10 Car Photography Tips

Taking eye-gazing shots of cars can be a particularly hard task, especially for those with little to no photography skills. However, even the simplest of tricks can develop a better photoshoot and boost your photo-taking skills within minutes. In this article, we’ll offer you 10 of our most popular car photography tips to help take the best photos of cars to impress your friends and family.

1. Assemble Your Gear

The most important car photography tip is to make sure you have the proper gear. When you’re setting up the camera of choice for your shoots, make sure you are shooting in the raw format style. This way you can get rid of highlights, shadows, and other blemishes in your perfect photos. It may seem overkill at the time, but you’ll thank yourself when you’re editing.

Another great idea to keep in mind: a tripod is a great piece of equipment to invest in. Not only will it help give your camera more support with less shaking, but you can also shoot with longer exposures for night shoots.

If you plan to do photoshoots of your personal car make sure the outer and interior are as clean as possible. Don’t add mud or exterior dirt until you get to your photo shoot setting to make sure your car fits in as much as possible. However, don’t forget the paper towels at home. You don’t want to be driving around in a car that looks like it just had a mud bath.

camera and tripod on beach
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2. Decide on a Location

This is one of the most crucial car photography tips. Deciding on the perfect location for your car photoshoot may be one of the trickiest things to set up depending on how busy or how far away the location is. However, it’s vital to keep in mind that the environment has to match your model. For example, if you’re looking for a more modern sleeker car, you would opt in for the city. The Photographing a jeep or car with an exclusive all-wheel drive? You should opt in for a forest or mountain type setting for the shoot to headline its features.

3. Choose Your Time Accurately

Pay attention to the time of day your shoot. Some of the best times to shoot is a few minutes before or after sunrise/sunset. This tends to be one of the easiest mistakes to make for amateur photographers and can mess up your entire shoot. Also, don’t forget your tripod if you’re looking to include the sunrise or sunset in your photo, this way you can align the shot more precisely.

foggy bmw suv
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4. Improve Your Angled Shots

Getting the perfect angled shot can be tricky, especially if the car you’re photographing isn’t your own. However, one of the best car photography tips is to place your camera at lower levels to give your photos a more dramatic shot of the car. Also, taking an angled picture of the front of the car is another common photographer trick. This way you can get the grille, hood, and front of the car all in one shot. Of course, photoshop is always another option, but this can get you a unique photo overall.

5. Look Out For Reflections

The next car photography tips talk all about reflections. The last thing you want when you look back on the photos from your recent shoot are reflections caught on the windows or doors of the car you photographed. Especially cars that were recently polished, you’re more than likely to catch a glimpse of yourself in the after shot.

The best way to combat this is to use a tripod and timer with your camera. This way you can angle only the tripod and camera out of the shot while setting a timer to make sure your own body is out of the way before it finally snaps a picture.

wet classic car
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6. Pan Your Camera For More Action

Panning your camera means moving it so that you keep your subject in the frame. In this case, the subject is your car and it will be driving past you. While the action may sound simple, this type of shot takes a lot of time to perfect.

The mistake most people make when taking this shot is setting their shutter speed to be too fast. Taking a picture of a car in motion with a fast shutter speed of 1/1,000 second will simply make the car look like it is frozen in the middle of the road. Here are tips for car photography, set your shutter speed slower, 1/180 second. As you pan the camera, the car will remain sharp and in focus, while the background becomes blurred.

Doing this will bring a sense of motion and drama to your photos. This way, it will look like the car is speeding past. To maximize your time, set your camera to burst mode. This will let you take a lot of shots at once, increasing the chance that at least one of them will come out how you want it to.

7. Pay Attention To The Details

True, it is important to capture your car from a range of different angles. However, you don’t want to forget about the details of your car that make it so unique. Get some close-up shots to showcase some of the key details.

On the outside of the car, look for unique details. Perhaps your car has a dual exhaust vent that looks cool. Or a V8 badge that lets people know the kind of power the engine has. You also don’t want to forget the main badge. Oftentimes, these badges are as iconic as the actual car. Take close up photos of all these nice details.

You should also pay close attention to the interior. Try to look for things that make your car stand out like wood panels, hand stitched details or anything else that may peak someone’s interest. This is one of the most important classic car photography tips.

red firebird closeup
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8. Nighttime Shoots

These are a few tips on car photography for night shoots. Taking stunning photos at night may seem like an overwhelming task, but it is actually easier than you may think. The trick is to find a spot that is completely dark. Try to find an area with streetlights and watch out for moonlight. Once you have located this spot, set your camera up on your tripod. It is recommended that you set your ISO to 100, the aperture to f/9, and the shutter speed to 30 seconds. Another trick is using light from a flashlight to paint your car. Walk around the car with the flashlight and begin painting the car with light in different ways. This will give you different effects in the images, and plenty of options to choose from.

9. Action Shots

This is one of the greatest car photography tips for stand-out shots. After all, one of the best ways to show off what your car can do is by taking photos while it is in motion. A great way to do this is by shooting it from another moving car. Take photos out the window of the car. It is best to get somebody else to drive while you focus on taking pictures. Keep the car driving at 40 mph and change your shutter speed to be 1/100th of a second. This will give you photos a little bit of movement on both the road and the wheels.

speeding mini cooper
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10. Practice Makes Perfect

This is one of the most ultimate car photography tips. As with most anything, the only way to get better is through hard work and practice. The more pictures you take in a variety of environments and conditions, the more you will learn and the better you will get. Spend time playing around with the lighting and panning for action shots. With each picture taken, you will improve. Sooner or later, you will become a total expert.

Conclusion

Hopefully, our car photography tips could help you get a better idea on how to take improved pictures of cars. Now, you will be able to take awe-inspiring photos of modern and classic automobiles that you can post on your own portfolio or work for others. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and start shooting!

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