Learn professional car photography from this easy article car photography techniques for beginners and become a successful photographer.
Almost all car photographers come with the basic skill of capturing car images. But the sad truth is, not everyone who starts car photography gets the touch of success. Many new car photographers fall behind just because of not executing their plans on the field. But you can’t fall behind in this race if you want to survive.
That’s why you need to plan smartly and try to execute those plans as much as you can. If you want to take professional car photography seriously, you need to know some techniques that only a few others know. Those unique car photography techniques will help you to survive and perform better in the field of car photography
Table of Contents
- 1 The Necessary Kits You Will Require as a Beginner for Car Photography
- 2 10 Car Photography Techniques for Beginners (Step by Step)
- 2.1 1. Capture Images from a Unique Perspective
- 2.2 2. Make the Image Look Alive by Adding Some Human Element in the Frame
- 2.3 3. Focus on the Car Interior for More Details
- 2.4 4. Choosing the Right Time of the Day for Shooting
- 2.5 5. Properly Compose the Car Image for the Perfect Balance Creation
- 2.6 6. Trypan to getting Motion Blur in the Car Image
- 2.7 7. Shoot on the Exciting Locations for Highlighting the Vehicle
- 2.8 8. Capturing the Driving Shots
- 2.9 9. Try to Capture Every Car Detail as Much as You Can
- 2.10 10. Using the Mirror Reflection to Attract the Viewers
- 3 FAQs on Car Photography Techniques
- 4 Conclusion on Car Photography Techniques
The Necessary Kits You Will Require as a Beginner for Car Photography
As a beginner, purchasing the expensive gears for car photography may seem a bit tough for you. That’s why you need to buy the kits that can do the job for you and come at an affordable price range. The cameras, lenses, and tripods that you can use as a newbie professional car photographer are:
You don’t need to purchase high-end cameras. The mid-range cameras can do your job properly in the first two years or so. After that, when you have more money, then you can purchase an expensive camera.
But you should stay alert that the camera you are purchasing has a reliable focus and a fair megapixel number. As you will require to shoot fast-moving cars, your camera must come with a fast FPS (frames-per-second). You may also need to shoot in the darker locations as well.
The darker locations bring a large number of noises and grains into your image. So, you need to choose a camera for your professional car photography that has less noise at higher ISO levels. You can compare the low light abilities of several cameras from various websites to purchase the perfect one.
As a newcomer, you should go with Canon 7D Mark II or the Sony Alpha 7R III as they have higher ISO levels, megapixels, and reliable focus. If you need to do more commercial projects, purchasing the Canon 5D and the other cameras from the 1Dx series can be a deal-breaker.
You can’t use just a single lens for car photography, as you will need to deal with various situations. The collection of at least three types of lenses is a must for any professional car photographer. It will be helpful for you to have a collection of a zoom lens, a prime lens, and a wide-angle lens.
Before buying the lenses, you need to know about the aperture of the lenses. The wider the aperture will be, the more light will enter your camera, and you need to keep it in your mind before buying. It would help if you went with the lenses that suit your camera.
The lenses with an aperture of f/2.8 and lower than that are the ones to go with for car photography. For a low-light situation, you will require lenses with a wider aperture. Never think of going with a narrow aperture lens for vehicle photography. You can buy a 50mm prime lens for capturing car images in bokeh mode.
A wide-angle lens will be a better choice to capture a larger area in a single click. When you may need to capture the image from a long distance, you will require a zoom lens.
So, it would help if you kept a zoom lens, a prime lens, and a wide-angle lens in your kit bag wherever you go for car photography. You can also buy some additional lenses if you want.
Tripods are for keeping your camera stable in tricky situations. You don’t need to buy a tripod that comes with a bunch of features or looks futuristic. A tripod must have a strong body and even legs to provide stability. The joint screws must be well-mounted with the tripod body.
As a newcomer, you should go with a sturdy tripod that comes in your budget range.
10 Car Photography Techniques for Beginners (Step by Step)
As a newcomer in the car photography section, you need to apply some extra techniques and basic skills. Let’s talk about the car photography techniques that can help you to capture excellent car images and also will improve your skills:
1. Capture Images from a Unique Perspective
Always following the textbook style can make your captured images boring and too predictable. That’s why you should avoid the mainstream shots, as most of the photographers will follow the mainstream. Then choose your perfect location and find the best angle to capture the shots. Try to avoid the locations that are common to the maximum photographers.
You need to think out of the box and explore a lot to find a unique and unfamiliar spot for shooting. Along with that, maximum photographers are going with some specific angles for capturing car images. But you shouldn’t follow that most of the time.
If you don’t offer something different from the others, there is no reason for the viewers to be interested in your photos. So, you need to look for an unusual car angle, as the best results can appear from unexpected locations, angles, and settings.
If you can look at your vehicle from a different and unique angle, no doubt, you will get the perfect shot of the car. Using a drone can be expensive, but it can give you the proper angle of the car on a bigger frame.
2. Make the Image Look Alive by Adding Some Human Element in the Frame
When the newcomers capture car images, they mostly focus on the car only. But the elements all-around also play a vital role in making the picture attractive. So, for the differential, you should involve people in the frame while capturing the car images. Avoid hot models and choose someone whose personality matches the car.
But it’s not like you will put the man in front of the car and click images. You need to try various poses for your model and put him in the different angles of the vehicle. Capture a photo when your model is driving your car, and in the same pose, click images from several angles.
You can also try the pose of someone opening the car door or someone standing with pride in front of the car. The basic thing is you need to choose the target audience first and then capture images based on what they’ll like. To make the car image alive, the model needs to match the car’s personality and fit with the target audience.
3. Focus on the Car Interior for More Details
After gaining knowledge about the outer side of the car, the viewers will want to have a look at the car’s interior. Everyone admires a beautiful car, but the viewers need to look at the inner part as they’ll be sitting in it.
Like most newbie car photographers, you shouldn’t end the session by clicking the outer part of the car only. You need to focus on clicking the interior of the vehicle as well. Capturing closer shots of different parts of the interior can be a good step in this matter.
Take some shots of the steering wheel from two or three angles on a larger frame and closely. You can also capture the dashboard of the car in the same way as the steering wheel. Hopefully, you will get the best possible output by concentrating properly.
4. Choosing the Right Time of the Day for Shooting
It is one of the most common mistakes that maximum photographers commit as a newcomer. They can’t choose the perfect time and go out shooting at the wrong time. Even if the capture is good from the photographer, imperfect timing can ruin the shot instantly.
When the light is comparatively soft, it’s the proper time for shooting car images. You will get soft sunlight two times a day, one is a few minutes before sunrise, and the other is a few minutes after sunset. You will get soft light at both these times, and you should use a tripod to get blur, noise, and grain-free car images.
When the sky is filled with clouds, and there is rarely any hard sunlight, you can go shooting as well. As the sunlight will be softer, you will get your desired shots in that cloudy weather. But using a tripod is a must when you are a newcomer to achieve the perfect car framing.
5. Properly Compose the Car Image for the Perfect Balance Creation
Proper composition of the car image is very important to achieve the best results as a car photographer. The viewers also prefer the image, which comes with perfect composition and balance. You need to tell a story without saying anything through the picture you captured.
The timely application of basic rules like the golden ratio and third rules is important for the process. You can choose a retro theme or other themes that suit the car. While doing so, you must make sure that the background is properly matching the car body.
Try to fill the frame for capturing an appealing car image. You can also apply the basic rule of leading lines to get a perfect composition along with a balanced car image. In this case, to keep your frame straight, you can use a building or a straight landscape as the background.
6. Trypan to getting Motion Blur in the Car Image
Car photography is not about capturing still car images. You should also focus on capturing the moving cars and the motion in them. But to do so, you need to be very patient and wait for the cars at the roadside. First, mount your camera with a tripod, and wait for a fast car to pass by.
Whenever a car passes by, you need to follow that car with your lens in a single smooth motion. But before doing this, you need to focus on properly setting the shutter speed of your camera. Set the shutter speed 1/125 second, and stay very sharp as you will have a single chance to capture any car.
Using a tripod will prevent the car image from being blurry and shaky. By following those steps, you can get your desired result of capturing motion blur in your car image. In this car image of yours, the viewer’s attention will be mostly on the car, and the motion blur will spice it up.
7. Shoot on the Exciting Locations for Highlighting the Vehicle
Car photography is all about telling stories with your captured image. Right location selection is the first step of building your story. Going to an exciting location may be a bit expensive for you as a newcomer. But whenever you are in any exciting landscape, try shooting the car from various angles.
But just shooting a car randomly in your desired location won’t do the job. It won’t be a better option to shoot an exotic car in a dirty and muddy location. Similarly, a rugged and off-road car won’t suit the background of the city areas.
So, the must-do thing for you as a newbie car photographer is to establish the relation between the car and the background. As you will get a better visual of the frame, start capturing the image from various angles. But, remain careful that the location doesn’t snatch the viewer’s attention from the car.
8. Capturing the Driving Shots
When you take a perfect driving shot of a car, that will look pretty cool and attract the viewers. Taking the photograph of the moving car from another running car is even cooler, and at the same time, dangerous too. So, you need to remain very careful while doing this dangerous task.
You will have to remain super stable as you will need to capture the other car through your car window. Keep the shutter speed of your camera around 1/100 s or so while capturing the moving car. The shot will be a way cooler one as you will get nice movement on the road and the wheels for your assist.
Choosing the time of the day is also important, as the last ray of the sun will add a huge boost to the image. Based on the light, you can decrease the shutter speed and other camera settings as well. But as you will reduce the shutter speed, you need to remain more careful about the blurriness and shakiness.
9. Try to Capture Every Car Detail as Much as You Can
While taking close shots of the car, you need to stay highly focused on the details of the image. As you will focus on some specific parts of the car, you should capture as many details as possible. If you want to show the special features of a car, the image should have the best possible detail.
If you want to make a series of car images, focusing on every part is a must. The headlights can be the part that you should start. Perfectly set the ISO, shutter speed, and the other settings. Keep your hands still and go close to your desired part.
When all the preparations are done, capture the image from different angles until you are satisfied. You can also capture the cool reflection in the rearview mirror along with the stunning seat covers of the car. As you will capture more details in the image, it will reflect the vehicle’s personality better.
10. Using the Mirror Reflection to Attract the Viewers
To capture from a differential angle, you can use mirror reflections. When you see the scenic views, unique neon lights, or sunsets, you should put the car at an angle that the rearview mirror reflects the sun. You need to keep some parts of the car and the rearview mirror and a unique scene in your frame.
At the time of capturing the reflections, you should remain focused on the exposure. Try to fill the frame with the car body, reflective mirror, and the background. You can use the windshield of the car for capturing the reflections as well.
Using umbrellas and reflectors to manipulate reflections can also get the job done for you by capturing the proper reflection.
FAQs on Car Photography Techniques
How can a newbie professional car photographer capture attractive car images?
As a newbie professional car photographer, you need to follow some special tips to achieve success. You also need to offer something unique to the viewers that they like your image compared to the others. Shooting at the right time of the day, along with having the right weather, will boost your performance.
Choosing background correctly, color combination, motion blurring, and taking the moving shots are also important.
Do I need to purchase expensive gear to start car photography professionally?
Car photography won’t require expensive kits and gears at the start. All you need to have is the proper dedication to the profession that you are starting. A mid-range camera, along with a prime lens, a zoom lens, and a wide-angle lens, is the perfect starter pack. You should also buy a tripod to avoid shaking and blurring.
Those gears need to be budget-friendly along with a better serving capability. As you will gradually make money from car photography, you can improve the gears as well.
Will I be able to make money by taking car photography as my serious profession?
Yes, you definitely can. But while you are starting car photography, you shouldn’t focus on making money. Yes, it is the truth that you will come into this profession to make money. But still, you need to focus on your skill first and capture car images with full dedication.
As you will improve your skills and gain experience, new projects will start to come. Hopefully, you will make a handsome amount of money from your professional career in car photography.
Conclusion on Car Photography Techniques
Nowadays, many newbie photographers are taking professional car photography as their sole profession. But the matter of sorrow is, most of them are falling behind in the race of being successful. None of them lacks potential, but the things they lack are patience and creativity.
That’s when you need some special tips that can help you survive in that race. You need to think out of the box and use all the resources properly to get your desired result. Always believe in your potential and skills, and the ten techniques for taking professional car photography will assist you.