Three Easy Tips To Take Great Photos Of Your Car!
Let’s look at simple improvements you can do to make your car photos look professional even with your standard cell phone camera! The real lesson here is that you don’t need a fancy DSLR $1,000 camera to have nice car photos, it just takes a little bit of thought.
Let us take a step by step look at how we can get those camera shots positioned correctly but also tips and tricks on how to make your photos look professional without the expensive price tag.
Tip #1: Clean Your Ride!
Pictures can hide a lot of dirt and grime. In order to really have a crisp looking ride, it’s best to give it a wash and remove the layer of dust on it. Clean up all the chrome and wheels so everything shines brightly.
Tip #2: The Background
You just pulled your car out of the garage and shined it up, and you want to capture it. Parking it in front of a dumpster or trash can is not going to make it look good. Instead, find a road less traveled, open field, open parking lot, or any place that offers a scenic view. This will give you a good backdrop, and fewer reflections in the paint of the car.
Even when you do find that perfect spot, look through your camera and see what the camera sees. Is there a porta-potty in the background? Is there some trash laying around that could be easily moved? Is there somebody standing off to the side that you could politely ask to move? You want the background to enhance the car, not take the attention away.
Awareness of lighting is key as well. If possible you always want the sun or light source behind you. This will brighten the car with fewer shadows. Versus the sun being the picture, this will create shadows and the bright sun flare spots. Ideally the best times to shoot are during the “golden hour.” This is when it’s light out right before the sun rises, and right after the sun sets. The picture above was taken during the “golden hour.”
Tip #3: Framing Your Photo
Framing your photo is by far the most important tip that we can give you. Poor lighting or poor background doesn’t even matter if you can’t see the car! Imagine taking a family photo and you cut off everybody’s heads – don’t do that with your car! Too many shots don’t shot the whole car when they should. Sure there are some more artistic shots, but for a beginner focus on keeping the entire car in frame.
Most cell phones nowadays have what is called an auto-focus setting. This tells your camera where to focus its attention. When using this, most androids or apple products will have you take your finger and press on the screen to activate auto-focus. Depending on where you press is where it will focus. If you press the middle of the screen it will focus there, and if you press the bottom the focus will adjust to the bottom. What you want to focus on is the part of the car that’s closest to you.
The easiest and best shots to take are called “3/4 shots.” This is where you can see roughly 3/4 of the car. Think of it this way – in these shots you can usually see the front, the side, and most of the roof of the car. These shots will show the most of the car and tell the best story about your ride. A front and rear 3/4 shot is going to be your best bet.
A good helpful tip for a great picture with minimal experience is simply a matter of holding your cell phone horizontally instead of vertically! This orientation will help to frame the car.
However, a common mistake that can be made is your fingers may get in the way. Double-check in your camera screen that your fingers are not interfering with the camera lens!
Examples for rear-end photos.
Side shot with an angle. Always remember to turn the wheel in to give it a more dramatic affect. Don’t be afraid to try different angles and views to get different pictures of your ride. Here are some examples:
Bonus Tips For Engines and Interiors
The engine is a little different from the car shots because you don’t want too much light. When the sun is beaming down, it is going to create glare, shadows, and all sorts of weird distortions. Overcast days or a shaded spot would do best. So open up the hood and hold your phone up high above to engine bay to get the full shot. If you have a specific area you’d like to show off, get in close to capture it.
Most people just take photos of the outside of the car, but you have worked hard to restore the interior too, so why not show it off? While these photos are tricky, there are a few tips and angles that will help you out. Don’t take photos while in the car. There is not enough space. Instead open the car door and stand outside.
You can also roll your windows down and stand outside, to get some good shots. Always remember to have good lighting, the interior photos always come out darker as the roof is blocking lots of light.
Go Give It A “Shot!”
Those are the simple tips and tricks that will help you get great car photos to show off that American Muscle! You can take it a step further and get awesome close up of emblems, wheels, grills, and even close up of interior items.
Remember the basics and have fun! When you get a great shot, be sure to send it in to us – we love to see your rides!