Introducing Jesse, a talented automotive photographer from a quaint town in Minnesota, who has made a name for himself in the world of high-end car photography under the moniker @VelocePhoto on Instagram. Jesse's remarkable skill in photographing some of the most prestigious vehicles, particularly Bugatti's and Koenigsegg's, has set him apart in the Midwest's automotive photography scene. His collaborations with notable influencers and global manufacturers, including partnerships with personalities like The Stradman and prestigious brands like Koenigsegg, highlight his impact and reach in this niche yet vibrant field.
In our interview, we're going to delve into Veloce Photo's artistic approach. How does he frame the ideal photo of a car, blending mechanical excellence with artistic flair? What's his strategy for embarking on new projects, and what kind of challenges does he encounter in the niche world of exotic car photography? Veloce Photo will reveal his personal techniques and offer advice for those aspiring to enter the field of automotive photography.
To explore more of Veloce Photo's stunning work, visit his Instagram page.
I started going to car shows when I was around eight years old and immediately fell in love with cars. I started my page, originally called mn_autos, when I was 12 and just shared phone pictures of cars I saw around Minnesota. Over the years, I started putting more effort into the pictures I took and eventually started using a real camera to get that perspective that an iPhone just can’t accomplish. I really fell in love with photography when I started experimenting with motion blur. This was my first “panning” shot I took.
I loved how I was able to portray a sense of speed with the car on the road, rather than just a frozen moment in time. After that, there was no turning back and I dove headfirst into the world of car photography.
A great automotive photo has to start with four things: an eye catching car, a unique background, good lighting, and most importantly, an idea of the “perfect shot” you’re trying to create. Once you’ve got that out of the way, it comes down to personal preference on finding the perfect angle and camera settings to create that shot. Personally, I look for unconventional angles to make my photos stand out from others’, using things such as trees, bushes, or other cars in the foreground.
My most challenging photoshoot to set up was also the one I’m most proud of. In early winter of 2019, my friend Andy (@chitownexotics) and I started tossing around an idea of a dream shoot with a collector I know in Chicago who owns the only Koenigsegg One:1 on the continent.
It seemed completely out of the question, as this car had never even been driven on public roads and the collector is extremely private. To make things even more outrageous, Andy said we should invite The Stradman, a YouTuber with over four million subscribers if you aren’t familiar. As crazy as it sounded, I pitched our idea to the collector, and to our surprise he was actually interested.
However, when Andy reached out to James (The Stradman) we realized we were still a long way from making this a reality. After nearly a month of not hearing back, we started to lose hope. Finally, I got a message from Andy ecstatically telling me James had texted back and was interested. Next, we set up a group chat and had to coordinate around four busy schedules, which proved to be very difficult. We finally found a date that worked for all of us, and in August of 2020 our dream came to fruition, nearly a year after the planning began.
This was an incredible night that I will never forget. I got to ride in the One:1, coordinate a private photoshoot, film with The Stradman, and have an amazing conversation with the owner of this car. For a car fanatic, life doesn’t get much better than this.
As many automotive photographers already know, a polarizing lens, or CPL, is a necessity for every car photo. The CPL reduces glare and reflections on the car, bringing out the true color and detail that you can’t see otherwise.
Here’s two shots I took of a Ferrari F40. They are completely unedited; the only difference between the two is the use of a CPL. The difference is night and day.
I am extremely selective in the work I choose to share, and as a result I don’t end up posting as often as most. But when I do post a photo, it’s one I’m very proud of. I take pride in the opportunities I’ve had to shoot some of the rarest and most expensive cars on the planet, and I believe my unique perspectives on these cars set my work apart from others’.
I’m constantly looking for new methods or angles for the perfect shot and pushing the boundaries of what’s believed to be possible. You’d be amazed how far you can get by talking to the right people and not being afraid to pitch a crazy idea. “You’re so lucky” is something I get a lot, but luck had only a marginal impact on any of the opportunities I’ve had. My ideas only came to fruition because I wasn’t afraid to introduce myself and ask crazy questions.
Automotive photography is extremely competitive, and it seems like everyone’s got a car photography page these days. I enjoy collaborating with other photographers, but sometimes to make the most of an opportunity you have to do things on your own, and I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with that. The shoots I do wouldn’t be special if the whole state was there. You have to keep in mind that you’re never going to please everyone all the time, and sometimes feelings get hurt, but it’s something that happens to everyone and isn’t unique to the car photography community. Life goes on. Take advantage of the opportunities you’re given and be happy for others’ successes as well as your own.
If you had told me five years ago that I would have my work posted by Koenigsegg, set up a shoot with The Stradman, ride in a Koenigsegg One:1, and know several billionaires that I talk to on a regular basis, I would’ve laughed at you. If you think about it though, the whole automotive community is based on wild dreams becoming reality: all the records that have been broken that were previously thought to be impossible, all the challenges companies have overcome to create the perfect car for their clients. All it takes is someone who has an idea, and eventually things fall into place. Take pride in what makes your work unique. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to people. Take risks. Learn from mistakes. You’ll find that even your wildest dreams just might become reality.
I’ll share two of my favorite photos I’ve taken, along with two shots from others.
Any great photo needs a great story to go along with it, and this one certainly qualifies. As I mentioned before, this shoot was a dream I worked on for the better part of a year, and this was the pinnacle moment. Even among the limited group at this shoot, I was the only one to see the potential in this shot. It was strongly backlit, so it took a tremendous amount of work to remove the harsh flare from the car and balance the shadows and highlights. In the end, however, I created what I feel is my masterpiece.
This shot also comes to mind when I’m asked for my favorites. At the time, this was the only Singer DLS in the United States. I only had one chance at this shot, and I made the very risky decision to shoot through some trees. I only had one usable image, but it turned out better than anything I could have imagined. I’ve been told it looks like a photo from a video game. Rest assured that no motion blur or other falsifications were added to this image; I only toned it and color corrected it as I do with all my images. To me, this shot represents the incredible things that can come from making risky decisions.
This incredible photo from @gfwilliams is what I’ve long considered my favorite of all time. A snowboarder jumping over a windshield less hypercar power sliding through a snowy mountain pass? What more do I need to say?
Finally, this one is my Instagram profile picture. My friend got this awesome shot of me shooting rollers of a Bugatti Centodieci from an even faster and rarer car, the Bugatti Chiron Supersport 300+. This moment is very special to me, so I definitely had to include this one.
I’m very fortunate to be able to say I’ve already photographed all of my dream cars, but if I could set up another photoshoot, I would choose the Ferrari F40, Singer DLS, and Pagani Zonda Cinque. I’d love to experience these cars in a new location, such as Switzerland, Norway, or Colorado. Who knows? Maybe it will happen someday.
We're thankful to Jesse from Veloce Photo for sharing his journey and insights in the field of automotive photography with us. His path, characterized by passion and skill, is not only inspiring but also full of valuable lessons. His ability to capture the beauty and power of cars with his camera is truly impressive. We appreciate the knowledge he has shared about his art and look forward to seeing his future endeavors as he continues to enrich the world of automotive photography.
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