Today, we're in conversation with TJ Harrington, a dedicated automotive photographer from the DMV area, whose passion for photography ignited later in life. Driven by a competitive spirit and a personal project, his journey has evolved from experimenting with a humble Canon 5D to capturing compelling images that solidified his love for the art form.
In our interview, we'll delve into TJ Harrington's distinctive approach to automotive photography. We're keen to understand how he blends technical expertise with creative flair in his photography. What inspires the start of his new projects, and what challenges does he face in the specialized field of automotive photography? TJ will share insights into his creative process and provide tips for those looking to make their mark in the world of automotive photography.
Don't forget to check out TJ Harrington's impressive portfolio by visiting his Instagram page.
I got into photography at the ripe age of 25 because I had this beautiful little MK4 GLI that I did a lot of work to and loved having photos done of the car. I am very competitive so when I saw the photos I had done I thought I could do better, so I went out and bought a cheap little Canon 5D and that’s where my obsession started.
The first car I photographed that made me think this is what I want to do came years after picking up a camera and learning the fundamentals but if I recall it was a lifted Jeep and we were in a remote area at an abandoned garage. The composition and the lighting really drew me to the photo and really made me think, “this is it.”
In my opinion automotive photos that really stand out are how well you can make the subject fit with the background but still be the center of focus. One of my favorite angles of vehicles is the low front quarter panel shot, you can usually capture the body lines that really make every vehicle stand out. The lighting conditions I find work best for me is the very early sunrise even though I dread waking up early. Over the years I have changed my style from the dark and moody to a more light and airy style. I always play with my style so I can't say I am stuck to one but I definitely use one style more than another.
Photography is something that just will never be the same from day to day, it's always changing so to keep as much of an edge as possible i like to drive around, no matter the distance and find unused locations to try and set myself apart by having a vision and doing everything I can to bring my vision to life. Maybe that means scaling a tree to get different angles or standing on the edge of a parking garage to get a different perspective.
My most challenging shoot came this year. I attended the Import vs Domestic World Cup Finals and this being my first major drag racing event I didn't know what to expect. I didn't have a media pass so working around all the spectators and teams was hands down the most challenging by far.
The piece of gear I can't live without has to be the RF 24-105 F4 lens. It's just a great all around lens for video and photos.
I see automotive photography more of a collaborative effort. There is no right or wrong way of taking photos so to speak so getting out there meeting people and learning their stories and just learning another way to look at things has really opened my eyes to what can be.
The best advice I can give my younger self is to not worry about what people think and get out there and take as many photos as possible and really spend time and put effort into the editing process.
My favorite photos would have to be done by @alexpenfold on Instagram. He has a photo of an old Mercedes Benz 300 SL Roadster with skis on top of the car. Parked at the bottom of what looks like an alp covered in snow. This photo really stands out to me because one Alex Penfold is a god with a camera but also its just so simple and elegant.
My favorite question of them all, my dream photoshoot of my dream garage would have to be a white Sterling Moss Mercedes McLaren SLR and a white Mercedes Benz C63 AMG Black series along with a white Mercedes Benz CLK GTR. There is just something so special to me about the older Mercedes Benz that really captures my heart.
We're grateful to TJ Harrington for sharing his experiences in the world of automotive photography. His journey, driven by a profound passion and remarkable skill, is truly motivating and rich with valuable lessons. TJ's ability to capture the essence and personality of automobiles is outstanding. We value the expertise he has imparted about his art and eagerly anticipate his future accomplishments as he continues to shape the field of automotive photography.
Check out more of TJ'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!