Creating the perfect car photo is simply about applying the same rules of good photography that you have already learned. While many people take pictures of cars, very few can create memorable images that tell a story, inspire emotion or capture an essence that represents what makes that car special. Professionals like Bruce Weber Photographer, know that a well-composed photo is a key to a successful image, and once you have learned how to take a great picture of your car, you can start practicing on other subjects.
A good place to start taking photos of cars is by taking them outside. A garage or dimly lit indoor space will not do justice to the color of your car, so try to find an open space with plenty of natural light. Any outdoor setting works well because the sunlight will bring out the detail in your car’s exterior design, but avoid locations that are too busy or have harsh shadows. Instead, choose a location where you can create good compositions by including simple background elements such as trees, buildings, or even a simple fence line. Also, park your car in an area that is flat and level so that you can capture the true shape of your vehicle.
It would be best if you also took care to choose a time of day when there will be clear skies because there are fewer distractions in the sky than during other parts of the day. A good rule of thumb for choosing the right time to shoot is to pick at least one hour before sunset or after sunrise when the sky will be less likely to have dramatic lighting. If possible, shoot on an overcast day with no chance for rain because photographing your car in poor weather can ruin all of your hard work, whereas the right conditions will ensure that you get a successful shot.
Many professional car photographers use a very simple tool to create great pictures, and you can do the same with nothing more than a sturdy tripod and a cable release. The equipment is inexpensive and will help you take blur-free photos to make your composition as sharp as possible. If your camera does not have a built-in timer, then purchase a cable release to keep the camera steady during the long exposure. It would help if you also used a sturdy tripod so that your car is completely motionless when you take the photo because even the slightest movement can ruin an otherwise great picture.
After preparing for your shoot, the next step is to decide on your composition. Since cars are often photographed from eye level, begin by placing the car in a central position that fills the frame and then angle your camera from one side to create a well-balanced composition. Remember that symmetry can be very effective when photographing cars, so you should use a tripod to keep both sides of your vehicle perfectly aligned in relation to each other. This is especially important if you have any writing or pinstriping on your car because it will be very obvious if the image is off-center.
You should also pay attention to what you include in your composition, and there are several different ways to capture details, such as wheels, hubcaps, or door handles. You can focus on one specific area of the car using a wide aperture and a slow shutter speed, or you can get creative by including the reflections from mirrors or windshields. A unique perspective can also be created by photographing your car through a fence rail, a telephone pole, or even a chain-link fence for an interesting twist.