Car Photography: How to Shoot Cars the Right Way

Taking good photos of cars is not easy. A lot of people are interested in cars, so a photographer needs to do everything possible to make his or her car photo stand out. If done the right way, car photography can be fun and fulfilling.

There are a lot of reasons why somebody would hire you to take car photos – or why you need to take photos of your car. Here are some.

  • The photos can be used for attracting customers and selling cars. Good photos often make selling easier, especially if the photos show the things that customers normally look for in a car.
  • You need to take photos (of its interiors and exteriors) if you are planning to sell your car. It’s just like pre-selling a house. You show a photo of your car to interested buyers. And if they like what they see, they will eventually set up an appointment with you to view, try out or test drive the car.

  • Magazines, especially those focused on the automobile niche or industry, almost always feature photos of cars – new, vintage or remodelled – on their pages.
  • Car photos are also great as room or house decoration. Some car owners even have a collection of framed car photos.

Taking Great Car Photos

The idea of making car photography work may be a little challenging, but the steps and tips you need to follow are quite simple.

  • The Car

    If you’re working on an assignment, you’ll probably be given a car to take photos of, particularly if your client is trying to sell one. Try to appraise the car. How can you make it look good? What kind of image does your client want his car to have? Does he want a rustic-looking one or a professional effect? If you do this, you’ll find it easier to plan your shots.

    If you’re taking a photo of your own car, make sure that it’s clean inside and out. You wouldn’t want your viewers staring into specks of dust and dried up oil, would you?

  • Where to Shoot

    The shoot location is important, especially if you’re shooting for a magazine or high-end client. If you’re taking photos of a Ferrari, don’t shoot in small, worn out garage. You’d want to shoot somewhere more scenic; where the surroundings are pleasant to the eyes. Or maybe you want the Ferrari at the beach on a sunny day?

    An essential factor to keep in mind is the over-all effect of the scene on the car. Take every means possible to ensure that the surroundings do not “eat up” the car. The car should be the center of attention. Your location’s main purpose is simply to add some attractive factor to the photo you are trying to create.

    Where else would you want your subject to be? At the park? In a grassy field? Or would you rather take a photo of the car in its natural settings – like on the road, highway, the driveway or car park. Before taking the shots, you should decide what kind of feel you want to create. Then you’ll know whether to shoot at a natural setting or to go a little unconventional.

  • The Right Angle

    Now that you’ve decided on your location, it’s time to think about finding the right angle of the car. Don’t be satisfied with just a side view shot; feel free to experiment. This is the best way to find out which angle shows the car in its best form. Don’t just stay on one side or corner, move around and try to look for new angles that can give you interesting perspectives of the car.