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10 Car Photography Ideas to Get You Inspired

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Car Driving

Did you just buy a car and want to capture its fantastic exterior and interior? In that case, either hire a photographer or pick a camera and start shooting.

However, if you want your car photography to turn out spectacular, you may need to find some inspiration before planning a shoot. For instance, you should know which angles to cover, what parts to capture more and how to highlight your attachment with your vehicle.

If that seems like a lot of work, fret not. In this discourse, let’s look at ten car photography ideas that will help you make this shoot a perfect one. If you are ready to capture your best car photos, dig in.

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The 10 Ideas for an Impressive Car Photoshoot

Whether you need to post these pictures in your social media profile or sell them for an ad in a car catalog, the ideas below will also come in handy. Take a look!

1. Capture the Car’s Exterior


One of the first things you may want your car fans to see is the exterior of your vehicle. To make sure you do justice to that, capture it using a wide lens. A wide lens helps cover the entire car in one frame without compromising the quality of the photo.

Also, if possible, take the photo from below. This enhances the image’s perspective, ensuring that the entire object is showcased in the best possible way.

When capturing the car’s exterior, don’t forget to highlight specific details that you may want to make prominent. For instance, the car’s rims, logo, and other imperative features that add value.

If you want to pose with your car, place the camera in such a way that the image shows you and the exterior both. Either stand in front of the car as the vehicle has a clear background or stand with the opened door while the camera captures the entire vehicle adequately.

2. Shoot Your Car During Golden Hour


Do you want to unleash the true artist in you? If yes, why not shoot your car during the golden hour. Many professional photographers believe that the golden hour is the best time to capture the most beautiful photos.

The ambiance adds life to even the simplest objects. So, that’s an excellent motivation for you to take out your camera and choose a location where the golden hour can enhance the value of your vehicle’s manifold.

The golden hour is the time right before sunset or sunrise. It helps prevent the harsh shadows you see in photos captured in bright light. Further, golden light adds a certain degree of softness to your pictures, so you can get a detailed image every time.

3. Capture Your Car’s Interior


Is your car’s interior remarkable and unique? If yes, don’t hesitate to show the world. Unlike the exterior, capturing the interior is pretty tough because so many things demand attention.

For instance, the front and back seats can’t be captured together. Then the gears and steering require a separate post. So, ensure you are patient when covering every aspect of your vehicle.

Unfortunately, the inside of a car often appears dim in images. That’s usually because of the closed doors and tinted windows. In that case, don’t hesitate to open your windows and doors to let the light in, and if possible, use a flashlight to create the perfect ambiance.

If you own a car with a backseat, it is pretty convenient to capture the insides. However, you may have to adjust the camera in many ways with a two-seater car before the right shot comes out.

Finally, don’t forget to take detailed shots. Every aspect should be covered, from the stitching on the seats to the steering wheel.

Besides, capture the things under the hoods. Briefly put, don’t hesitate to photograph the engine or the wheels.

4. Car in the Dark


Most people like the darkness, and if you do, show the world how your car looks under the dark sky. One of the best ways to highlight your vehicle at night is by switching on its headlights, so you get enough light to show your four-wheel beast.

When capturing such ideas, ensure you completely control your camera’s settings. Balance all three elements of the exposure triangle with low shutter speed, high ISO, and a wide aperture.

If you find it hard to hold your camera under low light, go for a tripod instead. Also, to give your final results an artistic feel, model your car while the headlights are on. Your black shadow in the picture will enhance the photo’s look, adding significant value to the final image.

5. Dogs in Your Car


If you have a dog or any other pet who doesn’t mind being photographed in your car, why not capture a moment with them? Having a pet in a photo with a car makes an image look super adorable. Besides, that’s a unique way to portray your car’s interior.

For instance, you can capture your dog sitting on the back seat while focusing on the car covers you have spent thousands of dollars on. Alternatively, let your dog sit in the driver’s seat and hand him the steering wheel for an awe-inspiring image.

If you want to capture the exterior, let your dog stand in front of the car while he and your vehicle pose for the camera. You can experiment in many different ways, provided that your pet is on its best behavior.

6. Capture Scenery From the Car


Here is another unique car photography idea that might help you build a strong portfolio: Capturing beautiful scenery while sitting in the car allows you to photograph two beautiful things simultaneously. As the above image shows, you can include both the car’s steering and front with the landscape appearing on the front mirror.

Alternatively, you can also open the doors of your car and capture the car’s back seats with a beautiful sunset in the front. The side mirrors can also play a role in such images, but they don’t cover the vehicle much.

7. Let Your Family Pose


If this vehicle holds a special place in your heart, get your family in the frame, too. For some people, their vehicles are a part of their family, so a picture would be incomplete without them.

In that case, choose a beautiful location and park your vehicle there. Simultaneously, dress your family in a unique theme to match the car and the place. Then as shown in the example image, sit in front of the vehicle so that everyone gets equal limelight.

Your family can also pose while standing, but make sure to use a wider lens. Some similar images also have blurred cars in the background while focusing on the family. If that’s what you like, it is also one of the best ways to capture a unique image with everyone in it.

8. Take a Driving Shot


Do you want to show the powerful side of your car? Why not take a driving shot? It is pretty easy to do it.

Sit in a moving car and hold your camera to shoot your vehicle while standing outside. That said, ensure that you and your camera are entirely secured before you even consider capturing this moment.

There is no doubt that a moving car shot looks remarkable. But one of the most amazing things it portrays is the unique sense of motion and your vehicle’s power.

9. Give Attention to Your Car’s Color


Do you have a car with a unique and wacky color? If yes, how about you highlight it by capturing it with a contrasting background.

For instance, the example above shows a unique, green-colored car standing against the clear blue water. The color of the water perfectly complements the car’s color, making it look stunning.

While taking this photo, don’t hesitate to experiment with various lighting conditions. Here’s a tip that may help you become a pro with these photos: Go to a parking lot at different times of the day and then randomly take pictures of the cars.

Practice this tip more than once a week to familiarize yourself with different types of natural lights and their impact on various colors. Once you understand the impact, start shooting your car as well.

10. Car Couple Shoot


Your car might be your property, but there is no harm in using it as a luxury object in the couple shoot of your friends. A couple posing with a car looks pretty unique, highlighting all the aspects of the car and the relationship of the people standing with it.

There are many ways to take this picture. For instance, you can ask the couple to sit on the car’s front while you take a shot from the bottom to capture the entire exterior and the people’s bond. Alternatively, you can also take this photo by making the couple sit inside the car and let them pose in the beautiful interior.

In either case, ensure that the light is perfect, and the background is doing justice to both the car and the couple. You can prepare for this shoot by dressing the couple in a color that balances the car’s exterior and complements it pretty well.

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If you want to ace your first experience in car photography, here are a few important tips that can help you out:

Choose the Right Time

Don’t make the mistake of capturing photos in the middle of the day when the light is exceptionally harsh and unflattering. Such light isn’t best for automobile shots and will surely make you demotivated.

Make sure to choose the time when the light is soft and there is no direct sun. Also, if you want to take closer images, use a reflector and eliminate the pesky shadows.

Give Importance to Reflections

If you want to create professional photos, make sure you have complete control over the elements that may create reflections on your vehicle. For example, a good car photo should have design lines; however, with unnecessary reflections, you may not find them.

So, the best way to avoid this is to look around you and the car for things that may create reflections. It is best to take your photo in an open space with no trees or buildings. If you are in a crowded place, lower the camera so that the only reflection that appears is that of the sky.

Finally, also make sure that your reflection doesn’t appear in the photo. If that’s tough for you, adjust your camera on a tripod, set it on a self-timer, and move away from the shot.

long exposure shot of cars on the road
Image Credit: Jake Blucker, Unsplash

Select Your Background Wisely

We can’t help but emphasize this tip repeatedly. Your picture’s background can make or break the results’ quality, so ensure you do your homework properly.

When choosing a background, make sure to go for anything that is non-distracting. The background should both emphasize the car and, at the same time, compliment it.

Bad backgrounds draw the eyes, are immensely distracting, and they often don’t make sense. For instance, your car standing in front of another vehicle may not look appealing.

Similarly, a background with trash and dustbins also feels distracting. Some people choose plain backgrounds so their cars can stand out. This idea works well for vehicles that have bright colors such as yellow or red.

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Summing Up

If you wish to venture into car photography or want to guide your photographer to capture your car in the best possible way, know that the ideas above may help you get your desired results. Luckily, there are so many ways in which you can experiment with car photography and show a vehicle in its best form.

But make sure no photography works without the best tools. So, if you are taking these photographs yourself, get a good camera, a tripod stand, and some much-needed knowledge on the perfect settings. Besides, plan when it comes to selecting a background and the appropriate time for shooting.

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Featured Image Credit:  Pexels, Pixabay

About the Author Jeff Weishaupt

Jeff is a tech professional by day, writer, and amateur photographer by night. He's had the privilege of leading software teams for startups to the Fortune 100 over the past two decades. He currently works in the data privacy space. Jeff's amateur photography interests started in 2008 when he got his first DSLR camera, the Canon Rebel. Since then, he's taken tens of thousands of photos. His favorite handheld camera these days is his Google Pixel 6 XL. He loves taking photos of nature and his kids. In 2016, he bought his first drone, the Mavic Pro. Taking photos from the air is an amazing perspective, and he loves to take his drone while traveling.