These 10 tips on car photography will guide you through how you can take better photos of your car without spending a fortune on a new camera.
When your pride and joy is gleaming in the sunshine, it’s only natural you’ll want to grab some cool photos of it. But how many times do the final images you end up with not look anything like you had hoped? They can too often look flat, dull, and quite frankly, boring.
But don’t panic, we’re here to help you out! We’ve put together a quick list of ten top tips on how to take better photos of your car – and others.
Whether you are using a state-of-the-art pro camera or just using your smart phone, these car photography pointers will significantly improve the images you take.
Have a quick read, follow our advice, and enjoy some awesome photos to post on your social media channels!
Car photography guide – 10 tips on how to take better photos of your car
Show the wheels
The first tip in our car photography guide is a simple one. You love your alloys, so make sure they’re in the photo. Be sure to turn the steering lock so the wheel is facing the camera and not the tyre – no one wants to see what tyres you’ve got!
Framing – make sure the car is in shot
It sounds simple, but make sure the whole car is in the shot! You’d be surprised how many people overlook this most basic of steps. And it’s one way that’s guaranteed to ruin the photo. It’s not difficult to rectify either; just make sure the whole car is in the frame, paying particular attention to extremities such as door mirrors, splitters, and spoilers.
Well-placed reflections in the background or foreground of a photo can look really cool, but that’s not the kind of reflection we mean here. We’re talking about a distorted vision of your ugly mug glaring back at you in the shiny paintwork! One way to ruin a photo is to have a reflection of the person taking it in the shot, so make sure it’s not there!
To get a much cleaner, modern, professional-looking photo be sure to remove any visual distractions from the picture. Common offenders include air fresheners (especially those hanging from the rear-view mirror), and keys in the ignition. You’ll be surprised how much difference removing these from the shot will make.
Like reflections, an awkward shadow is an easy way to ruin a photo of your car. Ideally you don’t want any shadows at all, but you can’t always control the light so sometimes you will have to deal with them. If so, position the car in such a way so the shadows fall away from the car, and not into the foreground of the image. Also be aware of any shadows you are casting yourself too.
It may sound simple but getting the right location can make or break a photo. It’s not always possible to move to an alternative location if you’re at an event for example, but there will be different areas of the venue that will make for different backdrops, and ultimately different photos if you are prepared to move around a bit.
If you have the luxury of selecting multiple locations, the background can help set the tone for the images. Want something to suit a highly-tuned hot hatch? Abandoned buildings, graffiti walls and moody surroundings can make the car appear more aggressive.
Clean the Car
No matter how good your camera skills are, if the car is dirty it will show up, so clean your car before taking any pics. This shouldn’t be an issue if you’re purposely heading out to take photos, but be careful of any nasty fingerprints on the bodywork or sat nav ‘rings’ on the windscreen that may show up and ruin your photo.
By far the simplest way to improve your car photography is to get away from eye-level. Generally, the lower you go, the more menacing the car will appear. So, don’t be afraid to kneel, sit, or even lay on the floor to get a better shot.
Almost as simple as framing the whole car, yet probably even more overlooked is making sure the image is in focus (see photo above!). Even camera phones can select an area to focus on, so make sure the main object in your photo (the car!) is the part of the image that is in focus, and not some bin or banner in the background!
Experimenting with different angles can make for some very interesting car photography shots. The traditional, tried-and-tested angles usually include front three-quarters, rear three-quarters, dead front, dead rear, and dead side, but you can play around to see which angle best shows off the car and/or suits the background.
Want to take your skills to the next level? Check out our Photoshop guide for beginners.