(Image credit: Thomas Juel)
The combination of cool cars and photography has been a successful one since forever. There’s something romantic, fashionable and sexy in a beautiful picture of a beautiful car. We know there are a lot of you who want to combine the two passions, so here are 9 tips to help you take awesome pictures of awesome cars.
(Success Tip: The one tool every automotive photographer wants here)
9. Choosing the car
This may sound obvious, but the nicer the car, the more visual appeal the photograph will have. If you’re just starting out, talk to friends or friends of friends who have out of the ordinary rides. You’re probably not going to start by shooting Ferraris and Lamborghinis right away, but try to get something that stands out. If you simply can’t find such a car, settle for something that at least looks new. It’ll be good enough for starters and making an average car look great is a very fun and creative challenge.
After you find the right car, it’s time to pick a location. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that car ads are shot in spectacular locations. You’ll probably be working on a budget, so a trip to Africa might be out of the question. Nevertheless, there are bound to be some cool spots around your area. Spend a day or two scouting for these interesting locations. The balance between subject and place is essential in many types of photography, and shooting cars is no exception.
7. Natural Environment
One of the best ways to make sure you get great results is to put the car in its natural environment. Of course, you have to be specific with each type of vehicle. By using this rule, you’re going to want to shoot an off road car, like a Land Rover Discovery, somewhere with dirt or at least in a place that doesn’t look friendly. The racing version of a popular model should be photographed on a race track, or somewhere near one to create the feeling of the car being in its natural element.
(Image Credit: George Williams)
6. Unnatural Environments
Of course, you can do things the complete opposite and go a little crazy. Striking contrasts between car type and location are known to be spectacular, and many professional automotive photographers turn to them. Of the top of my head, put a Pagani Zonda in the Gobi Desert and you’ve yourself a nice contrast.
Lighting is one of the most important components in automotive photography. A beautiful car that is poorly lit is something to cry over. Make sure you work on that. If you have some skills using strobes or continuous lights, find an interesting location and experiment with those lights. If that’s a little out of your league or you simply have more love for natural light, try to go shooting in the best hours of the day.
(Image Credit: Nick Busato)
Nice car, good light, good location, what’s missing? Perspective. The best car adds in the world have great composition. Try to be as creative as possible when choosing the shooting angle. It’s not a moody model, so you can take your time to walk around it, get higher or lower or do whatever your imagination tells you. Just don’t settle for a boring perspective.
3. Exterior Details
Beautiful cars look good no matter where you stand and every designer that’s behind a good looking car knows that it’s all about the details. After you shoot the entire car, get closer and more intimate. Find the beautiful exterior details and take some interesting close-ups. Every car has them; you just need to pay attention.
(Image Credit: George Lane)
It’s true that not all cars have impressive interiors. Sports cars have boring ones in particular. But when you do come across a car that makes you want to live inside it forever, make sure you make the most of it, photographically speaking. The lighting for shooting interiors should be soft and flattering, so make sure you do it at the right time or use larger modifiers for your flashes.
Probably the best way to photograph a car is to capture it in its natural state: in motion.
It seems like a very complicated task, but it’s not if you have the right solutions. Our recommended way of shooting cars in motion is to use aCar Camera Carbon Fiber Rig.
(Image Credit: George Williams)
It is a fantastic tool that allows you to get a dynamic still image that makes the car look like it’s cruising down the road at high speed, when in fact it’s barely moving over a distance of one or two meters. That makes it safe, reliable and capable of delivering results you see in all the major automotive campaigns. It is easy to use and effective, and for that it is our number one choice for the must have motion shots.
Learn more aboutCar Camera Rig here.