Car Show Photography Tips

January 14, 2020 0 By Peter Engel


We’re Chelsea and Tony Northrup and
we’re going to photograph a car show So we’re at the Ocean Beach car show and
as I had expected it’s very busy. There are people in front
of all the cars. So one thing I like to do is just focus
on the details that make a car beautiful and take close up shots. So I see a grill
on this truck that I like So I’ll zoom in on that and get a close-up
picture. Another thing to consider when you’re
taking shots is that the cars are all really reflective, so you want to probably wear dark clothing so that you’re not so visible in your own
pictures. The reflections seen in cars can often be a huge distraction, but with a
bit of creativity you can make them a focal point. Ahh, this
car has a beautiful grill, this would make a good close-up picture. If there are a lot of people around I suggest just waiting for people clear out, they usually move and then you can get
your shot. This car actually has a pretty clean
background, so if I’m patient and I wait for people to clear out I might be able to get it nice enough
so that I can go in later into Photoshop and clone out any distractions. Just about any camera can work for car shows including even your
smartphone. But for me, I like to grab a camera that has a tilty screen This lets me get down low or hold it up high, I can
lean out over into a car engine bay and point it down for interesting angles. That’s my next tip, get down nice and low get close to your subject and use forced perspective. You can use this to make the wheels seem nice and fat. Gorgeous car. It can also let you lean out a little bit without
touching their car. For lots of types of photography, you don’t want hard light, you want soft light For a car show I like the SUN to be out, no
clouds, I even like it to be high in the sky because I like to work those reflections. I like the find the glare in the cars.
One thing I don’t like is to use a polarizing filter.
Polarizing filters cut glare but I want that reflection and that glare. If the sun is lower in the sky, long
shadows could ruin your shots. They might also make your shot. We cover composition in chapter two of Stunning Digital Photography but a quick tip, use symmetry. Symmetry makes car seem more
powerful so I’ll get down low and put myself
right in the middle of the car. Center myself perfectly on it. I usually just use the standard kit lens but a fish-eye lens can be really fun too and
they’re not that expensive. Fisheye lenses turns straight lines into
curved lines and let you get super close and just fill the frame with the subject. So for this engine bay, I’ll just turn on my fish-eye here
and get nice and tight inside. If you do use a fish-eye, you have to get
really close to your subject or everything seems real far away. Think about what your subject to the
photo is because your subject isn’t just a car.
Your subject is a part of the car, some aspect of the car that you really like. That can be a crease
in the car, or a line, it can be the big fat tires on a race car. But, in a car
show it’s almost never the entire car cause there would be too many distractions. So if you see a car that catches your eye, think about what about that car caught your eye. It helps to study car design a little bit so that you can really appreciate the parts of a car that make it beautiful. If you’re shooting in bright sunlight you’re going to deal with high contrast. You might have really bright reflections, but then the engine bay will be
completely dark.This is the perfect time to bracket and use HDR techniques.
Your camera or smartphone might have an HDR mode, you can use that or check chapter eleven in Stunning Digital Photography
for bracketing techniques. This just let you
show both the shadows and the highlights I also like to include the sun in my photos, it makes a really cool focal point and can pull the eye away from all the
people and distractions in the background. I love when cars are moving, but cars in car shows are still. But you can had some visual movement to it by putting a dutch tilt on the picture just tilting the picture a little bit. So
here’s just a straight picture of a car and here it is with just a little dutch tilt. That deliberate tilt just makes the
picture a little more interesting and adds a little movement to it. What a beautiful car. 435 were made. If you shoot a ‘vette you gotta get the exhaust and you know I gotta get those tail lights. How you doin, John? This car is cool. I wanted to show the
similarity of the dice on the door lock and the mirror But when I focus on the door the mirror
was out of focus because of shallow depth of field. To solve that I switch the camera to
aperture priority mode, chose a higher f/stop of f/11 and
focused between the two dice. The most striking feature of this
modified Thunderbird was the long back end. To find the best way to capture it, I started
low and with my camera higher. I also zoomed in tight. If you want to learn more about
photography we have a whole book on that called
stunning digital photography You can get it on Amazon. Don’t forget to
subscribe to our channel, we’re always making more videos. And you can check me out on Twitter @ChelseaNorthru Because the Northrup was taken.