How To Photograph Cars – Tips For Taking Great Car Photos

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How to photograph cars

Do you think photographing cars is easy? Maybe, but it’s not easy to take a really good picture. When shooting cars, you will have to apply the maximum knowledge and skills. A good shot will depend on the photographer’s ability to build a composition, the ability to work with natural and artificial light, and many other photographic techniques.

All cars are different, of course, some look more advantageous than others in the frame. But, conditionally, any instance of sports car rental in Dubai does not guarantee the quality of the shooting. You can come to a hiring company, rent the most expensive car and take terrible photos of it. Therefore, it is better to study the issue in advance and approach the shooting of a car (even if it is rented) wisely.

How to photograph Cars?

Before shooting, you need to evaluate the technical conditions and the object itself. Inspect the car from all sides, from different angles. To get a three-dimensional image of the car and emphasize the lines, you need to shoot from the side and at an angle. Both the front and the side of the car should be included in the frame. Interesting images can be obtained by shooting with a wide-angle lens. Such frames will look aggressive and predatory. Many old cars have beautiful shapes and unusual logos. They can be taken close up. This can make interestingly stabilized shots.

To shoot individual elements or parts of a car close-up, you need to prepare. Remove dust, smudges, fingerprints, and streaks from the photographed surface. Do not rely on the fact that all this can be removed during the processing of the image. It often happens that some elements are simply impossible to fix without ruining the original look of the photo.

Maybe for someone, it will be news, but a stationary car is much more difficult to shoot than a moving one. Photographing a car in motion is basically a panning shot. These pictures are taken in shutter priority mode. This mode allows you to automatically select the optimal aperture value, and the shutter speed is adjusted so that the background is blurry in the direction of travel, and the car itself is clear and sharp. The blurred background conveys the effect of movement and the dynamism of the plot. The description of shooting with wiring deserves a separate discussion.

How to photograph cars

However, the picture must be clear and of good quality. You need to think over and adjust the lighting, choose the right angle, and work out the background. The picture should be filled with ideas and emotions. You can’t just “click” here.

When is the best time to shoot?

The best pictures are obtained with diffused light. From the very morning or at sunset, the sun’s rays are evenly scattered in the atmosphere and give soft shadows. When the sun is not yet very bright, you can shoot against it. In this case, the light will illuminate the roof and hood, thus giving an interesting effect of illuminating the frame.

Naturally, such a survey cannot be carried out at noon. The bright sun will give a strong glare on the polished surfaces of the car body. These highlights in the picture will look like white spots, making the frame overexposed. Very interesting pictures are obtained in the evening when you can turn on the headlights and dimensions. This will instantly transform the picture.

How to photograph cars

Shooting equipment and accessories

When shooting cars, it is preferable to use a wide-angle lens. This will allow you to shoot at close range. It is also advisable to use a tripod. It will allow you to take pictures at a slow shutter speed and eliminate shaking.

You will also need a polarizing filter. This is an absolutely irreplaceable thing. Firstly, it will allow you to take an unusual shot with a reflection in the rear-view mirror, polished hood, or car fenders. Secondly, it will allow you to muffle highlights and emphasize the necessary elements of the frame. Additionally, an external flash and reflector may be needed.

How to photograph cars


Professional photographers who shoot cars for advertising say that each model has animated properties. In order to consider this, you just need to not think of stereotypes, but turn on fantasy. It is important for any car photographer not to chase expensive or rare specimens, but simply to look around. It is possible that the model for shooting is in your garage.

Related Posts

How To Photograph Your Dealership’s Vehicles

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  • Great article and relevant information Ehab, I am glad you wrote it but wish I had read it a couple of yrs ago when I was trying to help my uncle take some photos to sell I vehicle that he no longer needed but was keen to gain the money from. Long story short, there were glares and my reflection in several of the photos which led him to ask someone else to do a better job. The problem was the only time I could take the photos was noon. 

  • Thanks for the helpful guide that has all kinds of great tips for getting phenomenal photos of cars. I don’t think enough people realize how much impact the time of day makes on the lighting of the photo and the overall result. It’s so key to get the right light in order to get the desired effect on a photograph, so thank you for making this clear!

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