It has been said, “the camera can add 10 pounds”. While the camera can’t generally make a car look larger, properly photographing the damage is important. It can even be deceiving at times. Depending on the angle and light the picture is taken at, defects in the paint may or may not be captured. Included is the focal point, you can focus on a different “level” of the paint and not necessarily capture the defects in the clear.
Photos can be Deceiving
Here I took a side shot of a trunk. The far side of the trunk looks fairly good, with one or two scratches or swirls in it. This isn’t what I wanted to capture.
I was trying to capture the real damage in the paint. The same panel then got a shot from a different angle; I was then able to capture the real damage to the clear coat.
Best Photography Practice
Ideally you want to look for pictures from identical angles. Here is a great shot showing a before.
Then showing an after of correction. Notice how it is almost an identical picture. I kept the camera at the same angle using the same light. Both can adjust what you see in the paint.
Always check out all of the pictures a detailer posts online, if something looks off, it probably is. I do not use photoshop for any of my pictures; they get uploaded to flickr or photobucket, and then posted. “Touch ups” to me are not allowed, that can give a false sense of correction to clients.
As always thanks for looking, Greg Gellas. Please leave any thoughts, comments or questions below.
When it comes to paint correction and achieving the best possible finish on a vehicle, we all know there is no magic combination that works every single time. If there was, many product manufacturers would be out of business and professional detailers would not get paid as much for their services. I created a recent detailing survey to find out if there were any commonalities between detailers. Sure enough there was. This will be the first article in a series relating to those survey results.
Is the Rotary Era Truly Dead
When the question was asked, “What polisher / buffer do you turn to the most when correcting paint imperfections?”, of the professional detailers who completed the survey, 88% of them said they do not turn to a rotary buffer. This isn’t to say that many of them don’t own a rotary buffer or use it as needed, it is merely saying that it’s not the first one they grab for paint correction. When asked to name the polisher or buffer used to finish a vehicle, over 95% of the detailers answered with a dual action or random orbital machine. This makes sense to me as rotary buffers have a much higher potential of leaving holograms and haze in the paint. Not to mention, a much higher chance of burning the paint or trim due to the high spin speed of a rotary buffer.
A current product that seems to be tailored to the rotary market are denim and velvet pads designed to remove orange peel from the paint. There are also a variety of other reasons why you want to keep a rotary around, so don’t just give up on them yet!
Rupes Bigfoot Polishers Leading The Pack
RUPES Bigfoot Polishers are indeed the leading machines detailers turn to first when either correcting or finishing the paint. Of those who completed the survey, just over 50% said they use a RUPES buffer as their go-to machine. A little more than 25% of professionals turn to the Griot’s Garage buffer, Porter Cable 7424XP, or Meguiar’s DA machine. The remaning 20% of completed answers were split between other DA units, Flex 3401VRG or rotary buffers.
Buffers for Small and Tight Spaces
Correcting and polishing small and hard to reach areas has always been something that separates a good detailer from a great one. The most common ways to tackle these areas are to change to a smaller backing plate and pad combination, use a buffer dedicated to small and tight spaces or simply polish the area by hand. The detailers were asked if they have a specific machine dedicated for tight and small areas and if so, name which one. Around 30% of the detailers who replied do not have a dedicated machine for tight areas. The remaining detailers who answered that they do have a dedicated machine had a variety of evenly distributed responses. The 3 most common answers detailers gave were they change out the backing plate to a smaller size, the Griot’s Garage 3″ polisher or the Rupes LHR75 pneumatic random orbital polisher. Electric options (Griot’s 3″ polisher and backing plate change) accounted for 65% of the answers where 35% of detailers turn to a polisher that requires an air compressor (RUPES LHR75, RUPES TA50, Dynabrade 57126, Mirka MR-30 3″ Rotary) to power them.
Polisher and Buffer Observations
Professional detailers have shifted away from rotary polishing, a skill that takes years of dedication to master, and now resorting to safer alternatives that produce the same, if not better, results. When it comes to some advanced paintwork correction, such as orange peel removal and chasing deep imperfections, rotary buffers still have their place. The RUPES buffer is the latest in polisher technology by utilizing it’s long throw to produce safe, fast and effective results. This is the current go-to choice of professionals. Most professionals have a buffer dedicated to small areas, some that go down as small as 2″ pads. This allows for maximum correction and finish in the hardest areas. Next up with be an article continuing on to pad and product selection. Thanks for reading, please leave any comments below.
Detailing in colder climates is one thing that always comes up in blogs and forums. Where to go for washing? What products to use? How to wash without a garage? And many other questions are asked day in day out.
Having lived in Chicago for over 15 years, I’ve come to learn quite a bit about dealing with the cold weather while trying to take care of your prized possession.
Three key tips for winter detailing
I believe the main thing is a finding good location for car washing and detailing, whether it’s a local shop that lets you wash the car there, a heated home garage or a local hand wash place that utilizes your own quality products. Read more…
This article is aimed at car enthusiasts who wish to purchase some quality car detailing products and take good care of their vehicle. With the overwhelming selection available these days both online and in local automotive stores, it can be extremely difficult to find products that will deliver good results. Many times this search for products becomes wasteful through the process of trial and error, so I’m hoping these few general tips will help those who are trying to find the right products without wasting too much time and/or money.
The Best Car Detailing Products Aren’t Always the Newest Ones
First off, one of the biggest mistakes people make is shopping for the latest and best products. Read more…
Before we answer the question, what is a polish, let us first get a basic understanding on why someone would want to use a polish. The most common reason to polish paint is to remove defects in the finish, such as swirl marks, scratches, water spots and other blemishes. These imperfections in the finish will cause the paint to look dull, muted, hazy, as well as create an impression that the paint is not properly cared for. Swirl marks are often the most common form of imperfection and can be easily detected on darker colors when exposed to a light source.
As you can see from the picture, the imperfections are an eye sore! All of those fine scratches, or swirl marks, are dips and valleys on the painted surface. Read more…
This isn’t going to be much of a post, but I just wanted to share a picture of 22ple VX1 coating beading water. This was only a couple of weeks after application, so it won’t speak much for the products durability (which I’m eager to see how long it holds up). The 22ple VX1 does show nice round beads that are being pushed off of the surface. This is a good indication of water repellency and is usually the look you want to see from your protection. The water seemed to run off the vehicle very easily. If this is the type of beading I can expect for a year or more, then I’d say this product is a winner. Time will tell on that though!
A clay bar was once a secret held by professional detailers and car dealerships. Now, you can find a clay bar kit in just about any automotive car care isle you walk down. Let’s take a minute to explain what a clay bar does for an enthusiast and give you a basic understanding of how to clay a car.
What is a clay bar & why would you use one?
An automotive clay bar is made of a synthetic polymer that is often elastic in nature. The elasticity of a clay bar allows you to mold the clay into a usable shape. It also allows you to kneed the clay to expose a fresh clay surface. A clay bar is used in combination with a clay bar lubricant. The lubricant is used to provide a slick surface that the clay glides over. Many quick detailers work as clay bar lubricants, but some work better than others. The action of gliding the clay over a surface will pick up embedded contamination or wear it down so the surface is as smooth as glass.
The most common use for a clay bar is for removing contamination Read more…
Learning how to wash your car properly can turn in a fun hobby to enjoy for years. One of the first things to understand is improperly washing your vehicle can do more harm than good. A majority of swirls, scratches and water spots in your paint come from the washing and drying process. These imperfections are what ultimately dulls your finish! Learning how to wash your car properly, will help you enjoy more shine from your paint. The following tips will give you a few pointers on how to wash your car the proper way. Read more…
Properly cleaning wheels and tires does not have to be a tiresome task when you keep up with a regular maintenance schedule. This post shows you just how easy it is to get your wheels, tires, and wheel wells looking like new with minimal effort. This Infiniti G37x was detailed on August 5th, 2012 and the wheels were protected with a coat of Poorboy’s World Wheel Sealant and two coats of Optimum Opti-Bond tire dressing. Here’s what one wheel looked like after 11 full weeks of daily driving in the northeast (Upstate, NY). Read more…
A lot of automotive enthusiasts get lost in the world of detailing when they first realize that there are thousands of product options and tons of opinions on every forum & car care website. Our goal at Professional Detailing is to make your transition into properly caring for your vehicle simple and easy to understand. We do our best to break down each part of the detailing process into the most fundamental concepts and build upon those as you learn, grow and progress into your new hobby, passion or career.
One of the first things to understand is there are only three possible steps you can use on just about any surface on the vehicle. Each surface may utilize different processes, techniques and products to effectively clean it. Read more…
ProfessionalDetailing.com was created in order to help grow the auto detailing industry, specifically the detailers who make a living doing this. I was the co-founder of Detailed Image back in 2005 and I always put helping detailers as my top priority. My goal is to expose as much of the business aspect of the auto detailing industry as I can. I welcome you to contact me to see how I can personally help you make more money in the auto detailing industry.
Owner of ProfessionalDetailing.com