- Classic cars, unique automobiles and even the family car in the driveway are great subject matter for digital photography. One of the best places to enjoy cars, if that is another one of your hobbies, and to capture all that beauty, speed and perfection in pictures is an outdoor auto show. Part 1 of this PhotographyTalk.com article presented the first 6 tips and techniques that will help you take excellent car photos. It’s also an opportunity to find some owners that may want to hire you to photograph their cars, or buy the images you shoot during the show.
Look Before You Shoot.
If you expect any of the car owners to view you as a professional, then don’t walk into the show and immediately start shooting in all directions. A professional takes his or her time to learn the lay of the land, to find the cars that look the most interesting to shoot and then spend some time viewing these cars from various angles. First, you want to find the least cluttered background, generally the plainer the better. See what kind of view is available from the height of being on one knee.
The most difficult part of this tip is that you may have to be very patient, waiting for the background to clear or for other show guests to exit your framing. At some outdoor car shows, you may never have an opportunity to shoot cars without others standing around them. These can also be interesting shots if you again look for the right angle. This is another reason to try to photograph cars at such a show early in the morning or late in the afternoon, when there are fewer visitors.
A Polarizing Filter is Your Friend.
Photographing cars at an outdoor auto show means you don’t have complete control of the light, but a polarizing filter will help. First, it will reduce any reflections in the glass of the cars. Second, it will deepen the colors and any sky in the background. The best reason to use a polarizing filter, however, is to eliminate or control the reflection of the other cars that are likely to be parked near your primary subject matter. Again, you may have to search for the right angle to block these reflections.
Prepare for the Action.
The venues of many outdoor auto shows include a racetrack or similar space, so owners can show their cars’ speed and how they look when moving. Make arrangements in advance with the show manager to acquire a pass that will provide you with a prime position along the track. This should be much easier than a typically sponsored auto race. This is also a good reason to arrive at the show early, so you can obtain your pass, scout your position at the track and acquire the show program that will list the days, dates of these events. In most cases, owners don’t actually “race” their cars, so they don’t reach their top speeds. This should provide you with many opportunities to take a number of panning shots. Read this two-part PhotographyTalk.com article for more information, Digital Photography—How To Capture the Fast Action of Motorsports, Part 1 and Part 2.
Be aware that the schedule track event may also be an excellent time to shoot parked cars because there will be less distractions and more room to move around them. Try to capture your action shots during the first half of the “races,” and then spend the rest of the time photographing the few cars that aren’t on the track.
An outdoor auto show will obviously occur during the summer or at least warmer weather. It’s likely you’ll be standing in the sun for the most of the day, so dress in light-colored, loose-fitting clothing (no black). Plus, a hat and sunscreen are good ideas. (Hint: print your name and Web site URL on your hat too.) Comfortable shoes are also a must. Expect your clothing to become dirty or soiled if you are kneeling to shoot cars or eating dust along a track.
Equip Yourself Fully.
Photographers in the know will tell you that you don’t want to carry a camera bag during an outdoor auto show. One solution is to wear a belt with two digital camera holsters. Many experienced, car show photographers recommend two cameras, one with a wide-angle lens and the second with a zoom lens. Lenses with image stabilization are preferably. Another point to remember is that your car will probably be parked some distance from the show grounds, so make sure you have plenty of batteries and memory cards.
Follow these 11 tips to combine your interest in cars and digital photography to learn what kind of photos owners like, and are willing to purchase.