Photographing Talent with Cars

'Wheels & Heels' Getting the Best Shot with an Automobile
Lets talk about photographing a subject with a car. It is always a challenge when trying to capture a subject with a car. Of course unless you are in a large studio with all controlled lighting you must deal with different light sources outside. 
There are many factors to contend with. Here are a few: bright sunlight & direction of the light, high gloss reflection from the car, color of the car, the background location that car is sitting at & most important the different light sources. 
When I know that I'm using and auto in my shoot I really try and plan the shoot way in advance. 
With this shoot that I did with super-model Joanna Krupa days in advance I found out what color/type of car, my location and the time of day I was going to do the shoot. I also wanted to find a location that had a high background behind the car so I did not have to deal with a full sky in the back. 
Here is what I did for the below photo.

First I found a location that had a bit of a hill in the background although it was the right height I would have really liked it to be more green or some sort of color but I was limited with the brown dry brush. 
Next I made sure I shot at around 3pm in the afternoon and the sunlight was behind the car and created broken light through the trees. After I got the car at the correct angle I started to set my strobes. Basically for this shot I used three light sources 
1. main strobe for Joanna 
2. small strobe outside passenger side window to get a lower back-light on Joanna and give a nice highlight 
3. small strobe off to Joanna's right side near the front of the car pointed at the right side of Joanna. 
For this shoot the camera was Nikon D800 settings f/11 exposure 1/160 sec ISO 1000 focal length 70mm 
When I start setting my exposures the first thing I look at is my background and make sure I'm set to not over or under expose. After I get my background settings I work on front lighting for talent. As you can see I have a very even light source in the front as Joanna was showing lots of skin. In situation like this you need to keep the light source even as you will start to see different colors in the skin from head to feet.  Once I'm happy with my talent light source then I will fill with my back and accent lights. I like to use smaller strobes with less power as they are easier to hide and control. With this car there was not much reflection happening so I was okay with the little bit that was showing the blue sky on the side panel it added a little color to the shot. 
If you look really close at the shot you will see nice highlights and accents from the small strobes and they really make a difference. 
Now that I have my base canvas I can really amp things up in post. I was very happy with this shoot and the way all the photos turned out. 
I hope this helps and gives you a little more understanding about using autos as props in shoots. Most times people look at a photo and not really dissect what might have gone into getting that shot. - Peace keep shooting - Christopher