Taking a photo of a car is pretty easy. That is if you want a standard, plain old car photo. But if you want to capture the little details that bring out the true personality of your car, then you will need to put in work.  While every car is different, there are some general tips and tricks for automotive photography that are bound to give you great results. The best part is that, you don’t even have to own a fancy car to achieve this, just a little creativity, good positioning and camera setting will do.

Automotive Photography Tip #1
Background And Location

Automotive Photography

If there is one thing you want to get right when shooting a car, it is the surroundings. Settle for a location that will spice up your photo without stealing the attention from the main attraction (the car). One way to ensure this is by choosing a background color that matches the car’s color. You can also play it safe and go for the usual automotive photography spots such as the road, a car park or driveway shots. Alternatively, you can play a little bit with the background, take a photo of your car with the city behind it. Just make sure you don’t get too creative and spoil it.

Part of good location and background selection is being able to pick the right time to take your photo. From experience, the golden hours work best. This is early in the morning just before sunrise or late in the afternoon at sunset. Night photos of cars are also pretty awesome, just be sure to get enough lighting. You can also find a beautiful nightlife background to accentuate the shot.

Automotive Photography Tip #2

Automotive Photography

As I have said time and again, lighting is everything in photography. The same applies to automotive photography. While natural light is the best option, you can also bank on artificial lighting such as your camera’s flashgun. This mostly applies to studio car photography where you are free to play with light. Where your budget is not constrained, an LED panel will be a great tool for gaining more control. Use light to show the body of your ride or to simply reflect its surface.

Automotive Photography Tip #3

Automotive Photography

1. Tracking

My personal favorite car photos are those of moving cars. Apart from the fact that they tell a story, they are very exciting to shoot. One way to depict motion is by taking a photo of a moving car right from another moving car (Tracking). This will allow you to reduce your shutter speed and incorporate the road as your background. You can also take a few experimental shots allowing you to set your camera accordingly. As fun as this might be, be careful not to get injured and always shoot on a seldom used road.

2. Panning

If tracking is too much excitement for you, another alternative for depicting motion is panning. This is where you follow your subject with a slow shutter speed so as to create a blur in the background and focus on the subject. This takes a little getting used to especially when it comes to finding the right balance between your shutter speed and ISO settings. This is because your ISO setting will depend on the lighting of your surroundings.

To get a good shot while panning, you will need to be as steady as possible when following the car so try and be seated for this shot. Also, have some distance between you and the car in order to incorporate enough background in the frame. Ensure you stay alert such that you will take the shot as soon as the car gets close enough.  There is very little room for do-overs when it comes to panning, but don’t be discouraged when you miss the shot a few times. A little practice will eventually make you perfect.


Automotive Photography Tip #4
Curves, Brands, And Unique Angles

Automotive Photography

Automotive photography, more so for commercial purposes is all about getting down to the details. Make sure you give the subject car a thorough check to notice all the important details and incorporate them into the shot. This includes the design lines and logos.

While doing so, you can show off your creativity by focusing on unique details of the car rather than the whole car. Take a picture of the logo or perhaps a unique design line. This will need you to get close or use a standard zoom lens. Just be sure to watch out for reflections and inspect the car beforehand. Take an example of a Rolls Royce, wouldn’t it be posh to capture the spirit of ecstasy logo as opposed to the whole car? I bet it would!


Automotive Photography Tip #5

Automotive Photography

In the pursuit of great commercial automotive photos, you can also go for car interior shots. Many cars usually have unique interiors with logos posted all over. Take advantage of this by having a beautiful car interior shot. The best thing about this is that you can take the shot from many angles. However, make sure your interior is well lit. These can be taken anywhere but for clarity and convenience, a studio setting is better preferred.


Truth be told, automotive photography can be a bit of a challenge especially if you are new to photography. However, it comes with loads of fun and the photos are nothing short of spectacular when done right. Take your time, try and be unique and choose a fitting background. It will pay off in the end!


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