Shooting Cars – 3 Rules of Car Photography

Steve Edwards Photography Commercial Photography Nottingham

I’ve been taking pictures of cars for quite some time now, and long before I started to get paid for it. The majority of my pictures way back when were of cars that I liked and thought looked cool, they were pretty much all taken at one car show or another. That meant that I had no control over the look of the vehicle or how it was parked, sadly that meant a lot of images that were fine for me to enjoy but of absolutely no other use whatsoever.

I’ve seen some high end automotive sellers with the worst photos and even in some magazines the images could be better so if you’re remotely interested in taking pictures of cars, or you have one you’re selling, it doesn’t matter what sort then here are THREE of my rules of car photography, there are more but I’ll save those for future posts.

Rule 1 – Make sure the front wheels are turned towards the camera

When you take a photo of a car, from the front or the back, it’s important that the front wheels are turned so that the face of the wheel is towards the camera.  That way it not only shows off the rims to their best advantage but the worst site is the width of tread of the tyre on show.  Sometimes, it’s not possible to turn the wheel, if the vehicle is fitted with air suspension for example, but apart from that always ensure the wheels are turned, and look out for reflections if there are chrome hubcaps!

Steve Edwards Photography Commercial Photography Nottingham
Front wheels turned on this front 3/4 shot
Steve Edwards Photography Commercial Photographynottingham
Front wheels on this rear 3/4 shot

Rule 2 – Roll the windows up or down, never halfway

If you’re shooting a hard-topped vehicle then they always seem to look better with the windows rolled up, as always be careful of reflections, but this is generally the case.  With convertibles though the opposite is true and they always look better with the glass out of sight.

Steve Edwards Photography Commercial Photography Nottingham
Windows up on this cool Bay Window
Steve Edwards Photography Commercial Photography Nottingham
Windows down on this Audi convertible at Colwick Hall

And finally, Rule 3 – Never shoot the shady side of the vehicle.

You’d think that was common sense to shoot the sunny side of any vehicle and to be honest, it so easy to overcome if you are with the driver on location, simply turn the car around!

Steve Edwards Photography Commercial Photography Nottingham
Shot using just natural light on the sunny side

Of course there are more than these, but they will give you a good start, in future posts I’ll cover others including polarising filters and off body flash.