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Effective Car Photography

Taking photographs of your car can be fairly simple, if you observe a few steps.  There are a couple of main approaches to photographing your vehicle.
Look And Shoot.  This is pretty simple; you look in your viewfinder and shoot pictures of everything interesting that you can see. This is a quantity vs. quality approach; you can take literally hundreds of shots, of which only a few may be high quality.  But this is a good approach for beginners especially, and with some practice it is possible to achieve some rather great results.

Plan And Shoot. This is for the intermediate to expert photographer.  It is also fairly simple, and involves thinking through what you want to take a picture of.  You run through the steps of what you want to accomplish in your head, and only after you have an effective plan in mind do you pick up your camera and start to shoot.

If photography is still fairly new to you the best place to start is to think about what kind of photos you wish to take.  Think composition, do you want to be high tech, or lyrical?  Maybe you want to have a landscape shot combined with your car photo.  Only by taking a few minutes to think about what you want your car photo to look like when you are done can you achieve the kind of results most car lovers want in their photographs.

Sometimes it helps to give your car a personality, if only for your shot composition.  Think of your car as an animate thing, and then try to imagine how to best capture that on film.  You can concentrate on physical silhouette, and highlight the outline of the car including reflections, mirrors and headlights.  There are a lot of different approaches to car photography, you need to think of the approach that will work best and accomplish what you are trying to capture.  Car photography is all in the details, and if you focus on some of these details, you will wind up with original and interesting photos.

Reflection. When you photograph a car, there is almost always a reflection, somewhere on the car.  Different angles and lighting gives different reflections.  Your cars reflection can be something you accentuate, or something you try to eliminate.  Try experimenting with different filters, different lighting, and sometimes the reflection shots you wind up with will show a lot of dynamics and perspective.  Different filters highlight different details and mute others.

Surfaces and Textures.  Use the different surfaces of your car to bring out different type of personality in your photos. Remember as you become more aware of the elements and appearance of your car that things you wish to highlight can be accentuated with filters, and things you wish to leave out can be toned down or almost eliminated.  The photographs you see in car magazines are done with very precise metering and equipment, which can be very expensive.  But with a little bit of experimentation, you can make the surfaces and varied textures of your car work to your advantage in photographing it.

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