Akira Themed Grom Shoot for Super Street Magazine – Houston Automotive Photography

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Another feature in Super Street Magazine??  The shoot was done back in October of 2016 and the release of the feature is in the ‘Honda’ July 2017 Issue.  This post will be kind of a behind the scenes of the Akira themed Grom shoot.  If you’re looking for the write up of the feature, you can find the online Super Street article here:  http://www.superstreetonline.com/features/1705-2015-honda-grom-the-gromance-is-real/.  




If you haven’t watched the dystopian cyberpunk animated movie, Akira (1988), you’re missing out.  Just kidding, kinda.  The most popular movies from the 80’s seemed to be concentrated around the science fiction genre (i.e. Blade Runner, Back to the Future, Aliens, Star Wars, etc.) and Akira falls under this category but  in the cyberpunk sub genre.  (I blame Johnp of the Ricebox for introducing this sub genre to me)

Cyberpunk or dystopic styles have a warm greenish/cool tones or colors.  This is an example found on google of ‘Cyber Punk’ city.

It’s kind of difficult to find a good location displaying this type of theme, but if you look around, some areas could work.  For example, the parking area of Paper Co coffee / Ecclesia.  It’s a good open area with a good view of downtown Houston in the background.   An ideal location would be some alley in Hong Kong or NYC so if anyone wants a shoot in those cities, let me know!  Backplates would be a another good option but I’m not too great at compositing images yet…

Another example of a dystopic city of the future… 



The image build up for that shot.  Pretty much your standard light paint and compositing different layers of light into the final image below.  Then adjust colors for greenish cool blues and some warm highlights.

Superstreet magazine jennifer nguyen honda grom houston tx dtphan

The final image.  An even more ideal spot would have been an alley with skyline of Houston in the background and a bunch of neon lights, but this will do.

I really should’ve taken a few more shots there, but didn’t think too much of it at the time because it was getting late. Pro tip: Always plan your shots and locations ahead of time.  I took too long scouting locations during the shoot and ran out of time.  I’m a terrible scouter/planner.  Lesson learned though.

For the next few shots, we decided to do some downtown statics and rolling shots….

honda grom superstreet magazine jennifer nguyen

My lens of choice was the ultra wide angle Tamron 17-35 f4.  Not the sharpest lens in the world, but it gets the job done and is inexpensive.  The toughest part of the rolling shots was hanging from the back of the truck bed without any harnesses or stabilization.  Out of the hundred or so shots, I maybe got a good dozen frames. 

superstreet magazine akira themed shoot jennifer nguyen

I believe we started the shoot around 9PM and it was already getting to be 11:30PM during this frame…

roller honda grom jennifer nguyen superstreet magazine

We couldn’t go too fast because the Grom was somewhat low and parts of the street had pot holes… also I didn’t want to fall off the truck bed. 

akira themed honda grom superstreet magazine dtphan

Definitely wish I could redo this ‘Akira’ movie poster style shot because it needed to be at a higher angle….

If you are attempting this shot, you have to be up pretty high.  The truck I was standing on top of wasn’t stable either so it was hard getting a good exposure without camera shake….

We actually ran out of time for that day of the shoot for detail shots so decided to do it in Ray’s garage…

jennifer nguyen honda grom dtphan

This photo wasn’t submitted to SuperStreet in time to be published… mainly because I was too busy at the time to work on it.


I definitely learned from this shoot of how to plan better and to create a more ‘dystopic’/cyberpunk style… kinda.  Planning something in the future related to ‘Bladerunner‘ so that should be a fun shoot.

If anyone has ideas for a shoot and would like to collaborate/partner, let me know!  I’m always for hire as well.

Shout out to Ray for helping with the shoot.

Danh Phan


  1. Danh!! I freaking love your website/photography please make a LR tutorial on how you did the photo layering and editing for the CyberPunk/Outrun Grom! Definitely know a lot of people would watch it!

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