Complete Guide to Car Photography in 2023
Cars stand for independence, power, and flair, from the svelte chassis lines to the potent engines. And what better way than through photography to capture that essence? The ergonomics of the vehicle must be captured with a camera for automotive photography. It is a distinctive subgenre of photography that aids in showcasing the appeal and character of automobiles. Every automobile shop needs imaginative photography that displays the product’s many qualities.
But without properly organizing auto photography, it won’t be feasible to produce high-impact car graphics. Unfortunately, employing a picture studio and hiring seasoned auto photographers are very expensive. Artificial intelligence-powered photography solutions provide an alternative to that.
Sounds challenging? Well, let’s make things simpler! You are in the perfect place if you want to learn how to take pictures of cars like a pro, regardless of your level of experience. Let’s start reading this manual.
Car photography: What is it?
The art of automotive photography involves taking pictures of cars from various perspectives. To draw the viewer’s attention and let them visualize themselves driving that particular car. The key is to find the ideal balance between an automobile’s essence, beauty, and power so that it may leave a lasting impression. It entails skillfully taking pictures that highlight the distinctive style, svelte lines, and beautiful features of cars.
To produce the best pictures that captivate viewers, every photographer needs to get the best shots of the cars they deal with. This can be done to promote the brand, close a deal, or even leave a message in an admirer’s chamber.
Many styles of car photography
Multiple pictures of a car are taken, showcasing the many aspects of the car. There are a variety of photographic techniques you can try.
Here are some examples of automotive photography:
This formulaic style of photography prioritizes accuracy over aesthetics. Therefore, the primary goal of automotive promotion is to sway the purchasing decisions of car enthusiasts. The likelihood of the car being sold will decrease if an image of it is not shot professionally. To provide every automotive detail, you therefore need to be an expert photographer. Additionally, if used commercially, car photography can cost a lot of money. As a result, you must keep in mind how much cash or resources you have available.
Event Photography for Cars
Expos and auto exhibitions are important occasions to see aesthetically pleasing automobiles. It may take place indoors or outdoors, but photographing an event presents some difficulties. You must exercise extreme patience and wait until the correct time because these activities are frequently crowded. Consider all possible perspectives before selecting the ideal car photography posture for your intended photo shoot. When the chance presents itself and the mob thins out, shoot.
Pictures of racetrack automobiles
Similar to sports photography, photographing vehicles racing on tracks may be challenging. However, with some effort, one can become proficient. Capturing the excitement of the race should be the major focus while taking photographs of fast-moving automobiles. The equipment and camera settings are crucial. You’ll need various angles, kits, and places, whether the race is on asphalt or dirt. In the case of dirt, a quick shutter speed is needed to get freeze-frame pictures of the cars. You will need a quick shutter speed for asphalt, which can range from 1/60s to 1/250s.
Aesthetic photo sessions
However, they solely concentrate on presenting a car in its most attractive light. In order to make auto aficionados drool all over their screens, this entails capturing the body’s curves, modifications (if any), beauty in motion through moving images, etc. For instance, while photographing vehicles on racetracks, prioritize motion photos over all else.
Used car commercials for dealerships
Photographing cars for vehicle display pages and social media posts to advance auto sales is part of this style of photography. These include taking pictures of cars on turntables from all sides so that the car’s details are sharp. Dealerships want to create 360-degree automobile view movies to attract customers and boost sales. You can utilize AI-based solutions, create a studio, or hire a photography crew.
Photographing vintage automobiles
The venue, lighting, camera settings, car details, and angles should all be taken into consideration when taking pictures of vintage cars. Finding such automobiles is an issue that historic auto photo shoots frequently run into. You can learn more about and visit local auto exhibitions. Once you’ve located a vintage or classic car, photograph it using motion and blur to give your picture depth.
The secret to excellent photography is to draw in the spectator and appeal to their emotions. It’s important to know what the goal of your photo shoot is. Is it for commercial purposes? Do you mean stock photography? Are you creating cinematic images for desktops or advertising campaigns, or is your target audience a car buyer?
The procedure can be shortened after the goal has been established. Let’s examine how to take the best possible car pictures.
Best Equipment for Car Photography
To take the best photos, you need the right equipment. Start taking images of vehicles with your camera, but you won’t be able to see the true quality until you have the right tools or gear. possess some familiarity with the camera settings and equipment necessary to produce creative autophotography.
A telephoto lens with a great wide angle for long shoots will be assembled with the equipment. Take the 24-70mm and 35-50mm lenses, for instance, for everyday photography. The cost of photography is so high not only because it features attractive vehicles but also because expensive equipment is required to produce this fine art. Knowing and understanding photography gear can help you save money and provide high-quality photos.
Which Type of Camera Is Best for Photographing Cars?
Photographing an automobile can be difficult. Unusual lighting, reflections, and angles must be considered. Once the vehicle is going, the situation becomes more difficult. This might be a lot easier to handle if you have the best camera at the proper time. Here are some of the top cameras available on the market for taking pictures of cars.
1. Panasonic X-T4
This camera will be the best piece of equipment if panning photography is your interest. It has superb built-in stabilization that gives your photographs intense focus. Every driving maneuver can be swiftly captured while the background is blurred. High-resolution capture is another feature offered by the X-T4. This camera is the best choice for you if you’re thinking of taking pictures of cars as portraits. It is also portable and lightweight.
2. A7R IV by Sony
Even if your attention is diverted from photography, this Sony camera will be your best option. However, the built-in image stabilization will provide you with excellent performance, whether recording or taking pictures of a moving car. This camera is perfect for night driving photography because of the high-resolution sensor’s great advantage in low-light conditions.
3. EOS Rebel-T6 Canon
This camera is the best option if you’re a newbie seeking a device that can produce high-quality images. With its optical viewfinder, which enables you to grab the frame in a high-quality manner and capture the same subject without any decrease in quality, vehicle photography can be rapidly accomplished.
4. Sony Z7 II
Nikon has introduced a mirrorless camera that meets all the requirements for photography. Every car’s details will be seen on a high-resolution full sensor, which also lets you crop the photo as needed. The modest frame rate of this camera is its lone drawback, which makes it difficult to catch moving objects like cars. But if you want to take pictures of stationary cars, use this camera.
What Kind of Lens Is Best for Taking the Best Pictures of a Car?
The techniques will change based on the type of car and the photographer’s level of expertise, even though the overall photography advice stays the same. The type of car being photographed will also affect the best lens to use. There isn’t a great lens for car photography, therefore.
Three popular lenses for photographing automobiles are listed below:
35mm f/1.4: This lens is good for taking still pictures. It provides a wide perspective, so the entire vehicle, as well as the background, may be captured in a single photo without having to stand very far away. With this lens, the bokeh effect can also be produced in the background by utilizing a wide aperture and low f-stops.
70-200mm f/2.8: This lens is perfect for photographing cars at a distance, such as at a racetrack. While you remain at a safe distance, this lens can close in on the action. Use this lens with a quick shutter speed to lessen motion blur.
The 24-70mm f/2.8 is a versatile lens for photography. It can be applied to both wide-angle and up-close shots. Since it is a zoom lens that easily adjusts, it is perfect for taking pictures of moving cars.
Beginners can start with a 50mm lens, which is well-known for being utilized by both amateur photographers and seasoned professionals. Although underappreciated, 50mm car photography can help photographers go outside the box and capture events in a distinctive way. The term “fifty-nifty” is very well-known in the photography community.
You Need Additional Photography Gear
The only tools needed for photography are lenses and cameras. More is required than that. Some photographers need a dedicated automobile studio to obtain the perfect shot, but if you have the necessary tools and know how to utilize them, you won’t even need a studio.
A tripod is the next essential piece of gear to get the job done after getting the camera and lens for the photo session. A tripod can open up new photography perspectives. Your photos will improve as a result. Think about a tripod’s size, weight, and stability before buying one.
Filters are the next big thing that can assist you in improving your photos. This will make it simple for you to regulate the lighting, which will enhance the general caliber of the pictures you take. You can get results from two different filters. ND filters and polarizing filters are two examples of filters. Any glares and reflections that aren’t necessary will be taken out of the picture by polarizing filters. The amount of light entering the camera will be decreased using ND filters. As a result, exposure will increase.
It has an L-shape and is a tripod-friendly mount. This swiftly alters the camera’s direction without affecting the tripod in any way.
4. Memory Sticks
There are two different kinds of cards: a CFexpress card and an SD card. The ideal choice will be SanDisk SD cards because they are the fastest on the market.
5. Further Batteries
If you have a camera, you’ll need a battery, and it’s much preferable to have one extra in your pocket. Some cameras, particularly mirrorless ones, need a lot more battery power than typical cameras.
20 Top Tips for Car Photography
You must become adept at its techniques. It can be scary to take pictures of cars. To assist you in capturing great photographs, we have compiled the most important automobile photography tips and tactics for experienced photographers.
1. Choosing the ideal time of day to shoot
Amateurs start thinking about lighting and reflections right away, while professionals understand that choosing the proper time of day is the first step. Avoiding shooting at midday is one of the simplest bits of advice for vehicle photography that will significantly improve your photos. The intense light might create too many brilliant or dark areas, which improves the appearance of the picture.
Immediately after dusk or shortly before sunrise are the best times to choose. Since there is no direct sunlight, the light is gentle, allowing you to take lovely pictures with stunning visuals. To get a soft-light paint effect with a remote release, a tripod can be helpful. When photographing objects up close, a reflector might be employed.
2. Obtaining suitable equipment
To take amazing car pictures, you must have the correct equipment in your collection. In a photo shoot, your camera and its lenses are your sole trustworthy allies. You’ll need different equipment for various photographic techniques. But you’ll need a DSLR or mirrorless camera, and for those, you’ll need lenses. For the best image quality, think of APS-C or full-frame cameras because they have high ISO capabilities. This makes it possible to take detailed photos of automobile interiors without being concerned that too much noise may degrade the image.
3. Setting the Camera for the Situation
For photos of cars to represent something, the photography settings are crucial. For high-quality captures, the circumstance, environment, and intended effect are key factors. Therefore, be ready with your best camera setting for photography, but keep in mind that settings might change depending on the situation. For instance, the camera setting for night photography would be different than the camera setting used to capture a picture of a car in the sun.
4. Keep an eye out for new vehicles.
You won’t see cars approaching you and asking you to take their pictures. You must look for and keep an eye out for both vehicles and their owners. Owners typically like to have their cars click. All they require is someone to take the ideal pictures. As a result, you must photograph cars in your neighborhood that could produce stunning aesthetic results for you.
5. The car’s color
Vehicles are painted in a variety of colors in the automotive sector. Every hue reflects light differently. Try experimenting with various lighting and color schemes. After you have finished the shots, review them.
6. The finest-looking automobiles achieve the finest outcomes.
The state of the subject is the most important factor in all forms of photography. The object must present its best appearance. The car needs to look its best when being photographed, too. Make sure there are no dents, scrapes, or other flaws because nobody wants to look at them.
7. Get a wide-angle and close-up view.
Don’t spend too much time debating between a close-up and a general view. While taking the picture of the car, try to get both. Your photographs will become more vivid as a result.
8. Improve your photograph using post-processing
One of the most crucial elements of photography is editing. You can bring forth your image’s full potential through editing. Start out simple by including white balance and texture. Then, in the future, you can modify the color.
9. Maintain the dynamism
Maintaining dynamic in automobile photography doesn’t necessitate constant movement of the vehicle. The most dynamic photos of the car can be captured even when it is stationary. All you need to do is approach the car from various directions. Try different ones and see which one produces the greatest image.
10. Utilize nature to your benefit.
Keep the car from being parked randomly in the parking lot. It won’t provide any noticeable results. Let the car interact with the environment. This will give you breathtaking visual assets that draw more viewers.
11. Create a variety of angles
You must approach photography from several angles. When picturing a car, you must approach it from many perspectives. You’ll be able to push past the boundaries and explore the universe of possibilities as a result.
12. Observing reflections and being aware of them
Detail-oriented photography is extremely important when photographing a car. Control what appears in the car’s reflection. Reflections might make it difficult to accurately portray the lines that make up the car’s design. You can take pictures of the reflection of a nearby tree or building on the surface of the car.
You can use an automobile photography studio or an open area to shoot. If the crowded environment is unavoidable, consider taking the picture from a lower perspective. Keep in mind how you look in the mirror of the car as well. To prevent your review from appearing in the picture, use a tripod and set a self-timer.
13. selecting a background
Here is another piece of advice for taking pictures of cars that engage the viewer. Your photograph’s background has an impact on how professional your car photography appears. And even if there may be many preferences when it comes to automobile backgrounds, there are still some guidelines to follow. The star of the photo shoot is your car. Make sure the area you pick doesn’t draw attention away from the issue by being too bright. Although it could be alluring to shoot an automobile against a creative backdrop like graffiti, it is not recommended for the same reason.
The background becomes even more important if you want detailed car photos. Prevent having busy backgrounds. The background noise makes the car appear old-fashioned. Think twice before staging an automobile photo session in front of your garage or on a busy roadway.
14. Taking pictures of the car’s exterior
There are many different kinds of images that you need to capture when photographing a car’s exterior. The exterior photos listed below are ones you must capture while driving a camera:
Automobile window decal
Note: Car model photography is a great way to practice taking exterior photographs of vehicles. The location of the car and how the surroundings affect it are much more in your hands.
15. Taking pictures of the car’s interior
The inside photography of an automobile is just as important as the exterior pictures. Concentrate on interesting patterns and distinct traits. However, there is a challenging aspect to indoor photography. A patchy combination of shade and light can save your auto photography if you park the car in the proper spot.
As a result, start by parking somewhere shaded and bringing portable lighting equipment. You ought to:
Avoid any kind of direct lighting, natural or artificial.
Photograph each component and piece of equipment in the car separately.
Take close-up pictures of the cup holders, shifters, seats, and other distinctive interior details as well as the steering wheel and console.
16. taking nighttime automobile portraits
Night photography comes in a variety of forms, but if you know a few tricks, it is simple. Professionals are aware that nighttime car photos should only be taken in complete darkness; moonlight or lamplight might be challenging to work with. Once you have located the ideal location, mount your camera on a tripod and adjust your automobile photography settings to 30 seconds, ISO 100, and f/9.
You must approach the car while carrying a crucial light source, such as a flashlight, as the shutter opens. This will illuminate the car and enable you to take amazing nighttime pictures of it.
17. Take sweeping pictures
A car is built for performance, speed, and motion. The technique of moving photography requires patience and skill. Take dynamic pictures of the machine as it’s moving to capture it in action. Shutter speed adjustment can enhance the appearance of motion in a photograph. If you want to take panning car photos, you can experiment with the shutter speed. The slower the shutter speed, the blurrier the effect will be, but the quality of the image may suffer as a result of the slower shutter speed. To get greater blur, start at 1/30 sec, or raise it to 1/125 sec to get less blur. Therefore, adjust the shutter speed to your comfort level and taste.
18. observing traffic regulations
This aspect of car photography is frequently overlooked in the rush to finish the job. If the shoot is on the open road, you must abide by the traffic laws.
Place your vehicle on the right side of the road if you are shooting there. Do not leave it parked in a no-parking area. Avoid portraying anything that can lead to legal issues both during and after the photography.
If this occurs, despite your tremendous effort, you won’t be able to use the shots you shoot.
19. Keep ISO as low as you can
Maintaining a low ISO level is crucial to lowering the graininess of your images. You can easily avoid the presence of noise by doing this. Long exposures are a good way to do this, especially if you have a tripod. These actions will considerably raise the caliber of your photos.
20. Oblique or low-angle photos
Instead of photographing your car from eye level, it is far preferable to take it from a high or low angle. You may accomplish this with a tripod or even a stool. The objective is to present the car in a way that adds dynamism and interest. Do think about getting down on your knees and filming from a low angle.
How to get ready for a picture session of automobiles
You will have the ideal schedule once you have gathered all the contacts of car owners that you require. Gather all the information you can on the car, including its make, model, and modifications. This will help you understand what has to be recorded from that car. Afterward, choose a place that complements the vehicle. Any type of landscape or road could alter the appearance of the car. Also, consider the timing of the photo-taking. The hours just before or just after dusk are the finest times.
So, give these photography tips a try to boost your game.
Best Advice for Car Night Photography
There are times when you want to take pictures of a wonderful car, but it is already dark outside, and you have to make the best of the situation.
You can use some of these suggestions to improve your night photography.
Find a natural light source if you’re trying to take a nighttime photo so you can adequately exhibit the car’s intricacies. Depending on the light, set the camera’s aperture to somewhere between f/5 and f/11. Using a slow shutter speed is crucial for taking nighttime photos. Try to keep it in the 5 to 10-second range.
Possess the greatest camera with the best sensor to capture nighttime scenes in low light.
Have a suitable subject and a background that will go well together.
On the whole image, you may apply various filters and effects to give it a visually appealing neon vibe.
Give the photograph a fresh look by using the car’s headlights. When photographing a car at night, headlights can give it an aggressive appearance that many auto enthusiasts enjoy.
Keep in mind to switch the camera to manual mode so you can experiment with different exposure and lighting settings at night.
For nighttime car photography, a shutter speed of between 30 and 60 seconds would suffice.
The function of lighting in professional car photography
The choice of lighting will determine how the image depicts the car’s lines, character, and design. You may get stunning pictures by using quality photography and lighting equipment, as well as by being well-prepared according to the location of the photo shoot. More than just brightness or darkness can be impacted by the lighting quality of a subject. Additionally, it can influence the tone, mood, and atmosphere of the image. Controlling and adjusting the lighting is crucial to capturing the best luminosity, vibrancy, and texture of the automobiles.
The optimum lighting setup for business photography is overhead lighting in a studio. It ensures uniform lighting across the entire vehicle. When scheduling an outdoor photo shoot, consider the time of day. Midday, when the sun is directly overhead, is the best time of day. You can experiment with long-exposure photography at night to create beautiful effects.
However, it should be mentioned that using unusual lighting for commercial photography is a big no-no. But it’s great for photo shoots that are artistic! If you’re seeking photographic inspiration, think about taking dynamic motion pictures, playing with unusual perspectives, and using natural light to draw attention to the vehicles’ sleek lines and intricate features.
How to Find Clients for Your Photography
Photographers of automobiles can be afraid to contact vehicle dealerships and owners. However, bringing a camera to car exhibitions and gatherings is sure to get the attention of automakers and owners who need automobile photography services.
With your knowledge of automobiles, you may connect with car owners who take pride in their rides. You are sure to strike up a rapport with them if you can use lovely images to display their vehicle. Visit auto events, converse with owners, and develop your network by being approachable, outgoing, and professional.
For stunning car images, use SimpSocial AI.
A cutting-edge AI photo editing program is SimpSocial. For consistently accurate results, it uses artificial intelligence to automatically alter your car photographs. Over a hundred photos can be edited in bulk for automobiles while still upholding the highest standards of quality.
Additionally, we offer API and SDK solutions that may be adjusted to meet your photographic and merchandising plans for auto dealerships.
An overview of our AI’s Merchandising goods is shown below:
This online AI photo editor can transform smartphone-taken shots of cars into polished catalog images. Additionally, it enhances the customer’s experience in your virtual showroom and makes your car listing more appealing. You can choose from a variety of backdrops that have been tailored to your brand’s style.
A 360° car spin
In order to capture 360-degree videos traditionally, you must bring your vehicles to the studio and rely on a camera team. A car turntable must also be placed in the studio. It can take a lot of money and time to do this.
With our AI-powered car 360-degree view creation, however, you can quickly take high-quality pictures without assistance from an expert. Your photos are automatically edited by the AI system, and you can receive 360-degree automobile spin videos right away!
Advantages of AI Car Photography
Let’s look at some of the capabilities our virtual car studio offers to easily improve the appeal and engagement of your automobile listing catalogs.
AI-based Background Removal
We automatically identify the edges of the car in your photographs using AI technology, then we eliminate the background. The original stage can then be replaced with one you’ve created yourself or from a selection of stages, guaranteeing uniformity across your library.
Enhancing the quality of images
Where necessary, the software automatically improves the quality of your photographs. You won’t have to put in extra time editing or reshooting photographs for your catalog, which saves you time and resources.
Removal of Unwanted Objects
Make sure the attention stays on the car by removing extraneous items and reflections from your photographs. This draws in your viewers and persuades them to make a purchase.
Dealing with window reflections might be difficult because they can impair the quality of your catalog as a whole. We provide a remedy by enabling you to instantly add a tint to the automobile windows with just one click, enhancing the overall appeal of the pictures.
A number plate’s clarity
The number plate must be blurred or covered up in order to safeguard privacy and reduce the danger of identity theft. By automating this procedure, our AI helps you save time and effort. Additionally, you may trademark yourself by utilizing Darkroom to brand the blurred license plate with your logo.
Images and Editing Tools for SimpSocial AI Cars
Here are the resources you can utilize in order to use the functionalities listed above:
With SimpSocial Console, you may use the Virtual Studio straight from your web browser without having to download or install any additional software.
Android and iOS mobile apps
For iOS and Android smartphones, there is an AI photo editing app. You have access to the virtual studio and the 360-degree spin view tool, which can help you enhance sales by making your car listings more interesting.
It’s difficult to photograph cars. It requires innovation, exertion, a lot of planning, and time. Therefore, the large sums of money that automotive photographers demand are quite justified. However, this does not imply that online vehicle dealers should pass up the chance to discover a less expensive and more creative replacement.
You must choose expert photographers if you want to use creative campaigns and cinematic advertisements to promote your auto business online. Cataloging, however, is an ongoing process. It requires a solution that is scalable, practical, and produces results of high caliber. If you’re looking for solutions to questions like these, SimpSocial is a blessing.
Back to Blog