AIMGAIN x Lexus: Andrew Kwong’s IS-F – Now BAGGED

OK I finally have a few minutes to spare to do a write up on this shoot a few weeks ago I did with Andrew. He finally did it… He finally bagged his IS-F and it looks fan-fucking-tastic. It’s literally the icing on the cake for his VIP build and it’s just too good. When you look at a VIP car, it’s easy to say – well that’s just wheels and a drop and maybe a nice lip kit but underneath it all, there’s a lot of work (and money) that has to go into getting it to look like that and I think that’s why VIP builds are a little underrated at times.

Anyway, here’s the shoot we did last year around this time prior to him having his suspension all dialed in if you want to compare:

AIMGAIN x Lexus: Andrew Kwong’s IS-F

It’s a night and day difference, really and it’s too bad a lot of the cool components that really cost the most are invisible to the naked eye because it’s all tucked underneath…

So good. It’s tough finding a really nice bagged car these days…

A little hint at what’s underneath is shown in his lug nuts… Any guesses?

A little closer… The orange might be a giveaway if you recognize it.

T-Demand lug nuts and there’s some T-Demand suspension components underneath as well. Too awesome.

The sun was setting at just the right time for us that day so it made for awesome shots.

That tuck.

Even the ass shot looks so much better sitting low to the ground.

Andrew mentioned he’s going to work on dialing in the fitment down the road to look less sunken, so we’ll see what he comes up with…

Special guest appearance – the FIT! hahaha I’ll have a blog post on the Fit down the road. I did manage to capture some shots of it while we were out.

A closer look at the T-Demand lug nuts.  I don’t typically like orange, but I do love the T-Demand orange…

Good to see he’s still looking back at it. Means he’s not selling anytime soon LOL

Side profile looking good…

Reflections everywhere that night.

We ended up randomly driving around and finding this sweet spot by accident and captured the sun just at the right time.

And just over the edge is a little lake. The closest we’ll get to some water-type photos LOL

Had to capture the T-demand decal though…

Carbon fender garnish…

And to end it off, we just snuck into a little loading dock to get some last photos…

Finish! I bet next year, there will be another photoshoot update LOL! I don’t think I’ve ever done this many photoshoots with new updates with any car other than mine hahaha

Quickie Group-R Shoot

Almost forgot to post this set. A few weeks back, a bunch of Type R owners were asked to get together to do a group shoot and I guess I was one of the lucky winners of that lottery.

I decided to take my own camera and get some shots whenever I could just for the memz. Not a whole lot as I wasn’t feeling too inspired that day but at least it’s better than nothing. Also bonus – we were shooting outside of some huge loading bays when one of the guys that built the place came up and asked us if we wanted to go in and shoot.

These are just some shots from inside there. Too cool.

That backlighting though…
There ended up being 4 of us in total. Myself, Tiegan (red Type R), @boostbluefk8 (ahh I can’t remember your name!) and Mirwaiss (yellow LE Type R). A nice skittle-themed shoot for sure.
It was so fresh in there… Leaving that AD08R mark behind…
And just a few randoms. Still wasn’t really feelin’ it but I liked the spot. I think if I had positioned a little differently, it would’ve worked better.
Last one as a test image. I’ve been trying to add noise to some of my pics to add some grit to it and a different vibe. I dig it.

Back to Basics – Shooting with Sai.Jung and a Little Update

Oh man oh man… I’ve really dropped the ball on this lately. What’s been going on?

It’s not that I haven’t had any content, I just haven’t had time (and maybe motivation) to post much on here. A lot of my time in the last several months has been spent really just working on JTooned stuff. I’ve been slammed with toons and I just can’t seem to keep up. It’s not a bad problem to have at all and I’m not complaining, but it’s just one of those things that eat away hours that prevent me from doing much of anything else.

I’ve shut down the store for a little bit – think of it as a hiatus – because of the same problem I mentioned above… I haven’t really had time to work on new merchandise or art for the store so I’d rather not have it sit stagnant. It could be a few months or even forever that it’s on hiatus LOL! One day when I think of something new, it’ll come back again!

Other than that, we’ve been busy getting ready for the new crib – perhaps I’ll make a separate post on that one day. Since we sold last year in August, we’ve been staying with my parents in the basement for the last 9ish months and we’ve got just a little over a month left until the house is completed and we are STOKED. Living at home is great and all – home cooked meals, the nice company and the kids love being spoiled, but at some point – you gotta get back into your own groove and live on your own again.

Now onto a little mini photoshoot! Sam had posted on his story on Friday asking if anyone wanted to shoot and I thought why not! I’ve been inspired by Sam and his shoots lately so I thought that maybe this was an opportunity for me to come out and give the ol’ college try again. I haven’t really shot anything seriously for a looooong time. The most I had done in the last year or so was go out and shoot my own car when the Mugen kit was on but it was just meh and mainly to show off the kit. I never put much thought into the location and it was always just close to home because that was as far as I was willing to travel to do a mini shoot LOL.

We met up and he found this really cool corner that gave off this Japanese/industrial vibe with the way the trees, wood and old tires were piled up. Looked pretty dope. The only challenge was that it was literally mid day with the harsh sun beaming down on us – the car is white, the wheels are dark bronze, it’s like everything that made it difficult to shoot that day was present.

One of the things that I’m all for lately is colour grading – you’ve seen it in my recent posts too and I’m still really digging it. Colour manipulation is a really cool thing but it’s also a really fine line – it’s easy to overdo it but really cool if you can get it right. I might be a little bit of both because I’m still the noob trying to find my way.

Just starting off here. No colour grading here – just gives you a sense of what the colours looked like that day.
Here is kind of where I started. I find when you’re in conditions that don’t really work out, colour grading helps to bring everything together again. In this case, the harsh light can make it tough to get your colours right. Colour grading and enhancing (or removing) certain elements can help. Lately, I’m really digging hue changing the greens and desaturating them giving them a little softer look versus the bright greens/yellows that are normally on display.
I like sharpness but sometimes softness is a good ally as well. Bright harsh sun can be combatted with the softness colours and bokeh can bring.
Here’s one where I left a little more saturation in the green and you can tell it’s a little more in your face but also a little more harsh. Just a tint more and it can change the picture pretty dramatically.
One of the things that I really love is some strong prime lens bokeh. This was one of the main reasons I chose to shoot with a 35mm f1.4. This is my only lens – it works perfect for shooting kids, family, cars, detail shots, etc. When you can get it right, the creamy 1.4 bokeh can really create a softness that you can’t achieve otherwise without artificially adding it. The back is soft and mellow, the desaturated green is calm and light and it really helps the car just be bold and stand out.
I particularly liked the shadows on the green being cast by the tree above.
Might have overdid this one LOL!
Lots of cool reflections here. Another thing that I’ve been playing around with is adding grain/noise to my photos. Not a whole bunch but just enough to kind of give it a retro look. Easy to see here if you look closely enough. Noise is one of those things that I tried to avoid in my early days – it felt like you were a bad photographer if you had noise either because your ISO was way up and you didn’t post process it out or cause it was just a shitty shot. It’s taken me a long time to just barely understand how to use noise to my advantage.
Here’s some with a little bit of a warmer edit.
Still love those FK8 lines…
Now if only we had cherry blossoms, this would’ve been perfect…
Here are two edits with different colour grades that I couldn’t decide on. This one was heavy on the blues and teals…
This one I removed a lot of the heavy blues/teals and brought in the oranges and yellows to make it warmer. The warmer shot really makes it feel like a champ white car basking in the sun while the cooler one is just kind of artificial looking.
Oh I also brought Aria with me because she wanted to tag along lol. She hasn’t been on a “photoshoot” before so she was really curious as to what was going on or what we were going to be doing. Asking if we were going to Sam’s house or where are we going to play. She ended up just playing with the stick and dirt most of the time LOL
God, I can’t get enough of that bokeh.
Harsh lighting…
She also chooses to wear socks with shoes that don’t need socks…
Last one to finish it off. The slope of the wall compliments the cars angle perfectly. I didn’t even notice it until I was editing hahaha

Two Type R’s // Two Different Worlds Photoshoot

It’s been a minute since I’ve been on an actual photoshoot… Haven’t been doing a whole bunch lately since we’ve been focusing a lot on life outside of cars. I know right? It exists. With COVID and working from home the last few months, it’s really given me a lot of time to just do things I wouldn’t normally prioritize. Focus on art and drawing, focus on family time, focus on making life better. As a result, the car gets less road time and I’m perfectly fine with that right now.

Anyway, enough with the boring… Tiegan messaged me earlier in the week asking if I was down to do a double shoot. I really didn’t know much about Tiegan – we are what you call “instagram friends” as I’m sure most of you are familiar with. I figured this would be a good chance to take the Type R out somewhere to get some good pics finally and get some shots of Tiegan’s car while we’re at it!

You’ll notice pretty damn quickly that Tiegan’s car and my car are of two very different vibes. While mine is pretty simple and just Mugen spec’d to be a family friendly hauler, Tiegan on the other hand has hers looking ready to hit the track and/or even an anime convention! She’s put a lot of personality into her car and you’ll see it through the pics for sure.

I was even able to convince the almighty @Deborja (AKA David) to come out and take some pics as well. David is and has been one of my favourite all-around photographers in the past year and he just seems to keep leveling up and creating awesome content. I won’t say much now about him and I’ll save it for when he sends me his shots from the shoot and I’ll post it at a later date. In the meantime, you get to see my ghetto shots and look forward to his in due time…

David brought us out to some awesome spots to get some of the Fall colours and it didn’t disappoint. It took me a while to figure out how I wanted to set the mood on the photos with Tiegan’s car versus my car. Two different colour cars set two different moods and for Tiegan, I decided to go with a “Pumpkin Spice Latte” look to really expose the Fall colours to match the red of her Type R.

We shot in the middle of the day with some harsh sun coming down giving it a really bright and sunny look to things. The red pops nicely in front of all the fall foliage.

She’s currently sitting on stockies until her new wheels get here…

A shot of her Nero Claudius livery from the Fate/Grand Order anime.

My go-to lately is really trying to take advantage of the foreground to bring in some extra textures to shots. I really dig using perspectives to give a different feel.

Here is where you’ll kind of see evidence of my colour manipulation – something I’ve really been trying to play with and master this year. Also something that can easily be abused to the point that pictures look too fake. I’m teetering on that medium and I decided not to remove all the green in shots of my car because the green made it work better.

The umber bronze on the Advan GT’s was enough to compliment the Fall colours and I thought that was enough to balance it all out.

Here is where I played a little less with the colours as the trees in the back did look pretty good as is. Very October-ish.

This was a first. Tiegan, took a quick polaroid snapshot of my car. Her version of a photoshoot, I suppose! Pretty rad.

Out in the middle of nowhere

Some more PSL colours for you

As David was taking shots of Tiegan’s car, I ended up just taking random shots over in the corner…

Same here lol

Tiegan’s Type R sunbathing…

This was interesting because there’s just so much going on in this shot but the colours intrigued me enough to keep it.

David directing…

Booty.

One of the more unique pieces in Tiegan’s car were the custom forged carbon and 24k gold flake interior trim pieces. These were made specifically for her as a one of one I believe at first, so she would be the first to have them until others order them again.

Close up shot of the detail…

Paired with a red carbon Mugen knob.

Looked really dope!

David capturing a shot of the two…

My take on the double shot…

With Tiegan up front this time…

Really loving these colours right now – probably won’t last long…

Lurking.

And one last rendition of the two – where I shot at something other than f1.4 LOL

Bada bing bada boom!