Car Photography Advice

If you have a cars and truck you take pride in, ultimately you’re going to want to take some unforgettable– and sharable– pictures of the terrific maker. You can, of course, take it to a cool area, snap some images with your smart device, and be done. However if you put simply a bit more thought and effort into it, you can produce images that you’ll be as pleased with as you are of the automobile itself.

The 14 examples below– found out over my years of vehicle photography– highlight some crucial considerations and techniques for shooting automobiles. The overarching take-home, nevertheless, is basically the same as it would remain in other forms of photography: Think of what you’re doing. Do not simply take a picture in front of a cool structure or a mountain; rather, take note of structure, lighting conditions, background, angles, cam settings, and so forth. You do not have to know whatever about photography, but just taking your time and considering even a couple of the many aspects that enter into an excellent photo can make a world of difference.

Cars And Truck Photography Guideline # 1: Chase the light

The rule of golden-hour shooting is extremely essential. The hour after dawn and the one before sundown offer the best light for photos; low-angle sunshine adds heat and texture to the image, and the generally-dimmer lighting allowing you to stabilize the image aspects more easily. Don’t load it in when the sun goes down: I shot this BMW i8 one night when it was clear that the sky was forming up to provide some amazing colors after the sun set. Pay attention to clouds, and strive to get the shot dialed-in, relative to the direct exposure.

Remember that if you desire foreground and background equally sharp, bump up the aperture’s f-stop to greater values– in between, say, f/14 to f/20– while adjusting the direct exposure to compensate for the significantly dark image. This was contended about f/14, however I must have gone a bit greater, because the background is a hair out of focus. (Greater apertures likewise produce the flares from points of light, as seen in the headlights.).

Also, attempt to keep the ISO as low as possible, to reduce the amount of grain in the final image. The best way to do that is to use longer exposures, which you can do in situations like this– even simply one or two seconds– if you have a tripod.

Car Photography Rule # 2: Control your depth of field.

De-focusing the background– a method called bokeh– highlights your subject. You do this by setting the aperture as wide as possible (f/2.8, f/4) and compensating for the brighter image by enhancing the shutter speed. If you make up the shot right, the image will be stronger, and have the benefit of a dash of creative flair. Hence, the Bugatti Chiron image above, shot in Los Angeles.

Cars And Truck Photography Guideline # 3: Pursue your visions.

Often you get a little tickle of an idea driving down the road. I had this Rolls-Royce Phantom for three days in Los Angeles, and believed it would be enjoyable to shoot the vehicle with an airplane in the background at the airport. There are lots of terrific spots to observe the aircrafts at LAX, but there aren’t numerous locations to set up a shot like this one. While I was studying the area on Google Maps– an excellent resource in general for automobile photography– I saw all the long-term parking lots directly under the approach path. I drove up, paid my method onto the lot for $8 per hour, and discovered myself with a huge stretch of quiet, low-traffic pavement right under the aircrafts. I shot there for 2 hours– tracking incoming airplanes through an app called FlightRadar24– and came away with lots of cool images.

Automobile Photography Rule # 4: Surprise people.

Often a direct, straight-down-the-middle shot can be surprisingly impactful, particularly when you do something unique with the context. This Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class was shot in Beverly Hills during the holiday– hence the additional lighting. It took about 20 laps around the block to get it, but it was fun and an unexpected method to feature the environment I shot it in.

Cars And Truck Photography Rule # 5: Get in.

Interiors are very important part of the driving experience, however recording them can be a challenge. I like to shoot with something to see in the window, so for this image of the Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid, I lined it up with some mountains and hotels in the Dolomite mountains of northern Italy. The background is blurred somewhat, but I could have made it sharper via a higher aperture– or perhaps made it the opposite, with a sharp background and blurred foreground.

Cars And Truck Photography Guideline # 6: Avoid shooting at eye level.

An easy trap to fall under is always contending eye level– as in, the view you get while standing in front of the cars and truck. Though that’s the most natural beginning point, it’s also the least lovely angle for an automobile, partially because it’s familiar but mostly because it’s not how cars are best seen. So go high or go low. You can utilize a ladder or step-stool for the high angles, of course, but in this case I only needed to hold the electronic camera up as high above my head as I could.

Vehicle Photography Rule # 7: Prevent the apparent shots.

Shooting a cars and truck in a parking lot is easy. The technique is to make it not look like you’re shooting in one. To do this, get in tight or down low, to ensure that the surface markings don’t betray you. This likewise helps make background items– in this case Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles– look more powerful.

Keep in mind, also, that you don’t have to include the whole car in every shot. Recording simply a sliver of it can make for remarkable images.

Attempt to prevent the obvious side-of-the-road shot. You see these in national forests, at beautiful neglects in the mountains, and especially go-to driving areas like Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles. Work to produce a terrific composition that takes benefit of it if you have a gorgeous setting. This Porsche 718 Cayman GTS was shot by the side of the roadway amid the redwoods of northern California, however I pulled the vehicle a bit farther into the trees to ensure no actual road was visible. (Sometimes, of course, you want the roadway in the shot, but ensure it’s performed in an intriguing way– translucented the windshield, possibly, or with the roadway swinging past the automobile while you shoot between the two, from down low.).

Automobile Photography Rule # 8: Use the location to your advantage.

In each of these cases, I set out to find an area that benefited from the context– a snowstorm in one, the energy of downtown Seoul in the other. Driving around for an hour both times paid off.

Car Photography Guideline # 9: Capture the peculiarities.

Some cars have unique functions that you’ll likely want to celebrate. The scissor doors in the BMW i8 are great examples, as is the Spirit of Euphoria hood accessory on the Rolls-Royce Phantom, shown here. Concentrate on finding surprising or novel methods to shoot these features. For this image, I installed a GoPro directly behind the hood ornament and then drove around town with the electronic camera in time-lapse mode shooting two-second exposures. After a few miles, I had hundreds of frames that generally would be stitched together into a single motion picture. That wasn’t my objective– I just utilized that particular feature to get the camera to shoot constantly. I went through the images, found the 5 or 10 with the best light streaks, and processed simply those.

If you put simply a bit more thought and effort into it, you can develop images that you’ll be as proud of as you are of the cars and truck itself.

I had this Rolls-Royce Phantom for three days in Los Angeles, and believed it would be enjoyable to shoot the vehicle with an airplane in the background at the airport. A simple trap to fall into is constantly shooting at eye level– as in, the view you get while standing in front of the cars and truck. That’s the most natural starting point, it’s likewise the least lovely angle for an automobile, partially due to the fact that it’s familiar but primarily due to the fact that it’s not how cars are best viewed. (Often, of course, you desire the road in the shot, but make sure it’s done in a fascinating method– seen through the windscreen, perhaps, or with the road swinging past the cars and truck while you shoot between the two, from down low.).