Sports / Motorsports / Studio / Composite

Sam Hinds


“I started racing go-karts. And I love karts. It’s the most breathtaking sport in the world. More than F1, indeed, I used to like it most.” ―Ayrton Senna

When you think of auto racing, you usually think of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway or Daytona with big, loud and fast cars. For those drivers, many start out small…but just as exciting at a smaller scale!

Sam Hinds, from Westfield Indiana, started racing go karts on his 5th birthday back in 2012. His love of racing is in his DNA as his grandfather, Don Reed, raced NHRS Top Fuel drag and his father worked in the NHRA as a team member and mechanic up until 2010.

Today, Sam races several karting series across the US and currently races in the Yamaha Junior division for Comet Racing Engines. The collage today is from a series of shoots that we did with some of his older karts that he used when he was racing Yamaha Sportsman and Mini Swift.

For today’s image, I wanted something completely different from the tens of thousands of images that I take every year as the official photographer for the World Karting Association. The races are held over 3 days with practices, qualifying then the final race. There are only so many perspectives that you can get and restrictions that keep me from getting some shots…so I created my own! I’ll give an overview of what we can do and give others an idea what is possible!

I’ll set the scene: since I wanted total control of the lighting to match with my background idea, Sam and his kart were shot inside my studio. I needed the lighting to come from a specific direction (from behind) and just enough fill light to get some detail out of the sponsorship decals on the front of the kart. Didn’t need to care about the background or the floor as I would extract the kart/driver from the scene and place it into my own. After a series of different poses and position of the kart, the best was chosen for this specific collage.

First step in editing is the most time consuming…extracting the image that I need from the original background and taking care to get all of the parts, wires, spaces, etc to make sure the new background shows through for a realistic placement on the new background.

Original image taken in-studio with controlled lighting
Extracted image from original studio background
Original background image before any editing

Once extracted, Sam is placed on a new background. Without any work…it looks way out of place and the colors and contrast of the background is not to my liking. Next is 20+ years of photoshop experience! Shading, contrast adjustments, changes to saturation and checking every detail! Once the shading from the light from the storm is added, other elements were added in such as the lightning, his name above as well as down to the editing of his visor to remove the reflection of my studio lighting and adding in a hint of lightning!

Sam placed on unedited background
Color changes and shading to match lighting
Addition of storm elements and text

To show all of the changes that were made to the background and around the kart, I removed Sam and kart from the image to show all of what was added to get the desired effect.

Notice the black spot in the middle…that is the visor that had to be covered to remove the glare from the studio lights! A slight hint of a reflection of several bolts of lightning were added in to give some depth and texture since it was too dark to show his face!







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