No matter where you’re from, chances are that the car scene you’re familiar with is full of wannabe photographers that slap on a watermark and call it a day. Once in a while though you come across someone like Ricky Rigutto, a real photographer that does more than just point and shoot. Ricky has real talent and just gets it. He knows that it takes passion and sacrifice to achieve greatness, and even sold his beloved S14 to get a kick start into the photography game. Ricky is one of the best-known automotive photographers in the Australian scene, and after seeing his work first hand (he shoots our NSW feature cars) it’s not hard to see why.

We sat down with Ricky to find out how he found a foothold in the industry, get his perspective on automotive photography, and gain some valuable advice for upcoming photographers.

So who is Ricky Rigutto?
Who am I? I’m not sure I know that yet haha. I’m a 26 year old guy from Western Sydney who works a hectic day job in Asset Finance with CBA and spends most of my spare time shooting and editing automotive photography, listening to music and hanging out with the Mrs.

What do you drive?
My daily drive is a 2015 Audi S3. I’ve only had it for a few months now but really enjoying it, they’re an awesome car. Let’s just hope nothing breaks on it HA! On the odd weekend, i’ll take out my 1970 Impala for a small cruise with the Mrs.

When did the love of cars and photography come together? How and when did you get started?
Cars has been a passion ever since I can remember, it’s all I thought about growing up really. I’ve never been a mechanically minded person AT ALL, but I enjoy looking at cars and love driving them.

I had an R32 GTR a few years back and no one would ever take any photos of it at meets. Eventually, I decided I’d just buy my own camera and take my own photos. I started with a little Sony NEX6, it was an awesome all round start up bit of gear.

Shortly after the GTR, I spent way too much money on an S14 which i sold a year later to upgrade all my camera equipment. I’ve probably been taking photos for just over 4 years now.

I don’t think my camera has ever taken a JPEG photo haha!

What for you is the most enjoyable part of shooting cars?
I’d have to say meeting great, like minded people, and of course getting to ride in some crazy ass cars! (the Live-Fast S15 included haha) I kind of enjoy almost everything about shooting cars really, probably easier to say what I don’t enjoy…

Can you describe your shooting style?
I’d say my idea of a nice photo is ‘plain and simple’. I like minimalism (although this can be a very hard style to capture in Sydney) and keeping things as clean as possible. I spend endless hours editing out little rocks and marks on the ground, parking lines and literally almost anything my photoshop skills will allow. I think when you’re shooting a car, you need to make it the main focus. I try to have as little distractions in the frame as possible.

What gear are you shooting with? What’s your favorite lens?
I’m shooting with a trusty Canon 5D MKIII, 70-200 2.8, 17-40 F4, a Nicefoto strobe and a couple of Yongnuo Speedlights. Pretty simple stuff.

Do you have any creative influences? Is there anyone in particular that you look back to regularly for inspiration?
Probably too many haha, and although they provide me with inspiration, they often make me think about where I’m going wrong! Locally, I’d say probably Jordan Leist, Matthew Everingham, Ben Hosking and Troy Barker produce some awesome work that I love looking at.

I’m a big fan, as are many others of Pepper Yandell, Jeremy Cliff, GFWilliams, Anthony Ross Tyler. I can keep going on and on but I’ll stop there.

What techniques do you use in your post production? Is there much work involved in your photos, or is it simply just small adjustments?
I wouldn’t say it’s just small adjustments but I also don’t spend hours and hours on one photo like some of the pro’s do. I usually start with some minor adjustments in Lightroom, export to Photoshop and blend all the different exposures. I clone out any imperfections, bit of dodge and burn and finish with some colour grading.

What’s your favourite car that you’ve shot?
I definitely cannot answer this… I can maybe give a top 5? 1: Blown HG Holden Monaro (FAT G) was just an insane car to shoot and to just be around. When that thing fired up, you could just hear and feel every bit of the 1800hp. 2: Steve’s Pro charged (LAUNCH) was an experience as well. One because it was my first feature shoot for a magazine (RIP Forged), and two because Steve decided to take me for a quick spin (in Mexico) and that was just an unexplainable experience.

3: A Blown 68 Dodge Charger. This would have to be my dream muscle car, I was in awe the whole time whilst shooting this. 4: Travis’ Dually – I got to shoot this (I don’t even really know what it was haha) on my holiday a couple of years back in the US in Nevada. Location wise, heaven for automotive photography. 5: Nico’s old LP640 Murcielago. I’m a big Lamborghini fan and got to shoot this in a pretty cool location AND go for a drive in it, what a car… and what a sound!

What’s your dream car?
Let’s go with dream garage? 68 Charger, 59 Impala and a couple of supercars.

What keeps you motivated?
I guess just the enjoyment I get out of it. I really haven’t spent too much time in the last few years trying to improve my work and get more creative but it would be nice to put some time aside in the future.

What are you working on at the moment?
I’ve had constant work with Rolling Stock, some rad guys who sell some fancy wheels (also tyres, parts and more). Shooting some stuff for a couple of Magazines like Forged and Survivor Car and just a couple of private shoots as well. Oh, and of course some features for the mad dogs over at Live-Fast.

What advice would you offer upcoming talent looking to get into the industry?
Shoot as much as you can and just keep trying a bunch of different things, see what works and what doesn’t. YouTube has a tonne of really good channels to learn some basic post processing (I lived on Phlearn for a while) so make use of that. Lastly, Facebook has a bunch of automotive photography pages – post your stuff, take in the criticism and develop your style from there.