The New Lexus Range
While I spend most of my time out and about taking photos of rare and highly modified cars, every now and then I get the opportunity to photograph some entirely standard cars. I was recently given the opportunity to spend a morning in a Lexus showroom, and document the various offerings.
I have never been too familiar with the Lexus range nomenclature, so upon arrival, it took a bit of time to get my head around the various GS, IS, LX, and RX models. My first stop in the showroom was the new GS350 F-Sport, a car which looks understated but somewhat menacing at the same time. Meaning, it looks like a nice sedan, but if you saw one appear in your rearview mirror, you’d move out of the lane very quickly. With the price tag of just over R730,000, you’d better be assured of some serious performance for that price – and performance is what you’re given. The 3.5l V6 pushes out 233kw to the tarmac via the rear wheels, propelling the occupants from 0 to 100 in a mere 6 seconds. Bear in mind, this car weighs over two tons, so figures like that are certainly no joke.
Getting the photograph I had in mind would be rather difficult, as this was not a photo studio with perfect lighting. It was working showroom, with customers weaving paths inbetween the various cars. Therefore, I decided to take multiple shots of the same car, with the camera remaining in the same spot, but moving the flashes about. The first shot of the day is pictured below, and is made up of 4 different photos, all blended together using Photoshop. A bit of a cheating method… I know. But who cares? Gotta do what you gotta do, right?
Next up, it was time to focus on the various interiors. I have always been a bit skeptical on the interior offerings of Japanese luxury cars, when compared to the equivalent offerings from German rivals BMW, Audi, Mercedes etc. However, Lexus have delivered, and the interiors across the whole range can be considered very modern and clean, and offers vast levels of comfort (especially while sitting stuck in traffic jams). One feature that stood out for me was the analog clock. Who puts an analog clock in a car these days? With the advent of modern technology, I doubt many people can actually tell the time using one of these anymore… but I thought it was a nice touch. Points awarded, Lexus.
Resigned to the fact that I was stuck using my standard 550D, I opted to include my two wireless flashes to give a better lighting setup. For interior shots, its rather simple. However, exterior car photos are a whole other story, especially when utilizing off camera flashes. The lines and surfaces bounce light in all different directions, and unless you find the perfect area to aim your flash, you might as well not be using it at all. It’s a good learning experience.
Satisfied with what I could see on my camera screen thus far, I cast my gaze further afield across the gleaming showroom floor. Nestled in the far corner was a sparkling white IS350 EX that looked like it could use a photo.The IS range has always been the sort of “baby” Lexus, meaning it is a direct rival to the Audi A4, Bmw 3-Series, and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. All of the entry level executive saloons (side thought: I’ve never liked the usage of the word “executive” when describing a car). For this car, I decided to focus a bit more on the finer details of the design, mostly the interesting headlights. So often when looking at a car, we don’t see many of the small design features that contribute to the overall aesthetic appeal, so I chose to try highlight these features a bit more.
Another note to take into consideration here: whenever a potential customer appeared by a car, I would take my equipment a few steps back and let them examine their future purchase. That’s a key point to keep in mind when shooting in a situation like this – the showroom is doing you a favour by letting you be there and blind them with camera flashes, so do your best to be respectful as they go about their usual business.
Glancing at one of the aforementioned analog clocks inside the IS350, I was drawn to the realization that it was already midday, and the showroom would be closing for the day soon (it was a Saturday, after all). Not wanting to be that guy who kept the employees behind for longer than they needed to be, I quickly gathered up all my belongings and made a beeline for the carpark.
Thanks to Lexus Gateway for letting me invade their showroom for a Saturday morning. Visit their website here and buy one of their cars, if they’re the sort of automobile that you can afford.