December 11, 2023
TCN Interviews Alin Ionut
Join us for an intriguing interview with Alin Ionut, an enthusiastic automotive photographer originally from Romania. Discover his unique path in the realm of car photography, gather invaluable advice, and expand your knowledge of this dynamic and constantly changing field.

Join us as we dive into an engaging conversation with Alin Ionut, whose passion for automotive photography ignited in the hallways of his high school in Romania and flourished amidst the scenic beauty of Belgium's Spa-Francorchamps racetrack. From editing car pictures with Photoshop to capturing the sleek lines of a Ford Mustang GT, AJ's journey is a fascinating tale of artistic evolution, cultural exploration, and a deep-seated love for the world of cars.

Mercedes Benz AMG-GTR Black Series
Mercedes Benz AMG-GT Black Series Photographed by Alin Ionut

TCN x Alin Ionut

In our interview, we'll explore into Alin Ionut's unique perspective on automotive photography. We're eager to uncover how he masterfully combines technical prowess with artistic flair in his imagery. What sparks the beginning of his new projects, and what hurdles does he encounter in the niche of high-end car photography? AJ will reveal his creative methodology and offer advice to aspiring photographers who are passionate about entering the realm of automotive imagery.

For a glimpse into Alin Ionut's remarkable portfolio, be sure to visit his Instagram page.

AJ Ionut Instagram screenshot.

TCN x Alin Ionut Interview

1.  "Can you share with us how you first got interested in automotive photography? What was the first car you photographed that made you think, 'This is it, this is what I want to do'?"

It all started with a friend of mine in high school who had a Nikon D3s and went to a few tuning events in different cities in Romania. I was watching him what he was doing, learning some skills and he showed me for the first time Photoshop. At that time, I was very interested in the capabilities of this program. I was downloading car pictures from the internet and editing them through Photoshop, by making the cars lower to the ground and changing colors.

Ferrari SP3 Daytona
Ferrari SP3 Daytona Photographed by Alin Ionut

My friend saw this thing at me and he sent me his pictures from the car events that he went, to see the results. He was impressed by this and he told me I should do something serious about it. Being in high school, I didn't take it too seriously as I was focused on my career. But when I was having a spare time, I went spotting nice cars around the city with my phone, something like the BMW M5 E60 with its magnificent 5L V10, BMW M3 E92, Porsche Boxster, some Subaru Impreza and more.

Koenigsegg Regera
Koenigsegg Regera Photographed by Alin Ionut

After college, I got an opportunity to work for a private company (not car related) in Belgium. I left Romania to get my first job in Belgium. I've always wanted to travel, to visit places, get to know people and their culture. It wasn't until 2015 that I bought my first camera, a Nikon D7200 with a basic lens of 18-140mm. And went to the most beautiful racetrack in the world to test it, the Spa-Francorchamps.

Koenigsegg One:1
Koenigsegg One:1 Photographed by Alin Ionut

My first car that I photographed there was a 2015 Ford Mustang GT in red from Germany. It was parked beneath the paddocks. I was amazed by the color, how suitable it was for the car. Then I got a flashback from what my friend said to me back in high school, and I said to myself this is it. I want to go to more car events, to hear and to admire them. But also to take pictures and share them on social platforms.

2. "In your opinion, what makes a great automotive photo stand out? Are there specific angles, lighting conditions, or environments that you think work best? How would you describe your photography style currently?"

Firstly, it all depends on what style do you want to approach, what do you like the most, what do you think works the best. And after that you are always looking for ways to improve it. Then of course there are factors to consider like composition, lighting, angles and sometimes weather and people's reaction around the car(s) you want to shoot, to make the most out of it. Sometimes I watch people's reaction to anticipate my position to take good angles for my pictures.

Ferrari FXXK Evo
Ferrari FXXK Evo Photographed by Alin Ionut

Ferrari FXXK Evo
Ferrari FXXK Evo Photographed by Alin Ionut

I don't have a particular style of photography, but I'm always looking for different angles to take more different pictures. Mostly I'm looking to shoot details of a car that not many consider (or noticed) to shoot them.

3. "What has been your most challenging photo shoot and why? Were there any unexpected obstacles or memorable moments?"

Until now, the most challenging thing is to take pictures of cars in tight areas at car shows, expos or just regular car spotting. Especially when there are other casual cars parked next to the car you want to take pictures of. There are not many opportunities to take pictures from different angles. As for memorable moments in the photoshoots that I did. Most outstanding photoshoot was when I went to Johan's (@911_motorsport) place.

Porsche 992 GT2 RS and Porsche 935
Porsche 992 GT2 RS and Porsche 935 Photographed by Alin Ionut

For those who don't know, he's a famous Porsche collector in Belgium. Starting from 911 Carrera RS 2.7 to 991 GT2 RS and new 935. And not only that, he has a colorful man cave with arcade machines, posters on the walls, 1:18 scales, car bonnets hanging, colorful seats...etc. We chatted a bit about his amazing collection, about his original 911 R that was used by Porsche for commercial, about the story that he bought the original license plate that was used in this commercial and many more. And at the end of the day, he offered me a joyride in his 930 Turbo. Lovely car! More spacious and comfortable than I thought.

4. "Camera aside, is there a specific piece of gear you can’t live without?”

The most important part of my gear, that I can't live without, is the polarized filter for my lens. It significantly changes the aspect of the picture. I really like to shoot car interiors through the glass of the window. Also to not have reflections on the car I want to shoot. I even bought a spare polarized filter for the same lens, just in case.

Lamborghini Aventador J
Lamborghini Aventador J Photographed by Alin Ionut

Pagani Zonda Cinque
Pagani Zonda Cinque Photographed by Alin Ionut

Bentley Bentayga and Bugatti Chiron
Bentley Bentayga and Bugatti Chiron Photographed by Alin Ionut

5. "In an industry that's always evolving, how do you keep your work innovative and maintain a unique edge?”

Most of the time I like to watch photoshoots of famous photographers that I'm following on Instagram, what are the new trends in car photography, what details of a car are they shooting, places to shoot, everything that stands out to me and I think to consider practicing in my own way. I'm also watching reviews of camera gear and gadgets on YouTube, how they are practicing in real world situations, and what advice needs to be considered... etc. And last but not least, car youtubers/vloggers that are attending car events, doing trips and visiting different places.

Bugatti's Photographed by Alin Ionut

Bugatti's Photographed by Alin Ionut

6. “Do you find there is a competitive element to automotive photography or do you see it as more collaborative?”

I like to think that everyone has their own part in this automotive photography, by bringing their own style, their own creative ideas and stories. Some are even becoming an inspiration for others, which is amazing. Also I appreciate when an international automotive event, like Supercar Owners Circle, brings photographers together from different parts of the world. When we are chatting not only about cars, but also camera gear, stories and other stuff. I met people from Spain, France, Switzerland and even Slovakia.

Ferrari SP2 Monza
Ferrari SP2 Monza Photographed by Alin Ionut

Aston Martin Victor
Aston Martin Victor Photographed by Alin Ionut

Pagani Zonda Cinque
Pagani Zonda Cinque Photographed by Alin Ionut

7. "Looking back at your career so far, what advice would you give to your younger self when you were just starting?"

Believe more in yourself, believe in your intuition and don't lose any opportunity that comes to you.

Pagani's Photographed by Alin Ionut

Bugatti Chiron Supersport
Bugatti Chiron Supersport Photographed by Alin Ionut

8. “Do you have a favorite photo? Either one you’ve taken yourself or one taken by someone else? If so can you tell us about what makes that photo so special?”

If I'm honest, very few photos of mine are outstanding to me. Most important are the stories behind the photoshoots that I did. The memories that are coming back to me, when I see my photos. For example, by the end of 2020 I participated in a photo contest on Instagram, organized by the Ferrari dealership in Wavre, Belgium. It was called #FerrariFriday, and you had to post a picture of yours with a Ferrari in your story each Friday, for one month. The duration of the contest was 3 months, so 1 winner per month. The prize was a joyride for 30min in a Ferrari. I was the first winner of the contest. And I had an amazing ride in a F8 Spider. Got my GoPro's to film it and also did a photoshoot after that. What an amazing experience!

Ferrari 599 XX
Ferrari 599 XX Photographed by Alin Ionut

9. "Finally, if you could have a dream photo shoot of your dream garage with any three cars from any era, which cars would you choose?”

This is a tough question. Because the list is long and I'm sure you can notice on my Instagram account that I'm not a one car brand man. I'm a fan of cars from the late '80's, '90's and 2000's until 2015. But I also like a few cars from the '60's. For now, I would say a Pagani Zonda F, a Lamborghini Revènton and a McLaren P1. But if you ask me again, I would give you a different answer.

McLaren P1
McLaren P1 Photographed by Alin Ionut

Wrapping Up

We're thankful to Alin Ionut for opening up about his journey in automotive photography. His path, characterized by deep passion and skill, is truly motivating and filled with valuable insights. AJ's talent in portraying the beauty of cars is exceptional. We appreciate the knowledge he has imparted regarding his craft and eagerly anticipate his future achievements as he continues to leave an indelible mark in the world of automotive photography.

Get Your Hands on The TCN App

Check out more of Alin'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!

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