Meet the Automotive Photographer: Paul Ward

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The first contributing artist to get involved with Limited100, Paul Ward has been a professional photographer for over twenty years now and recently won his category at the British Photography Awards 2020.

Over the years his work has been published in many books and magazines both in the UK and internationally; his architectural images currently adorn the walls aboard Cunard’s flagship Queen Mary 2.

Paul’s passion for cars started when he bought his first Austin Mini almost 30 years ago and ever since then he has been obsessed with both classic cars and modern supercars, so, as an image-maker, it’s not surprising that automotive photography has become a passion of his too.

In this article, Paul answers some questions so you can find out more about how he got started in photography, his car ownership history and what it takes to create (and in some cases, digitally-enhance) an award-winning shot.

Pictured: 'Aston Martin DB5 at Bicester Heritage' by Paul Ward

How did you get into photography?

I started taking pictures at university and borrowed my dad's old Yashica SLR camera to do a project with. Then got into doing nightclub photos for a local magazine and slowly started building my portfolio from there.

Have you always been a petrolhead?

Yes, I’ve always loved classic cars, I bought my first Mini for £50 back when I was 21, then soon after, with some money my grandfather gave me, bought my first convertible (a Mk3 Triumph Spitfire) which I owned for around 20 years until recently. Over the years I’ve had many cars including Ford, BMW, Volvo, Mercedes, Volkswagen and Honda. My current cars include a 2003 Porsche Boxster, and my pride and joy is a Triumph T48 special by Fiorano that we built and restored from a shell on a chassis a few years ago.     

What is the key to taking a good photo?

Probably lighting and location are up there as the most important I’d say. But in my case good editing and retouching skills can be a great tool too.

Pictured: '1965 Porsche 911 Paul Smith 'art car' at Bicester Heritage' by Paul Ward

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

I love going to vintage car events like Prescott Hill climb, Shelsley Walsh and Loton Park and usually take my camera along to grab some shots while I’m there, even though they are not shoots for a client, I’d say I find these the most interesting because I love seeing these old cars doing what they were built to do.

What is your dream three-car garage and why?

If money was no object probably an Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale, 1957 Ferrari 500 TRC and a 1936 Talbot Lago T150C. Of course my everyday runaround would have to be a Singer Porsche 911 too.

How important is the editing in getting that perfect shot?

Extremely important. Especially with my own images.

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Pictured: Edition 1/100 of 'Lamborghini Miura (technicolour stripes)' by Paul Ward

Do you have any tips for aspiring automotive photographers?

My tip would be don’t do it to make money – It’s a difficult and saturated market to make a living at, but if you do it because you love cars and love photography, then it won’t matter if you make money or not, you’ll still be happy doing what you love.

Are there any contacts in the automotive industry who really inspire you?

My friend Damon Jones is an inspiration – he started out as an engineer at companies like McLaren and Aston Martin and then moved to LA to work at Singer and Guntherwerks. Now he’s working on his own cars as well as consulting for some very high end car companies.... he really has a dream career!

Pictured: '1962 Ferrari 250 GT Breadvan at Silverstone Classic' by Paul Ward

Which other services can you offer car enthusiasts?

Other than my professional automotive photography services, I’m not sure I can offer anything else to car enthusiasts, although I am happy to babysit their cars while they are away on holiday!

Where do you see yourself in three years’ time?

Hopefully only two years older.

Explore the Paul Ward Collection here

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