Meet the Automotive Photographer: João Meneses

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The third automotive photographer to begin working with Limited100, Sheffield-based João Meneses is a young self-taught professional who from a tender age developed a unique passion for, and a very strong connection with photography and the automotive world, influenced by his father. Shortly after he concluded his professional qualification in the health sector (Physiotherapy), dedicating his time entirely to photography became a possibility and later on a reality. João bought his first camera and embraced the challenge of self-learning the basics, leading to an evolution from an amateur to a professional freelance photographer.

In this article, João answers some questions so you can find out more about how he takes and develops his iconic automotive photography.

How did you get into photography?

At the age of 22, my father passed away and I unconsciously started looking for things to occupy my time and above all trying to free my head a little from the suffering that was going on, and little by little I started walking around a very well frequented place my place of birth Cascais, Lisbon, where there is a big supercar scene. In the meantime, I got to know some Portuguese and overseas automotive photographers, and started to dedicate more time to study and understand what photography is, and specifically automotive photography.

Pictured: 'Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta at H.R. Owen' by João Meneses

Have you always been a petrolhead?

I was always a petrolhead, very much influenced by my father. I loved watching all kinds of car events since I was a baby. I have always been surrounded by cars and passionate about motorsport. I was 3/4 years old when I went to the Estoril circuit for the first time to see the Formula 1 at the time with the loud V12 and I never forget the sound and that memory.

What is the key to taking a great photo?

For me, the key to taking a great photograph is to like what you do, to have a passion for photography and to combine the technical issues of photography, to be totally attentive and focused in the search for the best moment or what is important.  It is very important to understand the basic principles of photography, laws, rules and to know how to apply them at the right moment, and nowadays it is also very important to know how to edit and manipulate your photographs in order to get the best out of each RAW file.

Pictured: Edition 1/100 of 'Ferrari 250 GTO 1962 in Knightsbridge' by João Meneses

What’s the most interesting car photoshoot you’ve ever done for a client?

I've had some very interesting sessions, but the most exciting was perhaps photographing an Aston Martin Vulcan, a very rare track car or photographing a LaFerrari during a presentation of another Ferrari model.

What is your dream three-car garage and why?

My dream three-car garage would have to include a Ferrari F40, as it is one of my favourite cars, it was the last masterpiece overseen by Enzo Ferrari. Secondly, a McLaren F1 GTR, because it is one of the most beautiful cars in history, its BMW V12 is simply spectacular. The third and last but not least would have to be a Porsche 911 GT3, as it is another mythical brand of motorsport and the GT3 is perhaps one of the best super sports cars ever built.

How important is the editing in getting that perfect shot?

In my opinion today, an excellent photograph has to be edited and retouched to show its strengths and hide some of the “weak” points that may exist. In my work and in my photographs I prefer to keep them as natural as possible, but over the years I have learned more about editing and manipulating in Lightroom and Photoshop, so I have devoted more time to working on photographs in post production, so I think it is very important to edit the photos to make them as aesthetically-pleasing as possible.

Do you have any tips for aspiring automotive photographers?

I am a photographer with a few years of experience. My best tips are not to give up on your dreams, study a lot about photography, take lots of photos to be able to understand how you can improve and ask other photographers for their opinions and their constructive criticism to improve your skills.

Is there anyone in the automotive industry who really inspires you?

There are some photographers who inspire me a lot, to understand their techniques and in my style to improve my photographs. Each photographer has their own style and way of observing, photographing and "showing" what they observe and want to show. That is why photography is so fascinating, because two photographers looking at the same object can capture and photograph two relatively different things.

Which other services can you offer car enthusiasts?

The services I can offer are photoshoots for private, commercial or sporting events. The best way to connect with me is via Instragram @joaomenesesphotography and visit his website.

Where do you see yourself in three years’ time?

For the past seven years my progress has been very positive and little by little I am managing to achieve my most achievable goals. Moreover, I aspire to achieve more and more. Three years from now I wish to be working full-time as a photographer for a magazine, or for a racing team, because above all my greatest passion is motorsport photography. I wish this pandemic disappears quickly so that everyday life can return to normality as soon as possible.

Explore the João Meneses Collection here.

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