5 Tips for Better Car Photography

Photographing a lean, mean driving machine is the dream of every automotive photographer. There are hundreds of different ways to photograph a car. In this video, Chris Hau shares some of his best automotive photography tips:

1. Angles and Positions

Get several different shots of the car. Hau has suggestions for which angles work best.

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2. Panning for Motion Blur

car photography panning

Panning is a great way to capture a sense of motion. A stationary car looks good, but a car isn’t designed to stand still. The sense of exhilaration that comes from being behind the wheel of one of these machines is what drives car photography. That can only be captured when you photograph the car as it’s moving.

The trick is to stay put in one spot and pan as the car drives past you at about 40 mph. Set a shutter speed of about 1/125 second and balance the exposure by adjusting the other settings.

While the car will be in sharp focus, motion blur will be noticeable in the wheels as well as the background. Make sure you have a nice background for these types of shots.

3. Driving Shots

A variation of the panning shot is the driving shot. Here, the car, is shot from a second car while both the cars are moving at a speed of about 40 to 60 miles per hour. The shutter speed should be around 1/100 of a second. Needless to say, you need two cars and two drivers. You also need a way to secure the camera so that it doesn’t accidentally drop.

driving shot

4. Reflections

Reflections are a major hazard when shooting car photos, since cars are basically giant mirrors. Use a polarizing filter to minimize them and/or find a location without distractions, like an open field.

5. Composition

Change up your shots by getting low to the ground, standing on a ladder, using foreground objects, etc.

car photography with a drone

Car photos tend to start to all look the same. Add some creativity to set your work apart from others.

What other tips do you have for great car photography?

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