Whether you’ve got a new set of wheels that you’re dying to show off on social media, or you’re trying to catch your current duco’s best side for an upcoming sale, there are a few tricks to getting that perfect shot.
Before you get started, there’s one thing every professional car shot has in common. With the exception of off roading 4X4’s rolling through mud, the car is always sparking clean. For a thoroughly shining car, send it over to the washing pros and make sure every inch is ready for it’s close up.
Select your gear
There’s no doubt that photographing cars fit for magazines is an art form, however you don’t need expensive equipment to emulate a professional looking shot of your own ride. Most modern phones with built in cameras will be up to the standard you need for a decent photo that’s fit for online publishing.
Of course, if you have a DSLR camera, even better. Your images will be higher quality and allow more flexibility when editing. A wide angle lens on your DSLR is great when you’re shooting the car from an angle as it will add depth and give the car a strong, dynamic look. When you get on to photographing the details, a macro lens will focus in on smaller areas without the distraction of details in the foreground and background.
Scout out a superior backdrop
Anyone can take a driveway snap, but if you really want to set up a striking shot, drive out to somewhere a little more picturesque. Australia is full of open spaces, so make use of them and catch your car in a spot that’s free from distractions, crowds and clutter in the background. If you’re in a built up area even an industrial or urban location on a quiet day can make for an interesting backdrop that offers an artistic flair.
Try to match the scene to your car’s character and find complimentary colours in the background or landscape. Particularly if you’re selling your car, this can really help paint a picture of what type of buyer the car is suited to, and where it can take them.
Catch the perfect light
Any photographer knows that lighting is the key to creating a great image. We’re not talking about big, professional studio lighting here, there are lots of ways to use natural daylight to your advantage. Once you’ve found the ideal backdrop, move yourself and the car around until you get a position where the light catches your car’s shine and highlights the gleaming paintwork.
While we may think that an overcast day creates a dull photo, it’s actually perfect for photographing a car. Clouds create a natural filter, so your images will be free from sun glare, bright reflections, overexposure and interfering shadows. If you’re shooting on a sunny day, aim for the golden hour, around either sunrise or sunset, when the light is most flattering.
If you’re photographing your car in the early evening, turn on the parking lights, fog lamps or daytime running lights to bring it to life. Avoid shining them directly into the lens though, as this can cause lens flare.
Work those angles
We already know what a car looks like from eye height, so create a more dynamic photo by selecting a different vantage point. A side on shot can appear flat and also act as a big mirror, catching quite an unflattering reflection of you which will take a while to edit out afterwards.
Shooting from the front corner of the car allows you to catch a lot of the car’s features while also hiding your reflection. Crouch down to get a shot that’s looking up, giving your car a more powerful stance - this angle will also catch the sky’s reflection instead of surrounding buildings or landscapes. If you’re in a location that allows it, moving higher will create an interesting position to start snapping from, showing off more of your car’s features by viewing it from above. To show off the wheels, angle them away from the camera.
Now for the close up
For a photograph that’s aim is the make a sale, you’ll also need some professional shots showing off the car’s interiors. Since you’ll be focusing on the details, give your car a thorough interior clean and make sure it’s free from clutter. Align the car seats and lower the headrests to that they’re evenly positioned.
To highlight the illuminated gauges and switches, shoot your interiors from the shade, making sure that the light is even. Again, an overcast day is ideal to avoid any glaring light shining in.
To make sure your wheels are primed for their big photoshoot, drive into your local store for a Magic makeover. Our experts will have your car looking in pristine condition while you concentrate on putting your photography skills to the test.