- 1. Look for inspiration
- 2. Choose a good camera
- 3. Clean and prepare vehicle in advance
- 4. Find appropriate lighting
- 5. Determine your style
- 6. Avoid shooting at eye level
- 7. Play with different locations
- 8. Create right weather
- 9. Shoot vertically
- 10. Take a few test shots
- 11. Include every detail
- 12. Add assisting equipment
- 13. Let the car interact with nature
- 14. Remember rule of thirds
- 15. Be original
- 16. Mind the color
- 17. Keep a tripod with you
- 18. Do not forget about the composition
- 19. Enjoy surface reflections
- 20 Let it fly
- 21. Play on contrasts
- 22. Capture car interior
- 23. Embody your dreams
- 24. Move it all the way
- 25. Fill all the frame
- 26. Dive into the depth of field
- 27. Shoot in a well-equipped studio
- 28. Get involved in post-processing
When you become a happy owner of a brand new sports car from the salon that you have dreamed of for a long time, or gave a new life to an old vintage vehicle, having spent more than one week assembling, repairing and painting, you are overwhelmed with pride. A wish to organize a great car photoshoot is absolutely reasonable. In case you are looking to do something more than just a simple smartphone snapshot, a professional approach is needed. It has to be a unique exciting result, reflecting efforts invested into the car itself. Such images may be also used for advertising or interior decoration for your home and office.
There is plenty of advice to learn, but not always a real photo studio and professional photographers with expensive equipment can guarantee breathtaking albums. In fact, no one knows the best angle to shoot. You are the one who is the target audience and best photo critic. Stop examining secrets and techniques of famous art schools or inscribing to the courses of photographers. Everything you need is just to follow simple tips and you will learn how to photograph cars in a most successful way.
1. Look for inspiration
Before you start your work, it is better to look at professionals online. There are many interesting ideas, which were already used and confirmed to be really appropriate. Why do not you specify the automotive model in the search? In this way you will probably find the results which are suiting more your option. After this little preparation, it will become clear which is the first step to do.
2. Choose a good camera
Every phone will be able to make high-quality pictures, but specialized digital devices, even the most simple one will make them look hundred times better. If you have already decided to sell or rent your vehicle, then pay attention to every detail during automotive photography. Find a good camera or borrow it from friends. It can be a new interesting experience, because taking pics with a professional camera will be much more successful.
Tip: Before you start shooting, study all settings, so you will learn how to obtain professional car photography, adjusting the light, sharpness, ISO and many other tricks that will be useful.
3. Clean and prepare vehicle in advance
Before you start shooting, be sure to wash and clean it up inside and outside. So that such annoying little elements as dirty tires, dust on the glass and other dirt do not spoil your image. It is definitely true that an accurately washed car looks better.
4. Find appropriate lighting
Everyone knows that best results are obtained in the so-called “golden hour”, this is the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset. Sunlight is not so bright and adds warmth and image texture. But even after the sun has gone, you can make impressive shots. It is important not to wait till night, because there are no lights which are able to give enough illumination in darkness.
5. Determine your style
There is a deep understanding of various styles, which suit different autobrands. This is something that human beings have in common with automobiles. For example, red Ferrari looks stunning on a rocky serpentine, Volkswagen Beetle will enjoy the background of a festival, Ford Mustang will successfully popup in front of wooden buildings, and Suzuki loves to be lit by straight neon city lights. The moment you create the plot and find out a specific style, car photography will become a great pleasure for both of you.
6. Avoid shooting at eye level
Despite the fact that such a position is very logical, it is the least suitable angle for automobile photography. It is better to shoot lower the eye level, such images will look original. For an interesting approach, it is good to use a stepladder or buildings. The effect of a picture made from above is very attractive.
7. Play with different locations
Decide in advance where you want to take pictures of your vehicle. Why not to drive out of town to see different landscapes and backgrounds. There is a chance to find a perfect place for the best shot. Excellent snapshots can be obtained with the help of a night city or high rocky mountains, but you can also catch a random frame in the parking during the day or just on the way home in the evening.
8. Create right weather
Shots on a clear sunny morning or in a golden hour, are surely successful. In case you are lucky to experience seasonal storms, do not get upset. There is always a reason to remain positive. First of all you can stay indoors to practice fresh trendy car photography ideas. Otherwise, think of a dreamy foggy picture outdoors in the city or forest, surrounded with the snow. Any weather can give solutions to create something original and eye catching. There is nothing bad in following classic examples, but even beginners are able to start a new trend.
9. Shoot vertically
Vertical images look better on mobile devices. But when you shoot vertically you need to correctly compose the pic, because most objects are still horizontal, for example, roads and cars themselves consist of horizontal lines. Avoid side shots, better take a walk around, looking for a successful angle.
10. Take a few test shots
Nowadays digital technology, memory cards and screens simplify tasks for a photographer, when it comes to control the image. Every image can be improved and retouched immediately. Every time you take a picture just check it on the screen to understand whether the lighting is ok or there are unnecessary light spots in the frame. Choose another camera setting or retouch application to correct small visible errors.
11. Include every detail
Remember that original element which makes your car original, helps you also to distinguish it from others. This may be a salon in unusual colors and textures, individual chrome parts, brand new wheels or a classic panel. Demonstrate this outstanding feature and gain additional points to get exciting feedback.
12. Add assisting equipment
Even if you are not a professional in photography art, there are tools, which make a difference. If you plan to shoot in low light or at night, you should take care of additional light sources or a good flash. Before you start shooting, do not forget to check if there is enough space on the memory card and whether the battery is charged so that such simple things do not spoil your plans.
13. Let the car interact with nature
Learn another way to show what your vehicle is capable of. If you are a happy owner of a four-wheel drive SUV, you must show its beauty in motion. For example, just make it drive through a rocky landscape, showing its capacity to pass over a sandy soil or mud. Keep in mind a small hack, that the most favorable look of such a car is guaranteed when crossing a mountain river.
14. Remember rule of thirds
This is one of the main rules and is based on general frame division by two horizontal and two vertical lines. The whole secret is to place objects in the frame along these lines, and the key points should be located at their intersection, so that every image will look more harmonious and natural for a human eye.
15. Be original
Do not take pictures of usual boring cars, which are parked on the street. Think wider and try something interesting, using imagination. You can make a frame with a curious background of street art or textured wall. Just do not stop, drive extra 5 kilometers, make another circle, wait half an hour longer and find an interesting place, beautiful location, appropriate moment. With a little more effort, you will get a stunning reward of original shots.
16. Mind the color
Different types of automotive paint react differently to lighting. Therefore, some vehicles are best photographed in sunny weather, others with artificial light. In order to choose the perfect option you will need to try shooting with different time gaps and lighting.
17. Keep a tripod with you
Using a tripod helps to achieve excellent results due to precise control over the process of shooting and good stabilization. Also, those small, but important devices will allow the most correct exposure and optimal ISO level. This is an indispensable thing if you need to wait for a successful lighting, people leaving the frame or finally exposed composition.
18. Do not forget about the composition
Consider your composition before shooting. Make sure that background ideas do not distract from the object itself. So that there are no unnecessary details and disturbing color spots. Choose the best distance and do not get too close. It is some kind of a portrait, but not a macro shot. All these factors are important and will definitely guarantee a winning result.
19. Enjoy surface reflections
Most cars have a glossy surface that reflects well surrounding details. Therefore, before you start shooting, you need to check if there are any dirty spots on the vehicle and whether it is clean inside. Be attentive to surroundings, so that there is no excess in reflection, nothing that looks different from a general concept. You can also make reflections work if it is a night city light or another interesting object. Still there is nothing better than an open space around the car, so it can enjoy to be the star.
20 Let it fly
Usually movement is demonstrated from the left to the right. When you leave free space in front of the subject; you show where it is going to move. When you take pictures of an automobile in motion, you just need to leave some space in front of it. This effect will make the viewer think that vehicle has entered the frame an instant ago, instead of leaving it.
21. Play on contrasts
Use contrasts as a way to attract attention. It can be a bright graffiti wall with a perfectly clean car. There can be a contrast in lighting, for example, a brightly lit vehicle against black background. It is possible to use contrasting colors by capturing a bright red car with green fields as backdrops.
22. Capture car interior
Pay attention to the interior. A brand-new leather interior, original steering wheel, beautiful elements, a refurbished instrument panel, a modern audio system can become a good feature of every vehicle. When photographing the interior, make sure that the picture outside the window is not less amazing, for example, ocean, mountains or endless horizon. These hacks will serve to capture a beautiful background, which is going to work better than parking or a fence.
23. Embody your dreams
Everyone has interesting and creative ideas that come by chance. Do not be afraid to bring them to life. Sometimes very beautiful photos can be made in very unusual places, car parking near the airport, a snack bar on the highway, and sometimes an old gas station can be an interesting location for your shot.
24. Move it all the way
Taking pictures of a moving car can become a complicated task without necessary equipment and preparation. That is why we are here to make it real even for beginners. Everything you need is two cars and two drivers: one of them will drive the car that you are capturing, and the other will take you to follow the first vehicle at high speed. Remember, the focus should be on the car, and the background should be blurred. Sometimes a different lens type may be also appropriate. The most important thing in such a tricky shooting is not to exceed the speed and make it as safe as possible for all road users.
25. Fill all the frame
Take a close-up picture, so that only the automobile is in the center or minimum background is present. To do this, it is better to move away from the car and use a good zoom. So the image will be clearer, and background objects will look distant, permitting you to get a snapshot of your car without disturbing noise, that will distract attention.
Tip: do not forget to turn on the light, it makes the image brighter.
26. Dive into the depth of field
Depth of field is an area, where objects look quite sharp. It allows you to focus on the subject and diffuse this attention on secondary objects. With the help of such an approach, the image will be clearer and the plot will seem stronger.
27. Shoot in a well-equipped studio
You can rent a studio for an hour or two to arrange a photo shooting. Typically, studios are equipped with professional devices and have good lighting, tripods, backgrounds and many other things useful for this job. Also, when working in a studio you will not be conditioned by changing weather and too bright or insufficient lighting.
28. Get involved in post-processing
After you have finished your album, it is due time to move to retouching steps. Home computer or laptop is suitable to correct all possible mistakes with the help of graphical editors and applications. It is not necessary to be a professional in order to slightly correct the white balance or horizon.
So, following above mentioned tips, you will cope with the most entertaining and exciting task of getting new experience. Try yourself as a professional photographer and enjoy creation of your own tutorials. We wish you inspiration, interesting and creative ideas and high-quality images that you will be proud of.