It’s become incredibly popular to take photos of cars and whack them on social media. In fact, it’s launched careers for many of the successful influencers you see in the world today. But with Instagram, Twitter and Facebook becoming so full of people trying to get noticed, your photos have to stand out of the crowd.
In this article we’ll take you through several tips on how to take the best car photo, whatever its use may be. Want to get your photos in a magazine, or a nice cover photo for your Facebook profile, or even just want photos to sell your car? These tips will help you get the most out of your time.
1. Watch out for reflections
The light is perfect, the car’s looking great and the scenery around it is stunning. Don’t ruin this by having a reflection of you with a camera up to your face in the window or paint. It makes the image look unprofessional and draws the attention away from the actual car.
If you went to get even more picky, try to avoid strong reflections of the surroundings, too. The location is key here, so if it’s a bright day with plenty of light around, make sure you’re somewhere more open or at least try to angle the open space behind you taking the photo.
Adjust your angle to remove yourself or unwanted reflections. But if you’re feeling arty, use reflections to add another layer of interest to your photo. See below for what I mean.
2. The perfect time of day
You don’t want harsh light when taking photos of cars, mainly because you’re more likely to get reflections, but also because light reflecting of the paint can sometimes be far too strong for the resulting photo to be nicely balanced.
Often the best time is just before the sun rises or sets. this way you get a gorgeous soft light from bounced light instead of straight from the sun. If you can’t do that time of day, wait until you’ve got cloud cover.
Take a look below to see what I mean.
3. Pan with the car
Magazine photographers are sticklers for a panning shot where the moving car is in focus but the background is blurred out. You do this by moving the camera at the same rate as the car drives by with a slightly slower shutter speed – around 1/125.
With this style, you get a real sense of motion, especially as the spinning wheels will be blurred, too.
4. Working with the colour of the car
Earlier we talked about light and how it’s best to take photos in soft light. While this is true, there are always some exceptions to this rule, and that would depend on the colour of the car. The worn paint of an older car works well thanks to its low reflective properties. Any satin or matt paint/wraps will also come across just fine in sunlight.
Just watch for reflections in the glass still.
5. Drive alongside the car
Seeing a car in motion is exactly what people want to see. It’s what a car is for after all, so we must exploit this. Get a few friends and another car to help you and while matching the subject car’s speed, take photos of it from out the window. You must be extremely careful with this, though.
Again, use a slight lower shutter speed and use angles to bring the best out of the subject. Usually shooting from a lower angle will make the car look more aggressive, while shooting from a higher angle makes it look more tame.
Hopefully that helped
Those are five great tips for you to quickly up your photography game when it comes to cars, but here are a few final comments.
Cars are styled by a professional, use your camera to make the body lines pop, but sometimes simplicity is key. While a heavy edit and/or filter is sometimes just what you need, other times it can clutter a photograph and overwhelm the viewer.
But when you do come to edit your photos, make sure they’re cropped according to where you’re posting them. Instagram prefers a more portrait shape, while a Facebook header image will need to be landscape. Think about this when you’re taking the photos so you don’t have to squeeze in favourite part of a photo in the edit.
Have any more tips, let us know and we’ll add to our list!