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Automotive Art: Light Painting

Automotive Art: Light Painting

Automotive art is a big part of the car culture, and can be seen in many forms.  This might be seen in scale models, paintings, caricature drawings or some type of photography.  Some of the most common themes in automotive art include classic cars, race cars, muscle cars, and motorcycles.

Capturing unique design elements of a car can be a challenge, so it is fascinating to find a talented artist with that skill.  A couple of months ago, a friend from high school began posting car pictures on her Facebook page.  These were not your typical car pictures: the level of detail and lighting was crisp and full of life.  I was mesmerized by the images, so I reached out to my friend, Eileen Cote, to learn more.

blonde women taking pictures

Photographic Artist:  Eileen Cote

Eileen is an extremely talented photographer, and she puts great care and detail into her work.  This was the first time in years that I saw her focus on cars, so I asked her “what’s up with the focus on cars?”

“Growing up in the Motor City, I was immersed in the car culture,” said Eileen.  “If your parents didn’t work at one of the Big 3 automakers, a friend or other family member did.  Nearly everyone owned a cool car or truck that they loved.  Cars were like family to metro Detroiters.

Over the past 20 years, I have professionally photographed countless weddings and bridal parties, as well as numerous family portraits.  It only makes sense to give the same care and professional treatment to your family member on wheels.

I’m thrilled to apply a technique known as light painting to perfectly capture the personality of your car.”

Light Painting

Light Painting is a highly complex and unique style of photography. It uses different types of lighting, using mono lights to make a series of images of a subject from one vantage point.  These exposures are blended together in a single photograph image that brings out highlights in a subject not possible though any other photography style or technique.

A few weeks ago, Eileen met me to demonstrate her technique with my car.  We used my friend’s warehouse so that my car could be in total darkness for this session.  Her camera remained in a fixed position for the entire activity.

With each picture taken, she used a special light to focus on a single area of my car.  Combined with a long exposure (up to eight seconds), each image was unique.  I think Eileen took about 60 pictures from that one camera position. She picked around 30 pictures that she layered on top of each other to generate the final image.

Shown below are the before, during and after pictures of my photo session.

White car in bright room

That look of the final image was by accident.  I hit my key fob to unlock the door and the tail lights lit up the wall.  It was like the car was in front of a fire…very cool!

Other Examples

My car is not the only one to receive Eileen’s light painting technique.  Here are some other examples of her work. When these are printed on a metal panel, they really come to life!

blu corvette

purple Dodge car

Reach Out To Eileen

Eileen is one of the few photographers who has perfected this art of light painting.

She is currently accepting commissions to light paint a variety of subjects: automobiles, motorcycles, aircraft, tractors, musical instruments and other commercial products.

Please contact Eileen at 317-709-1675 (call or text) to see how she can bring out the personality of your special item with light painting.

Final Thoughts & Questions

I was really amazed and impressed with this new type of automotive art, and gained a new respect for an already talented artist.  My session took almost two hours to film, which added to the appreciation I have for the final product.

Let me know if you have any thoughts or questions. Please email me at, or message me through the Vehicle Nanny Instagram or Facebook pages.

Want to learn more about me?  Go to this article:   Who’s Your Nanny?

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