tips for good car photography

12 Simple Tips For Good Car Photography

tips for good car photography
Taking car photos from above can work really well, like this shot of the Peugeot 308 GTi

I try where possible to use original car photography to accompany my car reviews on Changing Lanes. I’m not a professional photographer, more a snap happy Instragrammer. But I have a learnt a few things about taking a good car photo, mainly by making a lot of mistakes.

Here are my car photography tips for producing something half decent!

1. Turn the front wheel of the car that’s facing the camera in, not out! I used to do this so bad until one day I copped it.

2. Natural light is your friend but bright sunlight is an actual beast to work with as an amateur stuck on auto. Dull, overcast days make things a lot easier and we get a lot of those in Ireland. Soft light at daybreak and sunset is very flattering to the amateur photographer, but depending on time of year, you may have a very, very early start to get the best morning light.

3. Be aware of shadows, especially in sunlight. They look awful in photos if they’re facing the camera. I found this out after a lot of failed shoots too.

4. If you are shooting in bright sunlight, make sure the sun is behind your shoulder, not the car’s, because it just wreaks havoc with the shot. Don’t ask me why, it just does.

Honda Jazz Review Ireland
Car photography tips: See that tree sprouting from the Honda Jazz? Yeah, try to avoid doing this.

5. Move the car around in the one location and try different angles. Some will work, some won’t, but it helps you to learn.

6. Watch out for reflections in the side of the car. Think about this when choosing your location. Flat open space is best.

7. Check the ground around the car in the shot. Is there any rubbish around the car? It looks awful afterwards and sometimes if you’re focusing so much on getting the car right in the shot you won’t see it until you're home on your computer.

8. Check the backdrop. If there are trees or poles, make sure that they are not in an awkward position. A pole sprouting from the car's roofline never looks good. I’ve made this mistake so many times and I still do it from time to time.

9. Play with different angles but taking the photo from low down tends to work well. Be prepared to get down and dirty to get the perfect shot! From above is also cool, if your location will allow it, but make your safety number one!

10. You don’t have to always centre the car in the shot. You can produce more interesting photos by placing the car off centre or including more background in the shot.

Mazda2 Irish review
Car photography tips: Choose an interesting location and take shot from below eye level, like my photo of the Mazda2

11. Bring cleaning equipment. There is nothing as bad as a dirty car in photos. Why would you bother?

12. Scout around for different locations but mountains, sea, beaches, water, empty roads, forests, fields, castles and stately homes tend to work well for beginners!

Caroline Kidd