If you have an interest in cars, you’ve probably flicked through the pages of car magazines at some of the striking car photography on display. You might even want to take a few good shots of your cars which look as good those published in car magazine and auto websites. Of course, not everyone of us have access to an expensive Porsche or BMW, but that shouldn’t put you off.
Also, online car selling websites play a pivotal role in vehicle sale & purchase these days and a good photograph can help you get your vehicle easily noticed among numerous other vehicles. Although car photography isn’t always easy, but if you follow a few simple rules then you’ll quickly start to improve your shots. It doesn’t take much equipment to get started either, just your camera, a car and a passion for great photos.
The tips below will show you how it is possible to get great shots, regardless of the car you have.
Camera & Equipment
The first and the foremost thing is obviously a good camera. If you have a professional camera, you will have best results, even an entry-level DSLR can do wonders for beginners as it can shoot under the widest possible range of conditions. If you can spend money buying a professional camera & tripods etc it a bonus, otherwise most smartphones of today have cameras decent enough to capture good photos.
Location & Background
Planning your location is important. If you can choose where to take the pictures, plan ahead and take your time to get the best place. Try to take your cars out to beautiful locations and photograph them there. Consider a background that isn’t too distracting and should complement the subject well, that is… your car!
You should position the car so the best part of your chosen background is behind it, and it’s even better if you can use the car to hide any distractions like bollards etc. When you park the car, make sure to turn the steering wheel fully away from the camera to show off the wheels to the camera, giving a more dramatic pose.
The Correct Angles
On location try to move the car around to find the best angles. Placing your camera at a low level, almost looking up at the car, give an imposing and dramatic look. If you have troubles finding the correct angles, go for the three-quarter view. The three-quarter view is defined as a view of an object that is half-way between front view and side view, showing either front & side view, or rear & side view of the car. It is your safest bet and works best in most conditions.
Capture the Details
It’s tempting to spend all your time trying to photograph the entire car from a variety of different angles, but don’t forget to move in close to show off some of the key details. Such as the emblems, the grille, even interior components such as gear lever etc.
Look for Those Reflections
You must be very careful of what reflects in the car. Have a look around you and look closely at the car and see what reflects on its surface. A shiny car is like a mirror, always be very careful not to have your own reflection in the photo. Remember reflections can make or break a photograph, so practice and use reflections to enhance the beauty & curves of your vehicle.
The Rule of Thirds
The rule of thirds is applied by aligning a subject with the guide lines and their intersection points, placing the horizon on the top or bottom line, or allowing linear features in the image to flow from section to section.
Related: Guide: How to Sell Your Car
Using the rule of thirds means that the subject isn’t centered in the image, which is how many new photographers frame their shots. Instead, the main focal point is a bit off to one side. Using the rule of thirds draws the viewer’s eye into the composition, instead of just glancing at the center.
Using Photo Retouching Tools
You can also use modern photo-retouching tools such as Photoshop to enhance your photos. Tweaks including light adjustment, sharpness, enhancing highlights, background management and few touchups can enhance your photographs a lot.
Get out and practice
As with most forms of photography, practice makes perfect. The more shots you take in different conditions, the more you’ll learn. With each shoot, you’ll come away having learned something new that you can use to make your next even better and more impressive.
A 3d animation professional with over 20 years of industry experience having served in leading organizations & production facilities of Pakistan, an avid car enthusiast and petrolhead with an affection to deliver writings to help shape opinions. Formerly written for PakWheels as well as major publications including Dawn. Founder of CarSpiritPK.com