At South Downs Secure, we aim to provide our clients with a complete range of automotive services. Some will help maintain and improve your vehicle’s condition. Others are services that we know will interest our clients. One such service is professional automotive photography.
Professional Automotive Photography:
We’ve teamed up with photographer Kirsty Jayne Russell who offers professional automotive photography for our clients. Kirsty’s photographic skills capture the essence of your car in beautiful Sussex surroundings in the heart of the South Downs National Park. Read on to find out more about Kirsty and how she can help you capture your vehicle in its very best light!
An interview with Kirsty Jayne Russell:
SDS: When and how did you first become interested in automotive photography?
KJR: I initially started photography when I was around 11 years old! I began with wildlife, animals & nature landscapes before slowly moving on to portraits and events. It actually wasn’t until I started working as a documentary editor for a local film company in 2019 that I made the switch from horses to horsepower! This company worked closely with Goodwood, and I started realizing just how exciting the whole industry was. I was offered some incredible access to cars, and it didn’t take much for me to fall in love with it all.
SDS: What’s the best thing about working in automotive photography?
KJR: For me, it’s 100% the people. As much as I love the thrill of a high-speed race or a one-of-a-kind barn find, it’s the people that really tie the whole thing together. Cars hold such value in people’s lives and it’s rare you find an industry so willing to teach & share information or stories so freely.
Additionally, I wouldn’t consider myself particularly knowledgeable on the technicalities of cars, but the best part of the industry is that, neither do a lot of people! It’s easy to appreciate beautiful things and, especially with classic cars, a lot of people are just happy to share in the art and design.
What’s in your go-to photographer’s kit bag for automotive photography?
I’m a Canon girl at heart, so aside from a few Sigma lenses, there’s a lot of Canon!
My main camera body is a Canon 5D IV; I have two of these, which enables me to shoot at two different focal lengths at an event. Also works great to have as a backup in the very unlikely case of an issue! My go-to lenses are a Sigma 50mm f1.4 ART, Canon 24-70mm f2.8, Canon 70-200mm f4 & a Canon 16-35mm f4. My next purchase will hopefully be a 400mm or 600mm. But that’s an expensive dream!
I also always carry an ND filter, Polarizer, Tripod (if my poor back can manage it!) & two F7 Falcon Eye panel lights. These are always handy for lighting interiors, wheel arches & details, etc.
What is your favourite motor circuit or event, and why?
I’m almost certainly biased because it was the first place I had motorsport access, but it’s definitely Goodwood! I’ve been to several other tracks over the UK, and as much as they’re all brilliant, for me, nowhere has quite the character and allure of Goodwood. I think the history, accessibility and inclusivity are what keeps me coming back again and again. The events are so detailed & special. No stone is left unturned. The whole estate just has this charm that, once it’s got you, it’s got you for life! I’ve joked with people that when there’s an event on, Revival, for instance, it’s like the UK’s automotive Disneyland! SO cleverly planned & people give 110% to make it a really special experience.
What motoring events are you most looking forward to photographing in 2023 and why?
At the moment, I’m excited about the Goodwood Members Meeting and, of course, the Revival! I also visited Bicester Heritage for the first time last year and now make a habit of driving up to each of their ‘Scramble!’ events. So fun & such a fab location with all of the old hangars. Brands Hatch is also on the horizon this year!
What is your career highlight, and why?
This is a tough one as, particularly over the last couple of years, there have been so many ‘Pinch me!’ moments. However, I think my two stand-out memories are, first, shooting for Fiat’s new 500e launch back in the Summer of 2021. We had the new cars a few weeks before they had been released, and I remember driving one around a car park in Cambridge thinking, ‘What am I doing- How did I get here!?”
Secondly, standing shoulder-shoulder with every photographer on Goodwood’s pit wall to watch the evening parade of Group-C Le Mans-winning cars. They were silhouetted by this incredibly rich pink and orange sunset, and they absolutely stormed the start-finish straight. The sound, paired with the wind dragging across your face as they whipped by, was just incredible.
Describe a day in your life in five words.
Chaotic, loud, creative, tiring & FUN!
When did you first get behind a steering wheel?
I didn’t get behind the wheel until I was almost 18. No idea why I waited so long; you can’t get me out of my car now!
What was your first car?
My first car was a 1998 Vauxhall Corsa. It had these incredible multi-coloured fabric seats (like an old stagecoach bus interior!), and it ran like a dream!
What do you drive now?
A 2017 Kia Picanto-GT. Not a massive upgrade, but it’s reliable, small and does the job!
What do you wish you were driving now?
Ah, my dream car? It’s a toss-up between a 1970s Porsche 911S and a 1965 (ish!) Classic Mini. In a perfect world, I’d own both!
If you were on James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke, what three tracks would you sing along to?
What a fab question! My go-to song is always ‘How Long’ by Ace, but close runners-up are ‘Hold Me’ by Fleetwood Mac & Insomnia by Faithless. I feel like those three are different enough that I’m covered for whichever mood I’m in!
What services can you offer clients of South Downs Secure?
With a great deal of experience in shooting all things automotive, I can offer clients a unique and creative perspective of their car. Whether you own the smallest mini or the largest Jaguar, I can help you with everything from the perfect photographs to help sell your car to simply providing you with timeless images to frame in the office.
If you’re a client of ours and interested in professional automotive photography, get in touch HERE so we can introduce you to Kirsty.