How to Photograph Cars

Take your photography up a gear with these top tips on how to photograph cars.

Master the Art of Automotive Shooting

Photo of a Classic Car

The genre of automotive photography is unashamedly macho with its focus on aggressive angles, smooth lines and moody atmosphere.

Viewers are drawn to the shiny exteriors, while sbstract artists revere the curves and textures in the details.

When shooting cars, careful planning and attention to detail is required. Location, perspective and of course lighting all need to be considered, as well as the cleanliness of the car, colour and continuity.

Successful car photography can be exceedingly challenging, but at least the model doesn't have to be cajoled into doing what you want. Cars also don't throw tantrums the way humans sometimes do!

Car Photography Tips

1. Choose the location for your automotive photography with care. The car has to suit the background. Think of the purpose of the car - is it a city runaround, an off-roader, or a sports car? Are you going for a sleek and sexy look, or rough and rugged? An important part of the decision making needs to be based on safety considerations. You don't want to photograph in a spot where the car can be damaged in any way. You also have to make sure that there is decent access for the car.

2. Take your time. You have to get to know the car and what is unique about it. Unlike models, cars don't get impatient or fidgety. Drive around in it if you can - it helps to get a sense of how you would like to portray it.

3. Let your own personality shine through. Don't imitate shots you see in magazines. Trust your own artistic eye and imagination.

4. Master the art of panning. To get a motion shot spot-on, ask an assistant to drive the car at about 15mph and shoot at between 1/15 sec and 1/30 sec. Practise until you get the shot you've envisioned.

5. Keep at it. It's easy to get disillusioned when you compare your results to what some of the top automotive photographers achieved. Remember that a lot of retouching goes into car photography, so don't expect your images to shine from the word go.

Related Posts

* Classic Car Photo Gallery

... and for a different angle on how to shoot cars, see How to Photograph Cars... using Gran Turismo 5.

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