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Realistic RC Cars, Boats & Airplanes Photography

Updated on December 21, 2015
LuisEGonzalez profile image

I enjoy photography and have been doing so professionally and independently for over 30 years. Hope you enjoy my hubs!


Have you ever played with any of the many RC controlled toys that resemble real racing cars, boats or airplanes and felt the realism as they take sharp turns, skip through the water of take a high speed nose dive?

RC toys or more formally called radio controlled vehicles are meant to resemble the real deal and they maneuver almost like their real life counterparts and have equal speed ratios.

First the basics of all radio controlled toys, regardless of what real life vehicle they are meant to simulate:

"All radio controlled toys have four main parts:

  • Transmitter - You hold the transmitter in your hands to control the toy. It sends Radio waves to the receiver.
  • Receiver - An antenna and circuit board inside the toy receives signals from the transmitter and activates motors inside the toy as commanded by the transmitter.
  • Motor(s) - Motors can turn wheels, steer the vehicle, operate propellers, etc.
  • Power source"

A photographic project featuring these toys can be made that shows them in a perspective that makes them appear as if one was in reality capturing images of a real car race or at an airplane show. There are however some tips that makes these images seem more realistic as give your viewer almost the same excited feeling as if they were in real life watching them perform.

There is not that much equipment that you will need in order to accomplish the shoot other than a RC vehicle, a zoom lens that allows you to get in close enough and crop and a high speed camera. You should also shoot the images during the daytime hours to take advantage of the sunlight.

But if you feel inclined you can also do the shoot during the night so long as you have a fast flash unit and are able to quickly focus on your intended target.

You cannot get too close to the vehicle with your photos because most viewers will them be able to distinguish between them and a real vehicle. The key is to get close enough to capture the action but not so close to reveal the smaller details that gives them away as being toys.

For boats you should try to capture images that show them at their highest speeds and making some sorts of splash because this splash hides the smaller details.

For airplanes try to avoid showing the cockpits too clearly, it is often better to record images of their lower fuselage.

For cars, it is best if they are going as fast as they can and much better if they are on a dirt surface like sand and kicking up some of this dirt as they race by. Again the idea is to use the environment to hide the smaller details. Our brains will fill in the missing details and in most case we won't be able to tell whether what we are looking at is the real thing or not.

With cars it is also helpful is you allow some dirt to stick to the body as this gives it a more realistic look.

For many of these shots your perspectives will not change much, except for cars where you should be as close to the same level as your subjects.

Another key point is that you should allow for a slight blurring. Try to use one speed lower than what your camera sensors indicate or you can achieve the same effect by panning with your camera.

With most photographic subjects you have to pay attention to the background and this is even more evident with this particular project. Showing the wrong background elements will give the "secret" away.

Use your zoom to your advantage. The idea is to capture images of the subject in almost total isolation with very little background that advertise the true size of the subject. This is more important for rc cars photography than it is for boats and much less crucial for rc airplanes.


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Your images can be used by many rc publications and by the manufactures of the products themselves.

Consider doing the project with one specific brand in mind and inquire with this brand manufacturer afterwards about their interest in acquiring an exclusive photographic project featuring their products.

Many will pounce on the opportunity of using your images to showcase their wares with no other competitors.

But no matter how exclusive your photos are, if they are not technically sound and offer pleasing perspective to a possible consumer, no manufacturer will be interested in them.

Think technique before subject. Think like an advertiser first and like an enthusiastic hobbyist later. But above all, think as a photographer first and foremost at all times.

© 2012 Luis E Gonzalez


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    • profile image

      Richard-Murray 5 years ago

      that is only one state in the union:)

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Richard-Murray; Thanks. They are popular in Florida

    • profile image

      Richard-Murray 5 years ago

      love remote control vehicles, too bad they are not extremely popular

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Aniket Iyengar: Thank you

    • Aniket Iyengar profile image

      Aniket Iyengar 5 years ago from Mumbai,India

      Nice hub makes me remember how i used to play with these