Car Photography Tips

March 20th, 2020 by

Spring is here and you want to show off your ride! Whether you’re trying to sell your car, or just want to show it off on Instagram, our tips are for you!

The good news is that you don’t need to go out and buy a fancy camera, most decent smartphones these days will have a camera that’s more than adequate. Really the only two pieces of equipment you need is a camera and a car. If you want to get fancy you could bring a tripod for stability, but it’s not necessary. Car photography isn’t always a walk in the park, but with our tips you’ll be shooting like a pro in no time!

Location, location, location:

As with any kind of photography, location is everything. The location should match the “feel” or mood you want the photo to give off. For example, if you’re shooting an F-150, take it to the lake, floodway or even a field to show off the truck’s rugged power. Something like an EcoSport would look out of place in that environment, so we would opt for a cultural/arts district to highlight the car’s maneuverability and versatility in a big city. Whatever you do, don’t shoot in a car park. Good lighting is hard to come by in enclosed concrete spaces like that, and the painted white lines quickly take away from your photo. If you need location inspiration, spend some time scrolling through sites Flickr, Unsplash or even Instagram and you’ll have a list of sites in no time.

Know your angles:

The biggest tip for any kind of photography is to always remember the rule of thirds. It’s a basic principle that helps you compose interesting, dynamic and balanced shots. Imagine breaking an image down into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) so that you have 9 parts- your subject should align with the anchor points instead of being positioned in the middle of a block. Like this:

source: CJ’s Pony Parts

See how the car is isolated in the bottom third of the frame? That’s exactly what you’re going for.

Another tip is to think about angles. Most car photographers don’t shoot from eye level, instead preferring to crouch and shoot from below. Play around and see what you like!

Remember your end goal:

Are you trying to sell the car or just want to brag on Instagram? You’ll most likely take different photos depending on what your intention is- It’s all in the end game. If you’re selling, make sure you get pictures of the boring necessities, ie. a dashboard shot that shows the kilometers you’ve run up so far, a picture under the hood (especially if you’ve made any engine mods), and a shot of the center console to show off cupholders and things. You want to ensure you take enough pictures to give any prospective buyer a good idea of what the car is actually like- no catfishing! You have more wiggle room when you’re shooting for fun, don’t be afraid to take some creative risks and try a bunch of different photos- you could find a diamond in the rough!

Fake it til you make it:

Don’t just walk away from a photo after you’ve clicked the shutter. Capturing the photo is half the battle, now you have to make it picture-perfect in post. If you have an Adobe subscription, Lightroom is the perfect software for you. You can spend some time fiddling with the program and see which effects and setting you like, or hop online and check out Lightroom presets other people have posted. If you don’t feel like shelling out the money for an Adobe subscription (and frankly, we don’t blame you) there are a bunch of other free alternatives like Capture One, Zoner Photo Studio (exclusive to Windows), and Exposure X5 that will definitely do the trick. It’s also not a bad idea to do multiple edits on a single photo; use one filter on one copy, and another filter on the next. Swipe through your options and decide which version you like best!

Now that you know which camera to use, where to shoot, and how to edit, you’re ready for anything! Keep in mind it’s important to not get frustrated if your first shots don’t turn out the way you wanted. Keep at it and you’ll be a pro in no time!

Posted in Tips