The Definitive Manual for Interior Car Photography

We are aware of how important automotive images are when considering a purchase. Since a car buyer only has visuals when making an internet purchase, clicking high-quality car photographs is not an option; it is a must. automotive exterior photography is frequently the focus of automotive photographers, who neglect to capture any pictures of the inside of the car.


Keep in mind that a car buyer will spend 95% of their time inside the vehicle. Any inconsistency in the details will not just result in discontent. Even worse, it might ruin the sale. Interior photo shoots are crucial for your online retail channels because of this. You should be aware that 63 percent of automobile buyers base their initial choices on images from your dealership’s website and social media. The use of images is essential when selling cars online.


This blog will cover the A-Z of shooting car interiors, including what it is, why it is important, how to do it, and some interior photography tips and methods to master shooting car inside shots. Let’s start now.


What is interior automotive photography?


Car interior photography is the process of capturing the fine elements of your car’s inside, such as the steering wheel, dashboard, center console, seats, etc. Owners of cars spend the majority of their time inside, thus to properly assess their purchase, they need inside photos. When photographing car interiors, there are a plethora of things to take into account. Lighting, color, reflections, and more are all present. Since the interior of the automobile is typically gloomy, it can be more difficult to get the perfect photo and apply studio-like effects.


Therefore, perfecting the technique of using flash, light, and lenses for the appropriate car component at the correct time is crucial for all car photographers, dealers, and sellers. Before you join the trend, have a look at these facets of automobile interior photos.


Why Do You Need Images of Car Interiors?


A automobile buyer will spend more than half their time driving it, as was already established. Imagine that there are two photos of an SUV: one taken at night and focusing only on the wheels and headlights, and the other photographing the entire SUV, including the body panels, headlights, rearview mirror, engine, seats, deck, etc. Which one are you going to pick?


Additionally, the close-up photos of the car prove its trademark qualities in addition to providing a clear glimpse of its features. Giving a glimpse of the interior of the car becomes essential.


According to MDG Advertising research, viewers’ receptive abilities can be improved by good visuals by a whopping 65%. Imagine the impact a high-quality image, such as a thorough inside photo, may have on your sales. Auto shops typically hire professionals to manage their photography to ensure outcomes, but anyone can take these images if they are aware of a few helpful techniques. This blog offers a few suggestions to make car interior photography simpler for internet retailers.


How are interiors of cars photographed?


We’ll separate automobile interior pictures into different categories to make it easier for you to grasp. Let’s start by learning how to take the best inside photos of vehicles.


How do you get the ideal interior automobile photo?


Usually, a car’s interior is dark because the windows are tinted or closed. That can be avoided with the aid of helpful illumination or a gentle flash. To let in more light, open the windows and the doors. Similarly, adjust the camera’s settings appropriately. Typically, you need a slower shutter speed for automobile interior photographs because the interior is darker. You only have a little additional light to work with. You probably won’t be able to use a tripod, so you’ll also need to learn how to stabilize your camera.


Additionally, backseat-equipped vehicles can make inside shots simpler, whereas two-seaters might necessitate complicated camera arrangement to get the required effect. Roll the windows down or open the door and shoot through to get interior photos from the outside. Try different settings on your camera to find the ones that work best for car photography. Understanding your camera is the key, and knowing what ISO you can go up to in specific circumstances without getting too much chaos and grain is crucial.


Apart from this, detail shots are critical for the car inside pic. Any distinctive features, such the stitching on the chairs, should be noted. Car lovers love images with eye-catching details.


Soft lighting can do wonders when shooting still photos, like car interior images. Use this method to start your car interior photo session with a basic one-light setup. It works with almost any camera and lens (based on the lens, you’ll need to take your composition and subject distance into account).


You would need a simple softbox plus a Speedlight that can be activated off-camera. If you don’t have someone to help you hold the softbox while you capture, you’ll also require a light stand and perhaps a boom arm to place the light precisely.


Speaking of the basic setup, you may only need to put the light from the opposite side of the object. According to the vehicle, you can turn the wheel or take the roof off. Also, remember that you can unlock doors to position your camera precisely.


Additionally, you can alter your location and composition and try a few more photographs if the exposure appears to be good. No matter where you place the camera, the exposure will remain constant as long as the light doesn’t change.


Now, why does this work? A delicate and supple highlight is cast on all surfaces when it is pointed at by the softbox, which transforms the small Speedlight into a vast soft light. Bring the light close without intruding into the frame for the best results.


After shooting with light from above, try shooting with light coming from the side and behind, and then do it again while switching sides. You won’t need to adjust the exposure. Position the light such that it is roughly at eye level with the subject.


How to use light painting to shoot vehicle interior?


Light painting is generally used for shooting car exteriors. However, few people know that it can also add an edge to car interior photography.


Car interiors are simple to photograph with a single light source and a remote shutter. As is well known, a successful picture in commercial photography is the result of combining several images. One of the popular techniques is light painting using a continuous light source.


You can use a FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS lens and operate your smartphone camera. You can also use an LED Light Stick for light painting. Then select the best photographs in editing software like Adobe Photoshop after capturing different such images.


You can test this technique with various continuous light sources, even with homemade light shapers, as it is both simple and exploratory. Good results are a sure thing with correct selection and combination.


What items will you need to shoot car inside images?


To shoot the perfect car-inside images, you will need three things:


Scrim is a lightweight, strong fabric material placed between the light source to diffuse or reduce brightness. Its correct usage can do wonders for your car photography. When using a scrim, place the light source closer to the diffusion fabric to create a larger and softer light.


A lens polarizer


A lens polarizer will help you eliminate the reflections and shimmers caught by mirrors and glass. By using a polarizing filter, you can reduce distracting reflections on the bodywork and make the blues in the sky appear more intense. They are incredibly affordable and can assist in improving various images, so anyone interested in taking pictures of cars and landscapes should get one.


A light source


A camera flash and light bars are a must before you start shooting car interior images. Flashes help light up the gloomy interiors and highlight colors of different details. However, try to use a softer flash to get good lighting without any harsh shadows. Too powerful flashes will create white lines on the leather or plastic, refraining you from getting a smooth interior look.


What features do you need to highlight in your car interior photos?


Comfort and convenience are everything when it comes to car interiors. Focus on the must-have features to build priority over reliability, cost, or brand loyalty. Here are the top features that you should focus on when shooting your vehicle’s interior:




The instrument cluster and steering wheel




Cupholders and armrests (if available)




Infotainment system


Third-row seating (if available)


Highlight features (heated/cooled seats, navigation system, rear-seat entertainment system)


Consider buying a 360-degree camera for car interior 360 photoshoots. A complete spin view of your vehicle’s inside will help shoppers experience it virtually.


Some interior design ideas for car-inside pictures


Your numerous filters and lighting will fail to create an impression if it’s not decked up perfectly, contains wear and tear everywhere, or isn’t good to look at. Here are some interior design ideas before you kick start the car interior photography.


Putting new car seat covers


Replacing the seat coverings in your automobile with new, fashionable ones is the simplest option. Numerous colors, species, and designs are available for these upholstery covers. Any cool design from sports teams, superheroes, or other variations might be incredibly effective.


Cover steering wheels with attractive fabric


Covering your steering wheel with a premium wrap – leather or fabric – is a great way to attract buyers toward the dashboard. Additionally, steering wheel covers come in a variety of styles that can enhance the vehicle’s aesthetic appeal.


Including all-weather floor mats


Floor mats are the next visible element in your car. In addition to serving as decoration, it shields the floor panel from dirt. You can choose from several textures, hues, and materials for floor mats to suit your preferences.


LED light strips


This specific idea for car décor will help you give a lounge-like atmosphere inside the vehicle. Present-day premium vehicles frequently have ambient lighting already installed. However, using the inexpensive but stylish LED lights on the dashboard and under the panel can add even more oomph to the aesthetics.


Infotainment screens


The majority of luxury car interiors come with infotainment screens already in place. Some vehicles (or their sub-variants) will have them; however, you may easily replace these OEM components with aftermarket ones that look better and have more functionality. You can choose from a variety of options for communication and entertainment, including large touchscreens, radios, navigation systems, etc.


Repair/install USB plug-ins


A USB plugin port is useful since it allows you to charge your gadget while you’re on the road at any time. These USB ports may power your smartphones or other devices or plug into the auxiliary input of the audio system.


Best practices to remember


When applied in commercial photography, car interior photos help highlight minute interior details, resulting in intriguing car photography composition. So, remember to choose a form or feature and think of a refreshing method to display it. Here are a few things to give a shot:


Search for unique textures, patterns, or shapes. If you use covers for steering wheels or shiny floor mats, focus on them. Good car interior designs can give you a lot to choose from.


To fill the frame, choose an object (such as an emblem or knob) and come up close. If you add too many interior details, your car’s inside pic could lose the distinct focal point.


Try taking a landscape photograph from the windscreen or a pane, and play around with framing your image from the inside.


Tips and Tricks to Get the Best Car Interior Images


By now, you must have understood the nuances of car interior photography. To help you create top-notch car inside images, here are a few interior Car Photography Tips and tricks to follow.


The perfect location


Choosing a good location is critical even for interiors because you can still see what’s beyond the windows. Try to find a good location or shoot in a studio, to ensure that nothing distracting is visible. The optimal aperture for indoor photography is around F/4, allowing you to blur away any background coming in through the windows.


Cover as much as possible


Ensure you highlight every critical part of the vehicle, including the seats, tailgate, and everything else in between. For this, you can carry a list of necessary standard things and analyze if you require anything specific (it can be cup holders, a center console, or charging plug points).


Light up all the automotive interiors


Use a scrim and light bar for this. During the daytime, the sun can cast hot spots and areas of strong contrast, resulting in uneven lighting in your car interior photos. Making the dark areas soft using a scrim will help dilute some of the sun’s natural light.


Also, if you are shooting in the dark, you can use an Ice Light. You can either mount it on a stand or use it as a conventional light to focus the light where you want it to be. Trouble locations are typically foot wells, where heavy shadow lives, and windows that reflect the light. So be careful while capturing such elements.


Night-time shots for a car’s inside pics


LED accent lights are widely used in contemporary automobiles. Use them as much as possible to create a lovely effect. Of course, you need to experiment a lot to discover the best night Car Photography Camera Settings.


Night car interior


Here’s a cool idea: Try timing your exposure while running the engine at a high RPM with the tachometer whirling. Finally, take a picture of the windshield with a complete view from the back seat. Increase ambient lighting while keeping the illumination low.


Varying shots for interiors


Car interior photography need not be monotonous. Change your lens angle to capture various points, just like you would for the exterior. Shoot the steering wheel while seated in the back seat over the shoulder of the person in the front. Get closer to the subject, so the seat in front of you is blurry and adds dimension to the photograph. Alternately, crouch down right in front of the open door on the driver’s side and aim upward at the wheel. Your shot will appear more heroic.


Try the SimpSocial AI App for Interior Car Photography


Car interior photography is no rocket science! If techniques, effects, elements, and all these concepts feel overwhelming, you are in for a surprise. With the help of state-of-the-art, in-built, and zero-effort AI capabilities like SimpSocial, you can create studio-like high-impact car interior images.


You maintain accurate light and brightness by following the on-screen guide.


The overlay sketch helps you capture all relevant details from an accurate distance.


You choose from over 100+ backgrounds for your car images.


You can also apply customized backgrounds with one tap.


Most importantly, you save time and editing costs through automated editing, processing hundreds of images at one go!


Not just interior, you can shoot high-quality car exterior pictures as well, along with a complete 360-degree spin view.


Final Word


Car interior photography may not land you as many likes or shares as a vehicle’s exterior shots, but it is critical for online sales conversions. When all relevant details are available on your online retail channels, shoppers can accurately evaluate the car virtually. With these tricks and tips, along with AI-led photography platforms like the SimpSocial AI app, you can create high-quality and lead-converting car inside images and win more hearts.

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