The Ultimate Guide to Photographing Cars

Picture of a car

Photographing cars or any automobile for that matter requires a unique set of skills that can be gained through years of experience as a car photographer. However, if you are just a beginner who wants to know some tips and tricks, then this is the perfect article for you. We will be giving you the lowdown of the perfect guide to photographing cars and other automobiles. But before we’ll dish out our secrets, let’s increase our knowledge about car photography.

Automobile Photography

Automobile photography is a type of photography where a car or any type of automotive is the central focus of the shoot. No need to have people as cars and other automobiles make a great subject. This is definitely true if the car is unique, vintage, pimped-up or recently restored. They make a perfect photo statement and just fill the photograph with their strong character and presence. Automobile photography techniques are often used in the big-budget car company advertisements and billboards that we see. The aim of this shoot is to make the car look beautiful while showcasing its awesome features.

Secret Tips for Beginners Photographers

If you have photographed and familiar with a camera you are half way there. There are a couple of small things that you need to consider to get the best possible photo. These are the same techniques I personally use when following my passion of shooting newborns while working as a professional family photographer.

Time of Shoot Matters

You’ve heard that right. The time of your car photography session really matters. Just like any type of photography, the light is indeed any subject’s best friend and the car is definitely not an exemption. Experienced car photographers recommend shooting just a few minutes before sunrise or a few minutes after sunset. The light during this time of day is usually the best light that will complement the vehicle.

Check Out Reflections

A shiny car with a reflective bumper

Cars, especially brand new ones, can be pretty shiny and reflect almost everything. You should be aware of your surroundings and be on the lookout for possible things in the location that can be reflected on the car. Reflection of buildings, electric posts, trees and people can ruin the look of the vehicle and can fail to showcase the design lines of the car. Often, photographers will fail to notice that they themselves are also reflected on the car. A simple trick for this is to use a tripod, put the camera on timer mode and move out of the picture.

Get Moving

One of the best photos of a car is the one where you see it in motion. Automobiles are built to move and car photographers always take pride in capturing the perfect motion photo of these vehicles. So how do you achieve that? An easy way to do this is if you would shoot the moving subject from another car. Doing this will allow you to catch awesome movements from the road and the wheels. The technique to this is to decrease the shutter speed. However, you have to be careful as low shutter speed might also result in you getting blurry images.


The background of your shot usually depends on the automobile that you are shooting or the goal of your shoot. If you are shooting a car fit for adventure, then a good background location for that is somewhere in the woods or near a forest. If it is a luxury car, then the horizon is the perfect background for it. You have to make sure that your car does not look displaced with the background or location.

Panning Technique

To get some awesome motion blur effect, panning technique is often used by professionals. You can achieve this by standing beside a road as the car passes by, set your shutter speed to 125th of a second and smoothly follow the car with your lens. The results will surely blow you away.

Interact with Nature

To add more character and power to the photo, let the vehicle interact with nature. An example of this is a 4×4 climbing a hill or a car spinning around and making some dust. This way, you will be able to showcase the supremacy and the strength of the vehicle.

Don’t Forget the Interior

As much as we fall in love with the curves of the exterior of the car, photographing the interior is as equally as important. Capture some details of the inside and highlight some interior features. Make sure that it is well-lit as to properly showcase them.

Practice! Practice! Practice!

Any experienced photographer won’t be where he is today if he didn’t shoot photographs at any chance that he gets. Although the quote “Practice makes perfect” may sound cliché, in this case, it is still definitely true. Through practicing, you will not just be able to familiarise your camera even more but you will also discover some techniques that you can later share with others. You will also be able to gain more confidence to shoot and try new things.

There are loads of opportunities in Perth to take pictures of some cool vintage cars when the vintage cruises are held at Scarborough and neighbouring beaches.

Creative Ideas and Steps for Great Car Photography

Car photography can be very exciting and it offers opportunities to be very creative. Some people may shy away from car photography simply because they don’t know what they should do. Today, I would like to share a few ideas and steps with you. They will help you understand how to plan your car photograph and what things will improve your shots.

1. Location

You can choose from a variety of locations. Decide whether you want a natural setting, an unusual background, or a studio feel. This will determine where you can start looking for the perfect location. Always remember that the location should complement the car and steal away its limelight.

2. Lighting

Natural lighting is usually the best option and will give you great results. To get the best shots, most photographers advise the best time to shoot a car is during the minutes before sunrise or the minutes after sunset. Artificial lighting can also create great effects if done well. Use flashlights, lamps, flashguns, or whatever else your budget allows and set them up to light certain aspects of the car and at certain angles. Take test shots until you get what you want.

3. Angles

Once you have the perfect location and you have figured out your lighting preferences, you can play around with angles. Different angles will highlight or emphasise different features of the car. They will also create different feelings. Shooting from ground level creates a menacing look while shooting from the front or top will create different feels. Play around with different angles, use your tripod, and get high and low to find the best shot.

4. Design Features

You should have a few full body and different angled photographs by this point. To further build your portfolio, try some shots that focus on the design features of the car. After looking at the car from different angles, you should know it pretty well. Take some shots of details like the shapes, lines, manufacturers badges, grills, and other design features.

The last thing to do is take some interior shots to round of the collection. Follow these steps and tips to get started on an awesome car photography portfolio.

Tips for Getting Your Photographs Noticed

Photography is something that many people enjoy but so many talented photographers go undiscovered because no-one gets to see what they can do. If you would like to get your pictures noticed and potentially open some great doors for yourself, follow these simple tips. There is no guarantee that you will be successful or that someone will give you a job opportunity, but you should share your art with the world.

To get your pictures noticed, try this:

Share your photos on websites. It doesn’t have to be a photography-related site. In fact, non-photography-related sites might be a better option. Find websites that would be interested in sharing your work. Approach blogs or websites that can make use of the type of pictures you take.

Use Creative Commons. Creative Commons is a service where you can copyright your work but still allow other people to share it on social media or use it on their websites. License your images under Creative Commons to keep you safe and you will see an increase in sharing and using of your pictures.

Create your own Blurp book. The Blurp book is a portfolio of your photographs online. It is very handy as everything is in one place and easy to access. You can show it to clients when you meet them or your friends and family.

Carry business cards for your website. Create a website where you showcase your photographs and make business cards for it. This way, you can give people who are interested a card and they can check it out. No need for them to try and remember the address and they are much more likely to actually remember to visit the site if they have a card.

Make your pictures useful. Find ways in which people can use your pictures. There are so many possibilities that can include wallpapers, home décor, canvases, etc. If people can use it, they will be more likely to share or buy it.

The last tip is to use social media as best you can. You can get a lot of great exposure and reactions on your photographs through using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, etc.

How to Take Better Photographs of Beautiful and Sexy Cars

Taking photographs of cars is about more than just aiming and shooting. Sure, if you just want a picture to sell it, that is enough. However, if you are serious about car photography, there are a few things that you can do to take better photographs.

These are tips from the expert car photographers:

1. Choose the right time of the day. The best times of the day to shoot a car is just before sunrise or just after sunset. The soft natural light will make for an amazing photograph.

2. Consider taking driving shots. Driving shots can be great if you time them right. The best way to get a great driving shot is to be in a moving car yourself. Always be careful with this and please don’t take any photographs while driving. Get a friend to drive while you get ready for the perfect picture. Drive at 60km/h and set your shutter speed to 1/100th of a second.

3. Choose your background carefully. Make sure that you choose a simple background that complements the car. Find a background that repeats the colour of the car or that suits the theme of your picture.

4. Keep the colour of the car in mind. All colours look different in different kinds of light. Most colours don’t work with direct sunlight, but there are exceptions. Do a test in different types of lighting before shooting your final shot.

5. Keep an eye out for reflections. A car’s exterior can act like a mirror especially if it is a new one. Be careful of your surroundings and look closely at what is reflected in the car before you take a picture. Try to shoot in an area that has open spaces and no buildings.

These are only a few tips. There is so much more to learn and share, but we will continue with more in a later post. For now, have fun trying out new things with your car photography.