It's Not Easy Being One Of The World's Greatest Car Photographers

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Screenshot: Zack Paris (YouTube)

You know his stuff. If you’ve ever see photos from a Formula Drift event or a Pikes Peak Hill Climb, you’ve seen Larry Chen’s work. Chen is a professional automotive photographer and he’s one of the best in the business. This is his story.


In a new, mini documentary that explores Chen’s work and life, you learn about a surprising amount of things that go on behind his camera. Chen always loved cars, but quickly learned that he was better at shooting them that he was at driving them. So, he devoted his life to photographing them.

It wasn’t easy. Starting out as a professional photographer is hard and there were a lot of nights on the job where he slept on different floors of different hotels for one event. Oftentimes, he pays for travel to events out of pocket.

But his work more than speaks for itself. Just click through his website or scroll down his Instagram to see for yourself. There are shots there that amateur photographers like myself can only dream of getting.

It comes at a price, though, and I’m not talking about high costs of photography equipment, either.

“I think from the first photograph that I took ‘til now, like how I got so far, I think a lot of it comes down to sacrifice,” Chen says. “I’ve sacrificed my life for this job. I sacrificed my health, I sacrificed time with family. I have two kids, I barely see them, I barely see my wife. I don’t even hang out with friends anymore because every waking moment I’m either spending time with my family or doing my job.

“I’m not content with just sitting at home and watching TV and just letting time go by,” he continues. “I wanna be out there, driving cars, shooting, just enjoying car culture. I don’t feel alive if I’m not doing it... Once people stop looking at this stuff, I guess that’s when I’ll stop.”

(h/t to Paulo!)


Then Something New

The other part that’s not covered in that video is that this dude is spending immense amounts of time giving back to the automotive photography community.

He worked with Canon this year to host a photoshoot at a racetrack and at the unacessible Petersen vault. Here’s some of my photos from that event. 

I signed up for both, spent in total $500 to use all the Canon gear and really learn his technique for capturing these photos. Larry really is a gift to this community.

As a heads up he’s putting together another one that’s going to take place at Magnus Walker’s garage. If you want to be a part of it follow his instagram and buy tickets when you see it pop up in his story. They sell out in under 24 hours.