Since you may want to photograph a car for many reasons, let’s put ourselves in the situation that what you want is to sell it (literally or metaphorically), or at least that you want to photograph it in all its perfection.
That what you are looking for is to enhance its beauty, its strength, etc. Because if you’re looking to tell the story of rust, iron, abandonment and abandonment, some of these tips won’t help you.
Photographing a car is not always easy due to its large dimensions. That is why a favorable environment that makes it stand out from the bottom is important. It is not the same to make a few photos parked on your street among a few more cars, with some works next door, the parking meter and people walking along the street, to take your impeccable car and take it to a suggestive environment, where you can isolate it from so much element and make it stand out. In the middle of a meadow, with a beach at the bottom, a forest, or even a smooth or cobblestone wall; according to your possibilities or the possibilities of your environment.
Choose a suitable environment
It is no secret what a good cleaning and wax hand can do in the appearance of a car. As old or bland as it may seem to you, the truth is that a car in perfect cleaning conditions increases the positive impression of it a few points. So if what you want is to portray the wonders of your car, start by making it impeccable.
NOTE: If it is so clean and shiny that you could shave looking at your body, then you may need a polarizing filter to eliminate glare and glare.
Or on the contrary, you can squeeze your artistic vein playing with the reflections of the sky in certain parts of the car.
Make sure the car is impeccable
Are you lucky to have several focal points but don’t know where to start? Well, take advantage of the sensations that different optics can convey:
Wide Angle: It is the one that has the greatest portion of the environment. If the environment is worth it, this is the star goal for the landscapes. In addition, from a point of view close to the objective, it creates distortions that can be very interesting to enhance the lines or certain aspects of the car.
50mm: It is the one that most resembles the human eye. If you have the King of the objectives, in addition to sharpness, you will have a great luminosity and a versatile objective for all types of shots, from general plans to interior or exterior details.
Telephoto lens: Its main characteristic is not only to approach the scene thanks to the wide focal length, but to flatten the image and isolate it from the background due to its reduced depth of field.
Regardless of the focal point you have, if you want to avoid boring images, you will have to go beyond seeing, aiming and shooting. Once you have a few good images with the general information of the car (front, rear and side), try to modify the point of view. From bottom to top (counter-chopped) from top to bottom (chopped), and so on. You will see how the perspective changes and the message you convey.
From a flat image you can create a strong, daring, and much more interesting image, simply by giving it another twist and testing new points of view.
Varying the point of view will offer you more interesting images
Try to keep the ISO as low as possible, as this is how you will maintain greater sharpness and have better image quality. If necessary, use a tripod to work with low ISO without causing image shaking.
Remember the importance of opening the diaphragm when playing with depth of field. With more open diaphragms you will allow more light to enter, but you will work with reduced depths of field. On the contrary, the more you close the diaphragm, you will have less light but with greater depth of field (area focused on the image).
As a general rule, and for the entire car to remain in focus, you probably need to close the diaphragm at an approximate aperture of f / 8 or f / 11. From there, make several tests according to the type of image you want to achieve.
It is common when photographing cars, that the sky is part of the composition in most shots, especially if you have listened to me, and you have taken your car to a somewhat more flattering environment. If so, it is very likely that the contrast between the sky and your car is very high, and consequently you can not expose well for the two lights. You have two ways to solve it:
With a neutral gradient filter. This filter, widely used in landscapes, reduces the entry of light into one of its halves, compensating and matching the exposures of the illuminated areas and the darkest areas (sky and earth)
Taking a minimum of three exposures of the scene; one underexposing the image somewhat, another with normal measurement results, and another overexposing. Obviously a tripod is highly recommended, so that you can then merge the three images correctly using an editing program. This technique is what we call bracketing or bracketing
Unleash your creativity by photographing the different details of the car: the tires, the gearshift, the dashboard, the rear lights … Play with the depth of field to highlight the center of interest by blurring the background (large openings), and so on. If the environment is pleasant, play to integrate it from the inside, through the mirrors, the windows, and so on.
Detail with and without polarizing filter and proof of the importance of a clean car
We have already commented that it is more than possible that you do not find the perfect environment when you get ready to photograph your car. The best way to ensure good shots is to do your best on site. However, there are small tweaks that are often difficult to achieve without some processing. If you shoot in RAW, these small adjustments that your image may need, will allow you to maintain the highest quality.
It allows small adjustments of light, contrast, saturation, sharpness, etc. without the image quality suffers
Allows you to modify the white balance at your leisure
The images are stored in “raw” (RAW), and store all available raw information, which means that all processing decisions are yours, but at the same time the images weigh much more than other storage formats. Keep that in mind before you shoot like crazy.
Sunrises, sunsets, golden hours and blue hours will be great allies when it comes to empowering the environment and taking advantage of the most flattering hours of the day. You can play with the exterior light, but also add the lights of the car itself. Unleash the imagination and take advantage of the best of both lights. In an urban environment, you can take advantage of street lamps, reflections, or play with the bokeh … Even the night can hold fascinating and unique images.
Take advantage of the surrounding lights to enhance the image
Do not just “put” the car into the frame in any way. Composition is always important. The law of the gaze or the rule of thirds may be useful to begin with; A car is still an inanimate portrait, so you can apply the same rules as if it were a face.
Take care of the composition
How about? Have you ever considered taking a few good pictures of your car? Did you want to sell it and didn’t know where to start? Do you want to simply banter a new car? Whatever the reason for your interest in photographing cars, I hope this article has given you a few good tips to get started. If so, do us a favor and share it so that someone else can benefit from them. Thank you and see you next time