top tips for taking pictures of your car
if you're selling your car yourself, a lot will depend on the picture you post. or maybe you just want a great picture of your pride and joy. either way, these top tips should help you get the best shot.
Choose your weapon and get your hands on the best camera you can - however, ultimately it's your creativity that will make the difference. So whether you're shooting on an iPhone or a vintage film camera, get to know the camera inside out. Learn the different features (and limitations) of your camera and play with them. Grab a tripod, or if you don't have one, a roll of gaffer tape.
2. Clean your car
Get it clean, or play with the unexpected. Most of the time you'll want to make sure your car is clean, but sometimes a sports car covered in mud or an off-roader waxed to death is more interesting.
Look at the features of your car, the shape, the leading lines that draw attention, and how the light can change from a profile to a three-quarter shot. Play with symmetry and patterns, fill the frame with your subject, and consider whether your setting can naturally frame your car. Once you've done this, change your perspective and look for something less typical and more abstract.
4. Clean your image
Once you have a simple framing in my viewfinder and you've considered what's in the foreground, background, and middle of the image all at once, look out for reflections, clutter, and anything that distracts or stands out and needs to be taken out of frame. What's the focus of the shot and what doesn't need to be in the frame?
5. Sequence and shot list
At a chosen location, you'll often have a limited amount of time and having a shot list can make sure you don't miss anything. Even if you're capturing shots purely for fun, visualise a sequence of shots that could tell a story or at least show your car's best and most interesting features.
6. Hero shot
What's that one angle of your car that you love more than any others? Sometimes it's the details that you stare at while you're driving, or that last look before heading into your home. It's often details that capture peoples' attention. Challenge yourself: if you only had one shot to tell the story of your car, what would it be?
Use that big ball of fire in the sky. What time of day are you capturing the shot and how will the sun's lighting affect the mood? Generally, you want to avoid the middle of the day when the sun is at its highest and the light is harsh. Shooting at the golden hour (an hour before sunset or after sunrise) will give you softer lighting, though ideally, you'll want to use a tripod to stay sharp. Use the practical lighting around a location: street lights on an empty road, brake lights against a wall, or another car's headlights pointed at the subject.
Make sure your background contrasts and complements your car rather than detracting from it, not only with colours but with shapes. What do you have access to that can make the car stand out, or help to make it the centre of attention?
Tracking from another car is always a lot of fun, but before you start hanging out of your friend's boot, make sure what you're doing is safe. While professionals shoot on closed roads, with safety harnesses and paramedics on standby, you can achieve a similar effect with a slow shutter and shooting your car from another, travelling at the same slow speed on a private road. Safety is a number one consideration on any shoot, so if you can't do this safely, look at creating movement from a static position as the car goes by. Prepare to have a lot of blurry and rubbish shots, but the more you experiment, the more likely you'll get something interesting and different.
10. Make it human
Any time you can add a human factor that helps to support the shot or the story, go for it. Know what you want your talent to do (whether that's your best friend's mum or your older sister). Have the car ready to go and the shot list in your head, so you can focus on making it as fun and energetic as possible. The more fun you can have doing this, the more chance you'll have of getting something unique and interesting to share.