- Arts and Design
Photography - Car Photography
Photography - Car Photography
Photography is a hobby that many millions around the world dedicate a large portion of their life too. Another passion a lot of people have is the love of cars. Cars are a thing of beauty. They are mechanically wonderful; they have made the world smaller in such a wonderful way. As technology evolves the design of cars have become more and more beautiful and more and more stunning.
As a regular photographer I personally love to shoot cars. They are cold hard metallic dangerous machines, but shot in the right angle they are a thing of magnificent beauty. In this article I am going to give a few tips about taking photos of cars and some key “do’s and don’ts.”
Where to shoot
When shooting a photograph of anything that is not your personal possession or public property, be very careful. If I saw a stranger taking a photo of my car down the street I might start to think why are they taking the photo? Maybe it’s because my car is beautiful or maybe they are taking the photo for a more sinister reason. Maybe they are taking a photo of the lock so they know what tools to bring back later to break in? Maybe they are taking a photograph of my car to pull all my information based on the registration plate. There are many maybes, and many people might get very agitated if you are taking a photo of their car. Be careful.
I find a great place to take photos of cars is car shows. In London a great annual show is MPH. This is a vast show, (run by the team from Top Gear), which showcases hundreds of the most beautiful cars. Alternatively I am sure you will be able to go to a local car show in your area. You will tent to find ‘classic car’ shows are the most popular type and often the best to take your camera too. Car show rooms are often happy to let you play inside their showroom with your camera; especially if you talk to a salesman as well and talk about buying the car you are photographing.
When shooting photos of a car there is one fact that in my opinion is the most important. Don’t assume you need to photograph the whole car. This is really only a good idea if you are shooting for a car advert! To get a good shot of the whole car you often need to be elevated at a specific level away from the car and you need to have nothing obstructing you in the background. By all means play around with the whole body of the car but it is not the only option. Try to shoot the car from different angles. Try to photograph the interesting curves in the body of the car. Look for the beauty in the shapes. In the photographs below you will see I have taken shots of different parts of cars. Sometimes the focus is the wing mirror, other times the headlights at the front of the car. The bonnet and the bumper can be great photo, and don’t be afraid to eliminate the colour (by converting to a black & white photo) if you are trying to really focus on the shapes. In the photos below this is what I have focussed on.
Another key factor is atmosphere. Maybe you are fortunate to be somewhere there is a buzz about a car. Maybe the car is placed on a pedestal above everything else. A favourite photo among photographers is showing the buzz of headlights going past. Maybe the car is on fire? In the photos below this is what I have focussed on.
A final area which is great to play with in cars is details. Try to photograph a specific localised area of a car such as the headlights or the engine spark plugs. Details are a great place to start with when experimenting with car photography. Be aware not to photograph registration plates on the street if you plan to distribute images. This can be an offence in some countries. The photos below are focused on details of a car.
I hope you have enjoyed my photographs, and my article about car photography. If you have taken any yourself I’d love to see them!