Car Photography: Guide, Tips & Ideas (2021)

Here’s the most in-depth Guide to Getting Started with Car Photography. 

After reading this post, you will know;

Let’s Start. 

What is Car Photography?

Car Photography is a part of Automotive Photography. It includes the act of shooting cars with dynamic angles. In this type of photography, the photographer portrays the unique essence using different techniques.

Car Photography Tips for Beginners

Now we’ll take a look at some of the best car photography tips for beginners. These tips will help you get started and help you take the right shot.

1. Find the Right Gears

Car Photography Gears

– Camera

The number one thing to look for while buying a camera is that it should be Full-Frame. A full-frame camera is quite expensive but will help you take the best car pictures. You can also go with a medium format camera as per your pocket.

The following important camera feature ensures that it should have a Fast AutoFocus, High Megapixel sensor, and Continous Shot capacity. 

– Lens

For Car Photography, I would highly recommend using a lens with a high aperture. The High Aperture helps in fast shutter speed and reduced motion blur.

These types of lenses will give you a great shot. Further, you can use editing software like Adobe Photoshop for editing.

I have listed some of the best lenses you can opt for this type of photography.

– Tripod

Our next most important gear to take car pictures is a Tripod.

If you don’t have a partner, a Tripod can be your best friend.

Even though, I highly recommend you to have a driver who can continuously change the car position. It helps save much time, and you get a lot of help.

Nonetheless, It’s great to have a Tripod because it will be helpful while taking continuous shots and reducing shakes.

– Polarizer

A polarizer is a life-saver in car photography. When you are shooting in direct sunlight or have a hard light coming on the car body, a Polarizer will help you remove that reflection.

It is one of the critical photography gear that will help you save time and improve in overall quality of the shot.

You can check out the best polarizer by clicking the button below.

2. Find the Right Time for Shooting

car shot at golden hour

One of the most common mistakes people make while taking car pictures is to shoot at the wrong time. Either they take photos when the sun is on the top or when it is entirely dark.

You should always avoid taking photos in harsh light or direct sunlight.

As a car photographer, you should find the right time when the light is perfect. For me, the best time to shoot car photos is after sunset. That is the ideal time because there is no direct sunlight, and the lighting is just next to perfect.

In short, always avoid taking photos in the direct light and instead find a sweet spot in between the sunset and sunrise.

3. Always Take Driving Shots

racing car photography

If you want to take good pictures of cars, always try to take shots of the car from a driving perspective. This will give the viewer an idea of how the car would look when driven on the road.

If you want to take good pictures of cars, always try to take shots of the car from a driving perspective. This will give the viewer an idea of how the car would look when being driven on the road.

If you want to take good pictures of cars, then always try to take shots of the car from a driving perspective

4. Take a Look at the Background

bmw shot at golden hour on the beach

The background is just as necessary as the car itself, so make sure that it has something interesting in it. A good location can really make up for other things that might not be perfect in your pic, so don’t be afraid to experiment.

Be careful not to get the background too close to the car and make sure it doesn’t cover up any of the vehicle itself. Remember that you should use a camera in macro mode (if you have one) or use a big lens to avoid this!

Don’t worry if the background is not as perfect as you would like it to be, as long as it is exciting and fits with your car.

5. Try Night Car Photography

night car photography

This is one of the most challenging types of photography, but with some patience, you’ll get better at it over time. It’s worth trying out because night photos can be spectacularly snapping some selfies for fun – it’s easy to do, and you’ll get used to the process of taking pictures with your camera

6. Use the Right Lighting Setup

softlight car photography

For car photography, it’s essential to set up the lights correctly so that they don’t cause any problems. For the photographer or erase the car’s lines.

One of the most common problems when taking photos of cars is that they are too dark. This happens when the photographer doesn’t set up the lights correctly.

One way to avoid this is to use a white backdrop and reflect light off it onto the car. You can also take photos in a garage or other place with plenty of light.

You’ll also need to use a diffuser on your lights if you’re shooting through glass, such as on a window.

Otherwise, you’ll get bright spots. In the photo, and if you’re in a confined space such as an alley, you’ll need to use a strobe-compatible umbrella.

7. Always Shoot the Interiors

Car Interior

Following car photography tips is always taking photos of the car’s interior. The first thing people see when shopping for a new car is the interior, which gets most of the attention. When shoppers get inside and see how roomy it is or how well-equipped the cabin is, that’s when they fall in love with it.

8. Keep Your Car Clean

White mini cooper

When taking photos of a car, it’s essential to keep it as clean as possible. Take care of the car before and after the photo shoot. And you’ll be able to create the best images.

Check out our Actionable Editing Tutorials.

Best Cameras for Car Photography

Planning to buy a new camera, then please make sure you check out our camera buying Guide

I have recently written a post about the Best Cameras For Car Photography. To sum it up here are the best camera picks for you. 

1. Nikon D850

Nikon D850

Nikon D850 is a premium DSLR Camera for Professionals. It is by far the best camera you can get to shoot cars. It has one of the best image stabilization, long battery life, improved autofocus, and pretty much everything a camera can offer. You can check out the latest price by clicking below.

2. Canon 5D Mark IV

canon 5d mark iv

Canon 5D Mark IV is a popular DSLR Camera amongst photographers. It is one of the best canon cameras that is known for its photo quality, next-level continuous shooting, and fast autofocus system. If you are planning to buy a new camera with versatile features, 5D Mark IV is the one for you. Check out the sample images and latest price by clicking below.

3. Canon EOS 90D

Canon EOS 90D

Canon EOS 90D is one of the best budget DSLR Cameras for car photography. It is very popular amongst Social Media Creators because of its versatile features. 90D is known for its Pocket-Friendly Price, Great Image Quality, Fast and Accurate AutoFocus, and Easy Use System. You can check out the Sample Images and the latest price by clicking below.

Best Lenses for Car Photography

If you are planning to buy a new lens for your camera, please make sure you check out our Lens Buying Guide.

Coming to the best lenses for car photography.

As a beginner, you don’t need to invest money in buying a new lens for shooting cars. You can get started with the stock lens that comes with a camera.

But, I still recommend having a professional lens to not miss those exclusive car shots.

Let’s take a look at the best lens picks.

1. 18-55mm Lens

18-55mm lens is by far the most versatile and widely used camera lens. It is one of the best beginner lenses for car photography. 18-55mm comes as a stock lens with a lot of Camera Models. You will love the overall Picture quality, Image stabilization, and Autofocus system. For more features and specifications, you can click the button below.

2. 24-70mm Lens

24-70mm lens is a popular lens and photographers like me love to use this as an upgrade. After an 18-55mm Lens, it is one of the most versatile lenses for the price you pay. This lens will help you get the best car shots with its combination of Auto Focus, Image Stabilization, and Durable Body. You can read more specifications and features by clicking the button below.

3. 35mm Lens

35mm Lens is a popular choice for car photography. It is a great lens when it comes to shooting cars in a studio. Because of its small focal length, you can’t take wide and dynamic shots. Thus, you will have to compromise on shooting running cars on roads and race tracks. You can check out the lens features and specifications by clicking the button below.

How To Get Into Car Photography?

Now, we’ll know the step-by-step process of getting into Car Photography. 

1. Start Shooting Cars

The first step to get-into car photography is to start clicking photos of cars. Since you are just starting, I would highly recommend you shoot as many pictures as you can. The more you shoot, the better you get. 

If you are a beginner in photography, try to do some internships with already established car photographers. A lot of people run for perfection, but I would highly suggest you start. Ignore the quality and focus on the quantity, then slowly improve your game. 

There is nothing like a perfect photography shot. You get better with time. All You need is to have patience and consistency. 

2. Create a Portfolio

Once, you have started clicking photos. Shift your focus to building a portfolio. This will help you get a better job or client. Usually, I would recommend you to have the best shots in the portfolio. Always try to create diversity in the shots. This will help in improving the visual appearance of your portfolio.

There are a lot of ways to showcase your portfolio online. 

  • Create a Website
  • Use your Social Media Accounts
  • Upload on Stock Photos Website

These tactics will help you get clients or a job. 

3. Promote your Business

Once, you are done creating your portfolio. Move on to the promotion mode. Promoting is a very crucial point to grow as a car Photographer. 

If you want to do the job, send your portfolio to different photographers and agencies.

Or, if you want to start your own business, share your portfolio with car dealers or car companies.  

Eventually, you will start getting work. 

Second-hand car dealers have more probability of giving you work than big car companies. So, keep your focus accordingly. 

Car Photography Ideas

Now, we’ll discuss some of the best Car Photography ideas. This section will play an important role in your journey. I have shared some of the most common ideas and inspiration that will help you in a jumpstart.

1. Shoot the Back

car photography idea 1

One of the best car photography ideas is to shoot from the back. Usually, I would suggest this idea on the road only. This helps the car get merged in the background and still look amazing. 

The above photo is clicked by Sony A7R and the lens used is FE 55mm F1.8 ZA. Here are the camera settings used. 

  • 55.0mm
  • ƒ/1.8
  • 1/800s
  • ISO 1000

2. Shoot the Running Car

car photography idea 2

Shooting the running car is my favorite car photography idea. The motion blue makes the photo look very interesting and appealing to the eyes. 

The above photo has been clicked using Canon EOS 6D Mark II and the lens used is EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM. You can check out the camera settings below. 

  • 105.0mm
  • ƒ/18.0
  • 1/160s
  • ISO 400

3. Find the Right Angle

car photography idea 3

Here’s another great idea to click the photo of your car. You can find the right angle where your car gets mixed with the background and form a great combination. 

The above photo is clicked by Sony A7III along with 35mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art 012 lens. You can check out the camera settings below. 

  • 35.0mm
  • ƒ/1.6
  • 1/25s
  • ISO 100

4. Try Night Car Photography

porsche night car photography idea

The moonlight adds up stars to the car and that is why I love shooting cars at night. Nature automatically adds up to the white balance of the shot and makes the picture visually appealing. 

The above photo has been clicked by Sony A7III using FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS Lens. You can check out the camera settings below. 

  • 126.0mm
  • ƒ/2.8
  • 3/5s
  • ISO 320

FAQs about Car Photography

How Much To Charge For Car Photography?

There are a few factors that decide the price of car photography. If you charge by the hour, you would have to include time for driving around looking for the right location, negotiating the right price with the site owner, and time to clean the car before and after the shoot. That includes the time to get to the location and back. How long did they shoot? Many factors decide the price of car photography.

What Is Car Composite Photography?

Car composite photography is a new form of automotive advertising. With the increasing popularity of digital photography, people use it for various purposes. Car composite photography is a relatively new form of advertising and has many advantages. One of them is that your message is conveyed excitingly.

How Much Does Car Photography Cost?

There are a few factors that decide the price of car photography. If you charge by the hour, you would have to include time for driving around looking for the right location, negotiating the right price with the site owner, and time to clean the car before and after the shoot. That includes the time to get to the location and back. How long did they shoot? Many factors decide the price of car photography.

What Camera Filter To Use For Car Photography?

When photoshopping car images, there are two ways of adding color to the picture. One way is to desaturate the image, and another is to use a camera filter. Utilizing a camera filter has both its pros and cons. The pros are that it’s more natural, and it is better to use the camera filter for photography that requires focusing on the vehicle. But if you’re trying to highlight the car against a colorful background, then desaturating is a better option as it will let you remove all the colors from the scene.

What Focal Length To Use For Car Photography?

If the subject is too far away, a telephoto lens is the best choice to purchase. A typical 70-300mm focal length will be enough to shoot any car. You need to get as close as possible to shoot near the vehicle. The focal length will be crucial to capture more details. So a prime lens is the best choice. The 50mm lens is ideal. It is sharp but less distorted and more affordable. If you are shooting a car show, the 24mm lens is sufficient to capture the size of the car. Also, the 24mm lens is affordable and produces sharp image quality.

Is there Money in Car Photography?

There are two ways to make money from car photography. The first is to create stock photos and sell them. Car Stock Photography needs proper equipment, experience, and a lot of time. The second way is to get car companies to pay you for these photos. It’s easier than the first way, but you will need to know someone who works for a car company.

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