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5 Tips for Better Car Photography

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Let’s face it. Fast cars are awesome. But photos of cars are often so boring. It’s hard to capture the dynamism and power of the machines on a static medium. Here is a quick and easy guide to taking better car pictures. Here are the top 5 tips to better car photography.

5. Shoot in the Rain bIMG_1059w Nobody does it, but why be afraid of a little water? A $7 camera condom is all you need. As long as you don’t leave your gear out in a monsoon for prolonged periods and wipe off the moisture soon afterwards, it should have no problems. Rain adds a whole new dynamic to the look. The spray and rooster tails signify speed. You can also play with the reflection off of the wet asphalt.

4. Go Really Wide  62854_10150269493685444_2303238_n The “GoPro” look is great. Consider using an ultra-wide or even a fisheye (as I did here) to get the GoPro look with large sensor quality. As long as you keep the driver in the middle of the frame, the distortions won’t be too bad. The wider the angle, the more sensation of speed and motion blur you can get, as the whole world around you figuratively “warp” past you. (Remember to turn on the interior lights if you want the interior properly lit).

3. Consider your Background 185937_10150425992955444_1976283_n An lonely farm road in the early dawn? A busy neon-lit boulevard? Or a twisty canyon course? The environment is as important as the subject here. Keep the camera angles low.

2. Suction Cup Mounts 62816_10150264810055444_555272_n Chase cars are great, but if you don’t have a buddy to play with, suction mounts are great too. I absolutely would not skimp here and go for something cheap and unreliable. Consider these Manfrotto mounts. Expensive, but so is your camera and lens. No matter how secure the mount, your camera will move around a little bit. Watch out for parts scratching up your car (hence the McD’s drinks tray as a temporary solution). Don’t over do the “suctioning” on curvy surfaces either. It may uncurve a panel. Glass works great, but it can get a little heavy for the door windows to handle, so be careful there. If you use a long pole, you really have to be careful of the mount. The polar momentum of a heavy DSLR on the end of a long pole puts a lot of torque on the suction cup mount. Go with at least 2 mounts for security.

1. It’s All About the Motion bIMGP7317w Unless it’s an Aventador or Huayra, chances are, the car won’t look that fast standing still. Regardless, a moving car photo is almost always better than a stationary car photo. There is really no other way to capture that sensation. Keep the shutter speed low, experiment what works and what doesn’t. There comes a point when the shutter speeds are too low that the car itself will be motion blurred. Raise it at to the point just when the background is blurred but the car is in sharp focus.