" from your hotmail or msn email account, it automatically resizes the image to 640x480. We print at 300 pixels per inch, meaning if you are lucky your image just became 2 inches by 1 1/2 inches. The new msn and hotmail "only" cut the pictures down by a third, but still the best bet is to use Winzip or Winrar to put the photos and form in one file (Mac users can choose "Compress" from the "File" menu in the Finder). If in doubt, send it to yourself first and then open it, then right click and check properties. A good size photo will be at least 1600x1200 (or two megapixels).
This is Jeep Shots, not National Geographic's Nature Scenes that might have a Jeep in it somewhere. Make sure the Jeep is the focus of your image, not the landscape around it. It is called framing, and picture what it would look like in a frame if you aren't sure. Can you see the Jeep and make out the details, or is it a spot in the background?
Compose The Photo
This isn't a bad looking Jeep, the photo came through at a good size (2592x1944), and the Jeep is filling the image. However, there is another car in the background, not to mention a house, a power line pole, and it's parked on a driveway. C'mon guys, what is the point of owning and building a Jeep if you don't take it off-road? They don't get good mileage, aren't that comfortable to drive, and need constant TLC to keep going. Shoot a picture of your Jeep doing what it was built for: wheeling! If you built your Jeep to sit on the driveway next to the house in front of a Honda, do us a favor and send it to Street Truckin'.
Which would you rather see, a hot chick in the dark, or a hot chick in broad daylight? This image illustrates lighting- you want the Jeep well lit for the photo. The sun should come from behind you and light up the entire Jeep. Make sure your shadow doesn't fall across the picture (duck down to get out of the way).
The Whole Jeep
You might know what your entire Jeep looks like, but we don't. Don't cut parts off in the photo.Instead of just the side of the Jeep, try to get both the front and side in one picture. We call it a front three-quarter shot. Check out just about any cover image to see what we are talking about. We want to run your Jeep in the magazine; send us good pictures so we can.
Clean Camera, Good Weather
In addition to the lighting issue with this shot, we can't tell if it was shot in a sandstorm, rain storm, or if the camera's lens has been sandblasted, but the end result is pretty bad. Again, look at the photos before you send them in. Compare them to shots we've already run. Have we run pictures in sandstorms? Was there a sandstorm edition of Jeep Shots? If not, clean it up and then send it.
Scan Not, Want Not
In this day of digital cameras, we are surprise to see how many scans we get. Unless you have some uber high-end scanner, the image is going to look horrible by the time it prints. Grainy and out of focus are two things that happen by the time it gets to the printed page. And while we're at it, get rid of the time stamps on images too, it just detracts from the overall effect of feeling like we are there.