The techniques of photography vary based on the subject. The skills and techniques a nature photographer uses are much different than someone who takes pictures of cars. Light, angles and composition are important in all forms of photography. Make any car shine in your photographs with these simple tips.
Build your photography portfolio by photographing your own car. Get out some lights, tripod and show off your wheels for potential clients. However, if your subject isn’t in good condition, no amount of angles, deliberate light or even PhotoShop will make it look like anything other than a lemon. Make sure your ride is in tip-top condition. Give it a wash and wax, replace dented or cracked side mirrors, and if your tires look worn, it may be time for new ones. High-end tires not only handle better, they also look the part. If you have a sports car, some high-performance tires can make your car look sleek and fast. If you have a truck, some all-terrain tires look rugged enough, but don’t ruin your ride when on pavement. While your local tire shop is convenient, you’ll find a much larger selection online. Tirebuyer.com has name brands like Kumho commonly on rebate, and can deliver your tires to a certified installation specialist free of charge.
Time of Day: The time of day makes a huge difference in how your photographs turn out. The best time to photograph cars is directly after sunset (or minutes before sunrise). Why? There’s hardly any glare reflected off the car at the time. This is called a soft-light condition.
Reflections: Most cars will reflect what is around them. Keep this in mind. If you don’t want reflections on the surface of your car, take photographs with a wide open space behind you, like a large parking lot or field. If you shoot around tall buildings or trees, the reflections on the car can ruin the designed lines of the car.
Action Shots: Take a picture of a moving car from another moving car. At around 40 mph you’ll need your camera at a shutter speed of 1/100th of a second. This will keep the subject in focus, but blur the surroundings.
Angles: The angles you take are all about your subject. Learn what features of the car stand out and are unique, then emphasize these. By shooting at various angles you can make cars look intimidating, sleek, stylish or rugged.
Rule of Thirds: This should really be called “The Thirds Guideline,” as you won’t always, nor should you always, follow this rule. The rule of thirds is a way for photographers to remove the subject of their image from the center of the photograph. It encourages the photographer to set the scene with two thirds of the image, the last third is reserved for your subject and will draw the eye of the viewer.
Night Shoot: This might sound difficult, but the secret is to find a completely dark area for the shoot. A single streetlight, or even a full moon can ruin your shoot. When you have your spot, set up your camera on a tripod. The ISO of your camera should be at 100, the shutter speed at 30 seconds, and the aperture at f/9. Once the shutter is open, take a strong source of light, like a flashlight, and illuminate your subject as much as possible from different angles before the shutter closes in 30 seconds.