Setting Up Your Camera for the Best Vehicle Photos

The most efficient way for fans or customers to virtually experience cars is through photographs. Through automotive photography, people may bring their love of vehicles to life while arousing their curiosity and teaching them about the numerous features of the car. The photographer needs to be aware of the settings for automotive photography in order to give the spectator the impression that they are driving.

Most people find vehicle photography to be a hard and enjoyable hobby, but other people use it as a source of income. Images are essential for internet merchants. According to Cox Automotive research, 90% of automobile buyers value photos highly. In contrast, 40% of customers are likely to buy a car based on pictures they see online, without actually seeing the car.

Additionally, customer engagement on your website is impacted by the number of automobile photos per vehicle, particularly at the level of the vehicle description page.

In this blog, we’ll look at some of the greatest camera settings for vehicle photography, which will help photographers get better at their craft.

How do camera settings work?

The camera settings that help control various aspects of an image that is taken are referred to as car photography settings. You, as a car photographer, must comprehend how your camera functions in order to take the greatest possible images of cars. The exposure triangle, or the three cornerstones of photography, are ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. White balance, focus, image format, noise reduction, stabilization, and other options can be available to you, and mastering them will produce excellent photographic results.

The shutter speed determines the length of the exposure, the ISO speed determines how sensitive the camera’s sensor is to a specific amount of light, and the aperture determines the area over which light may enter the camera.

There are also actual vehicle photography settings, such as the choice of lenses. With less magnification and detail, a vehicle photography lens with a short focal length will have a larger field of vision.

Why is it necessary to change the camera settings when photographing cars?

To capture stunning car photography, your camera’s settings must be correct and properly adjusted. Cars, unlike the majority of other popular products, have windows and windscreens that are glossy and reflecting. This makes dealing with reflections when taking pictures of cars quite difficult.

If the automobile photography settings are not properly adjusted, you will produce blurry, lifeless-looking car shots that are unsuitable for upload to your digital platforms. Additionally, you will have to pay to have the car again photographed.

You must take into account a variety of elements while choosing the ideal camera settings for car photography, including the setting, the car’s angle, and position, the light exposure, whether the vehicle is stationary or moving, etc. You must be aware of these settings as a photographer to acquire images of cars that look good.

How dark or bright an image will look when it is photographed depends on the exposure. To make things simpler for you, you can also use preset settings for car photography. In addition, you require the best lens for taking pictures of cars.

When you’re through, you’ll have spotless car photographs that will garner the greatest interest anywhere you post them, whether it’s on social media, automotive retail platforms, or even car wallpaper websites!

Below, we’ve listed some camera setting suggestions for several sorts of automotive photography to help you get the finest camera setup for taking stunning pictures.

Which camera settings work best for car photography?

Let’s examine the ideal camera settings for driving pictures under various conditions:

1. Ideal camera settings for taking daytime automobile photos

Overall, the following are the ideal camera settings for automotive photography:

Reduce the aperture to f/8 and higher if you want to maintain the background and the automobile in sharp focus.

Pick a wide aperture between f/2.8 and f/5 if you want the background to be blurry.

Affect the ISO according to your shutter speed and aperture, keeping it above 100.

Select auto white balance to improve your automobile shots. If you take the photos in RAW format, you can also alter this after the fact.

How warm or cool the colors develop in your image depends on the white balance, also known as color temperature, that you select on your camera.

2. Camera settings for night driving

We can get stunning photographs at night that are occasionally even more alluring than those taken during the day. Long shutter speeds and a low ISO are essential for taking fantastic nighttime automobile pictures.

The long shutter speed allows the camera to capture more light, and a low ISO maintains a clear image. The longer the shutter remains open, the better your picture looks. However, this also means any minor movement while the shutter is open will ruin your car photos.

Car photographers should carry a tripod to keep the camera stable during long exposures. You can also use the camera’s timer or remote switch to avoid accidentally shaking the camera by pressing the shutter button.

Now that your camera is steady on the tripod, use the following camera settings for night photography:

Put your camera in manual mode.

Use long shutter speeds, specifically between 30 to 60 seconds.

Set the aperture around f/11 and use a low ISO, specifically around 100 or 200.

Set the white balance camera setting to auto.

Voila! You’ll get tremendous results for night photography with these camera settings. Alternatively, you can use lighting equipment to brighten up the subject appropriately.

3. Camera setting for taking motion car photography

Motion car photography is a whole different ball game when it comes to the level of difficulty. Motion car photography requires patience, but the results are worth your effort.

Moving car photography settings:

Use a faster shutter speed at 1/125 or quicker. The speed you choose should depend on the availability of light. If you are shooting in broad daylight, crank up the speed for increased detail and less motion blur.

Pan the camera side to side to follow the car’s motion.

Note that if the shutter speed is fast enough, it will compensate for the vehicle’s motion and the direction of your arms as you try to capture the moving vehicle in time.

You need to sharpen their timing and instincts for using the panning technique. Additionally, consider investing in a monopod or gimbal for stability in tracking. It will help you move the camera around smoothly with the connected arm, following the action without any hassle.

4. Camera setting for capturing indoor car photography

The best way to capture your car indoors is to use a tripod that keeps your camera steady, so you can adjust your shutter speed with low ISO to compensate for dim lighting conditions. Alternatively, you can use car photography lighting equipment to brighten up the Car Photography Studio. Use these camera settings for indoor car photography:

Use an aperture of f/4 or less for portraits and f/11 for wider shots.

Keep the ISO around 100, increasing or lowering it as per your requirements.

Select the ‘white balance present’ or choose a custom setting that suits your lighting conditions.

You can also shoot in RAW photo format to avail better editing. In cases where using a tripod is impossible, keep your shutter speed to at least 1/100 to escape the blurry camera shake effect!

5. Camera setting for taking outdoor car photography

The first thing to consider and think about when taking static car photos outdoors is the depth of field (DOF). Decide if you want a shallow DOF, which makes the car the only sharp object in the photograph, or if you want a deeper one, to include the background where the vehicle is parked. In the latter case, increase the aperture to f/8 or higher.

Use a wide-angle lens or stand at a reasonable distance to get a perfect outdoor shot of the car. The DOF will automatically deepen when you’re further away from the car, even if you shoot at an f/2.8 aperture.

Useful Tips for Improving Your Car Photography

Camera settings will help you with car photography, but these Car Photography Tips are just the cherry on the cake!

1. Opt for the Bokeh Effect

Elements in the background often create a distraction in the photograph. The Bokeh effect can neutralize the distraction and blur the background. To achieve this, set the aperture below f/4. You can also take closer shots of the car or extend the focal length to increase the DOF.

2. Pair a wide-angle lens

Using the best camera for automotive photography and a wide-angle lens will help you capture the entire vehicle in detail. It will give you enough space to include the surroundings (if you want to), which is excellent for branding if you want to include your storefront or brand banner in the images.

3. Panning effect for motion blur

Panning is the best option for capturing a moving car. For panning, you must set the camera on a tripod (with a freely movable head) or a gimbal, lower the shutter speed to 1/60 and follow the vehicle as it moves around.

4. Shoot the car from different positions and angles

Shooting the car from different positions and angles will give you plenty of good pictures, some of which might be unique and pretty.

To capture the best angles for car photography, try shooting from a low perspective to emphasize the car’s presence and sleekness, experiment with side profile shots to highlight its contours, and consider aerial shots to showcase its surroundings and create a dynamic composition.

If you want to take things to the next level, use drones for high-level shots, or perhaps set your equipment up in another car!

5. Reflections are your enemy

Unless it’s not a deliberate creative choice, reflections are the foremost photograph-ruining factor. Cars usually have shiny bodies, due to which it is difficult to avoid reflections from different angles during a photoshoot

You can also use cameras attached to light meters and polarizers to control reflections. You can also avoid them by shooting inside a studio, where the light sources are all under your control.

6. Creative Composition

Image composition depends on your creativity; however, a creative car photography composition makes your car emerge as the main character of the photographs, as it rightly should. Experiment with light exposure, the selected frame, and the surrounding elements to get the best shot. You can also choose a theme for your photoshoot, one that matches your car or defines it, and then shoot accordingly.


With these camera setting recommendations and additional tips, there’s no stopping you from acing car photographs as a car retail business! Remember, the best car photography settings will help you get the best result. The more you practice and experiment, the better your photoshoots will be!

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