24/06/2024
Malta, MT
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Interview with Dylan Darmanin from DLP Automotive

Behind the Lens: Meet Motorsport Photographer Dylan Darmanin

Interview with Dylan Darmanin from DLP Automotive

What initially drew you to motorsport photography, and how did you get started?

From a young age, I adored cars. My dad would take me to the dragstrip every Sunday morning, and it was only a matter of time before I caught the automotive bug. The passion for cars naturally leads to racing, the roar of engines, the scent of fuel and rubber, and the adrenaline rush from pushing machines to their limits have always captivated me.

Motorsport events can be fast-paced and action-packed. How do you prepare for a shoot, and what equipment do you rely on to capture those special moments?

Motorsport events are fast-paced, often giving you only one chance to capture the perfect shot. Preparation is key to securing stunning and dramatic images. Here’s how I prepare:

  • Ensure my gear is packed, charged, and ready for action.
  • Familiarize myself with the location, identifying key points and angles.
  • Keep myself hydrated and energized with water, protein bars, and a hearty breakfast.

For my equipment, I make sure everything is clean, batteries are fully charged, and memory cards are empty. This thorough preparation helps me stay on my feet and ready to capture every thrilling moment.

What are the biggest challenges you face when shooting motorsport events, and how do you overcome them?

One of the biggest challenges at any event is finding various positions with different angles that are also safe. This can be particularly difficult due to restricted areas, unsafe zones, and occasionally being mistaken for a spectator, even though I always wear a high-visibility vest. To mitigate these challenges, I conduct test shoots and arrive at the track early. However, I live by the saying, “improvise, adapt, and overcome.” This mindset always helps, regardless of the situation.

Can you share a memorable experience or standout moment from your time as a motorsport photographer?

The best moment for me was at the Hill Climb Masters in Portugal. The scenery was breathtaking, with huge crowds cheering and an electrifying atmosphere as drift cars raced up the hill. I was in an excellent position, right at the corner, facing a wall of spectators. The cars came sideways, creating massive clouds of smoke, with their rear ends just centimeters from my lens. Pieces of rubber flew, and the air was filled with pops, bangs, and trailing flames. It still gives me shivers thinking about it. It was an amazing experience, and I hope to do it again.

Motorsport photography often requires capturing split-second moments and showcasing the speed and intensity of the sport. How do you approach composition and timing to convey these elements effectively?

To photograph motorsports effectively, you need to anticipate what is about to happen or predict what you think will happen. For example, during a karting event, I focus on corners where the kart might lift its rear wheel off the ground or where a driver will go over an apex, sometimes lifting all four wheels off the ground. Capturing these dramatic moments paired with a slow shutter speed can result in stunning shots. Panning shots help convey the speed of the subject, though they can be tricky, especially if you’re photographing a hill climb event and positioned behind a blind corner.

If you’re new to a track, ask around to find out where the most action happens and who the most aggressive drivers are, as they are likely to provide the most dramatic moments.

How do you adapt your shooting style and techniques to different motorsport disciplines, such as circuit racing, rallying, or drifting?

Adapting to different events involves studying the track layout and identifying the most sought-after shots. However, the best images often come from thinking outside the box.

Motorsport events can present unique lighting and environmental conditions. How do you adjust your settings and post-processing techniques to achieve the desired results?

When it comes to lighting, it’s never consistent, and I often adjust settings manually for each photo. This isn’t always due to changes in sunlight or cloud cover; sometimes, I simply want to alter the mood of the image, shifting from a warm, sunny feel to a cooler, bluish tone.

Are there any specific motorsport photographers or videographers who inspire or influence your work? What aspects of their style or approach do you admire?

My inspiration has always been Larry Chen, the renowned automotive photographer and Canon ambassador for action photography. I admire his dramatic shots, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and the overall storytelling in his work. I strive to emulate this storytelling approach in my own photography, capturing not just the cars but the entire event: the team behind the car, spectators in funny hats, and marshals waving flags. It’s all part of the story.

How do you tackle photography while also taking care of your son Cody in karting?

Balancing my son’s karting career with my photography is incredibly tough, as both demand significant time and passion. It’s difficult to manage, but prioritizing is essential, and for me, my son comes first. I try to balance both activities, but it isn’t easy. Attending a motorsport event in the late afternoon after a morning practice session isn’t efficient for me; I prefer to dedicate the entire day to one activity.

If there’s a motorsport event on Sunday, I’ll be there from the morning, just as I am for karting practice. People often don’t realize the amount of time photography requires—not just shooting but also the hours or even days spent editing and perfecting photos. Despite the challenges, I make every effort to attend events I’m invited to photograph.

Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring motorsport photographers and videographers looking to break into the industry?

Do it with passion or not at all. If you’re in it just for the money, this isn’t the path for you. The true rewards come in the form of experiences, a sense of pride, and accomplishment.


If you want to be featured on our website, make sure to submit your racing moments and celebrate your results!

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