Vintage Car Racing Photography

The Art of Vintage Race Car Photography Part Three: The Portfolio

Building a portfolio is the reason many of us are photographers. Putting together images that we have captured into a collection we can share with friends, associates, or in some cases, to show potential employers.

The same rules of building a portfolio apply no matter the final use you envision for your images. As always, the reason you have rules is to break them.

Building a Portfolio Tips:

  • Keep a portfolio of between nine and twelve images. If you cant, sell your talent with nine to twelve images, you aren’t going to sell your talent with fifteen, twenty, or twenty-five images.
McLaren M8F
SVRA Indianapolis, McLaren M8F, Alex MacAllister
  • Are your friends and family still interested in your images after twelve?- a sure test!
George Follmer
George Follmer
  • I have a pool of images I can quickly draw from to trade out portfolio images. An image I am willing to include on Monday may by Friday be out of favor.
Porsche 917
Rennsport V- Porsche 917, Charles Nearburg – Laguna Seca
  • Each of the twelve images should be strong enough to stand on its own.
Masters F1 – MARCH F1. Stephen Romak – Laguna Seca
  • Keep the verbiage to a minimum – event, driver, and car. The image will tell everything else.
1959 Austin Healey Bug Eye Sprite
CSRG DLM- 1959 Austin Healey Bug Eye Sprite. Don Queen – Sears Point Raceway
  • Include all information in PhotoShop – File information- Basic – Use both Description and Key Words.
1960 Porsche RS60
Rennsport VI – 1960 Porsche RS60. Johannes Van Overbeek – Laguna Seca
  • Be sure the Copyright Info is filled out for each image: both Copyright Status and Copyright Notice.
1979 March 79 B Formula Atlantic
CSRG DLM – 1979 March 79 B Formula Atlantic. Gregory Loscher – Sears Point
  • Going left to right and right to left images, head-on images, detailed images, driver portraits should all be included.
1951 Porsche 356
Rennsport VI – 1951 Porsche 356. Pete Stout -Laguna Seca
  • Spend some time getting the images to flow.
1980 Williams FW07B
Masters F1 – 1980 Williams FW07B- Charles Nearburg – Laguna Seca
  • Include a short bio including contact information. I have a bio compiled by another writer. I found he could say things about me that I was uncomfortable saying, even if true.
1952 Allard J2X
RMMR – 1952 Allard J2X – Joe Calleja – Laguna Seca
  • From the above sentence, you will see I have a dry sense of humor. Consider leaving your sense of humor out of the Bio or other verbiage. Many clients do not share a sense of humor and often miss my humorous verbiage.
Piccoli Maserati 250F
RMMR – Piccoli Maserati 250F – Laguna Seca Paddock
  • This weekend I open my 2021 season with coverage of the HMSA Laguna Seca Spring Event. I’ll be shooting to capture three or four images to add to my Portfolio’s Pool of images. You will be able to see the results shortly here at Sports Car Digest.
1954 Lancia D50A
RMMR – 1954 Lancia D50A – Charles Nearburg – Laguna Seca

Please leave any comments in the comments box below. Any questions can be sent to me at [email protected]

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  1. Dear Mr. Gray,

    I would like to do an oil from one of your photos. Do I email you a request or state on the back of painting that this is a painting from a Dennis Gray photo?

  2. I noticed the subject car in many of your images, especially 3/4 shots, are not all in focus. Is this intentional or just victim of the depth of field?

    1. All the images I have posted were designed. That’s not to say all my images are designed.
      For the most part these 3/4 images display sharpness towards the front or nose and sharpness around the driver. The blur is not lack of focus but movement of the subject. Panning a 3/4 front subject allows you to pick one area to hold with areas forward or behind your target area blurred from speed motion.

      1. I meant to say the images have focus either on the nose or the driver. I explained in the series about panning and following the point of focus with the curser. Sharpness comes from your panning.

  3. Interesting series Dennis; I do the same sort of thing in the UK and it is interesting to see how your techniques differ from mine. I think the biggest single difference is the weather! I have to seal with everything from Arctic winds, and Monsoon rain to hot and dry – and that’s only in Summer!
    Some stunning images, thanks.