Catch up with Josh Stenman, who discovered his passion for photography between the Twin Cities, MN, and Fargo, ND. His story began with a simple photography class and evolved alongside his cherished vehicle, leading to a deep-seated love for capturing automobiles and the vibrant culture surrounding them. This hobby, nurtured through repeated excursions and car meet experiences, has grown into a significant part of his life.
In our interview, we'll delve into Josh Stenman's distinctive approach to automotive photography. We're curious to discover how he expertly blends technical prowess with creative flair in his imagery. What inspires the start of his new projects, and what challenges does he face in the niche field of automotive photography? Josh will share insights into his artistic journey and provide helpful advice for those looking to make their mark in the intricate world of automotive photography.
Be sure to check out Josh Stenman's impressive portfolio on his Instagram page.
I picked up a camera for a photography class back in 2016 and then again for another class in 2018. This was right around when I got my 2007 manual BMW X3. One random summer day I went out and decided to take some pictures of it and fell in love with just being out with the car. I went out again and again with my car ever since that day. After going to a few car meets and shooting there I realized this was something I truly enjoyed doing and knew I wanted to grow this hobby into something.
I think what makes a photo stand out is its composition as well as the lighting. Getting the soft sunset light to bounce off the side of the car for full shots and off the sharp lines for details always helps improve a photo. I think that a good 3/4 angle always helps a photo stand out. Getting that full shot of the car while also showcasing the lines and curves in the design is always so satisfying in my eyes.
So many times I see people who have used a creative angle or a location I would never have thought to use. My favorite photos to see are when someone has highlighted a certain detail of a car that most people and photographers would overlook. Seeing super small details on a car be focused on is so cool to see.
I would describe my photos as “golden” as I take most of my photos during sunset. I try to bring out the oranges and warm tones while maintaining the blues in the shadows. I’ve been working with tweaking these colors and trying out new styles here and there to keep myself learning. I try to keep a natural look in my photos while still enhancing the colors that are there and adding creative touches in color to make them pop.
I would have to say my shoot with a white Lamborghini Huracan last summer. We expected a nice sunset and instead got smoke, haze, and clouds causing a really blue cast on everything. It really pushed me out of my comfort zone while editing in that I couldn’t use my usual presets and editing techniques. I had to develop new colors and styles for this set. It was so difficult to get the colors that would “fit” with my style while also making the photos look good and fit together.
I noticed that even the colors from different angles would be drastically different and I’d need to tweak so many small things in order to have a cohesive set. Eventually, I got into a stride and was able to get things working the way I wanted to. This or the white GT3 touring I shot a little while later. There were clear skies all day and then nothing but haze during sunset. I had so much trouble getting the colors to be the way I was thinking in my head. I again had to push myself out of my comfort zone to try different styles.
I would have to say my one-handed camera strap. It is a lifesaver when shooting rollers. I used to use a normal camera strap that would be wrapped around my hand and wrist a few times but getting the elastic wrist strap that attached to just one side of the camera has made it so much more streamlined and comfortable. Another thing I absolutely have to have is my 24-70. The versatility is just too good.
The biggest thing I try to do is learn new angles and compositions. I think that if people are seeing the same exact photos all the time it can get old and a way to combat this is to keep finding new ways to display the car. Finding cool details no one else has showcased can really help a set be unique in my opinion. I also try to find new and different locations most people may not think to use.
I think there is a healthy competition aspect as well as collaboration. Without some competition, no one can grow but it needs to be in a healthy way. This community is at its best when everyone is supportive of each other. I think being collaborative is how we all grow because we can always learn something from other people in terms of shooting, organizing, and editing. If I can’t shoot something due to life circumstances I will always send them to another photographer.
The biggest thing is to just keep shooting and try new things. The worst case is an edit doesn’t work out and you can just start over. I think I was comparing my work to others way too much and that caused a lot of negative thoughts when my photos didn’t come out like someone else did. I would also tell myself to just talk to people. You never know what a conversation could turn into. Some of my favorite clients have turned into friends and it was all because I just decided to talk to someone.
My favorite photo is of a BMW M4 that I shot near an airplane. This photo was not supposed to happen as it was actually a video shoot but I decided to grab a couple of photos and this came from the shoot. The M4 is one of my dream cars I hope to own after college and this one might be my favorite one out there. I have this photo printed on a massive frame mounted in my room and it is also the desktop wallpaper on my computer. I don’t know why this is so special but it will always be my favorite.
A really close second is of a R32 GTR. This was a shoot the owner gave me the keys and said go out for photos. First time driving a car like this by myself and it being a RHD manual made it even better.
If I could pick three cars from any era to shoot I would have to say it would include a Porsche 918 Spyder, McLaren Senna, and I will probably get a lot of hate for this but a Porsche RWB. Ever since watching Doug’s video on the 918 I have been in love ever since. It is my all-time favorite dream car and will never change. The Senna is another dream car because I love the absolutely aggressive design of that car. It gets mixed reviews on its looks but I think it is absolutely gorgeous. Finally the RWB, I am not sure what exactly made me fall in love with these but I hope to own one someday. Something about the backstory of those cars is super interesting to me and I think how they are built is awesome.
We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Josh Stenman for sharing his perspectives and experiences in the world of automotive photography. Josh's journey, propelled by his deep passion and exceptional talent, is genuinely inspiring and filled with valuable insights. His unique ability to capture the allure and essence of automobiles is remarkable. We greatly appreciate the expertise and wisdom he has shared about his craft, and we look forward to witnessing his continued growth and influence in the realm of automotive photography.
Check out more of Josh's work and download the TCN app today and immerse yourself in a world where automotive beauty meets high-end technology. Stay tuned for our regular updates, and let's drive into the future of automotive enthusiasm together!