Author Topic: Taking Pictures of Cars  (Read 7674 times)

Offline ChallengerHK

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Taking Pictures of Cars
« on: July 31, 2013 - 03:10:56 pm »
Photography Advice

Thanks to GoodysGotaCuda, Daytona, babyelephant and anyone I've forgotten for advice posted in previous years, which I have collected below. If more good advice appears I'll edit this post to include it.

Cameras:
1.   If your plan is to make prints, use a camera with at least 6 megapixels (MP). These have been around for a few years, so they're not state of the art and therefore not expensive. Shots taken at less than 6 MP are not large enough to fill the page.
2.   If your camera has the ability, mount a polarizer filter. It will give you bluer skies, whiter clouds, and help you minimize reflections where you want to do so.

Posing & Composition
1.   Pay attention to background clutter, things that appear to be "growing" out of the car as you pose it. This could include trees, utility poles, street signs and poles, or parking lot lines. Move yourself or the car or both until the shot is clean. Notice how the tree grows out of the Thunderbird fender/a-pillar below:


Similarly, notice how the parking lot line grows out of this vehicle:




2.   Make sure that there's ample room around the image; don't cut off parts of your car, or get too close to the edges of the image. Otherwise nice images, like the one below, lose their impact.



3.    Think outside the box. Get up high (on a ladder, on a balcony, etc.) or down low (on your stomach, in a gully). Shoot head-on or tail-on. Tilt the camera. Shoot in rain or snow.







4.   Shots with the front wheels turned face-on to the camera tend to be more pleasing, like this Challenger:



Photographers:
1.   If you don't feel confident about your ability to get a good image, look in your local craigslist, under SERVICES - CREATIVE. You will likely find listings from people who are trying to start a photography business, and in order to build up their portfolios are offering to do shoots for free. They will usually say that they're looking for models (who isn't?), but trust me, they'll be happy to shoot your car. I found this in about 2 minutes on a random search of craigslist:
     Hi!
     I am a photographer who is just starting my own business. I am offering free 1 or 2 hour photography sessions to anyone interested.   I need to build a portfolio as well as a client base.
I am willing to do any kind of shoot. I have been taking infant and child lifestyle shoots, family shoots, and event photography (as well as landscape). I would like to expand to engagement photos, senior pictures, weddings, etc.


2.   Places that tend to lend themselves to helping you make good shots:

  • Lakes, ponds, rivers-in short, water
  • Churches
  • Bridges
  • Barns
This is not an exhaustive list. Basically, look for something dramatic, and put your car in front of it (if you can do so, and, if needed, if you can get permission).

Many people don't think that cars should not be photographed on grass. Personally, this doesn't bother me. I'd much rather see a car on grass than on pavement with parking lines sticking out at odd angles. Still, it's something to be aware of as you pick locations; some of the same people who may not like cars on grass are people who are voting in the calendar competition.

Advice found and posted by member babyelephant in this link:

http://www.cobracountry.com/CobraPhotoTipsDipStix.pdf

There's a LOT of information there. Most of it is good, some is great, and some can be ignored such as getting good angles on Shelby Cobras), but if you're really serious about capturing an image of your care that will make people gasp, check it out.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2015 - 10:53:23 am by ChallengerHK »


"She'll make point five past light speed. She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts, and I've made a lot of special modifications myself."

- Han Solo, Star Wars

Advice Thread - Taking Pictures Of Cars




Offline ChallengerHK

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Re: Taking Pictures of Cars
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2014 - 02:30:10 pm »
It was always my intention that folks would use this thread to discuss issues with taking pics of cars, and to add to the general knowledge base. So, jump right in!  :bigsmile:


"She'll make point five past light speed. She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts, and I've made a lot of special modifications myself."

- Han Solo, Star Wars

Advice Thread - Taking Pictures Of Cars

Offline burdar

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Re: Taking Pictures of Cars
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2014 - 02:44:25 pm »
I've found that you can get a better picture on an overcast day.  You don't have to worry about direct sunlight and glare.  I've also found that standing farther away from the car and zooming in will result in a nicer picture.  Also, try to get lower to the ground.

Every car has a bad angle.  Try and find the best angle possible.

A friend and I took these pictures last year.  Low to the ground and far away.(zoomed in)


Not the best angle.


Better angle. This was used for the calendar.  The branch above the car was edited out.  The slight glare on the rear side marker was also fixed.


I also like playing around with different filters.  They can make a new picture look 40 years old.




Offline burdar

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Re: Taking Pictures of Cars
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2014 - 02:56:40 pm »
Here are some I took at the Mopar Nats the last couple years.  These were taken from a lower angle and from farther away.  At a show you are limited by certain things like other cars in the shot and not blocking a bunch of people.  I think these turned out decent.










Offline ChallengerHK

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Re: Taking Pictures of Cars
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2014 - 02:46:13 am »
I've found that you can get a better picture on an overcast day.  You don't have to worry about direct sunlight and glare. 


This is a great piece of advice. You get much smoother consistent color from indirect light.

I've also found that standing farther away from the car and zooming in will result in a nicer picture.  Also, try to get lower to the ground.


This is also great advice. In my experience, like shooting cars on grass or pavement, different people have different goals, though. Being really close, with a really wide angle lens (lower focal length in "mm") gives you that dramatic "70s" look  :bigsmile: That's generally not my thing, but a lot of people like it, and it definitely stands out.

« Last Edit: September 05, 2014 - 04:10:52 am by ChallengerHK »


"She'll make point five past light speed. She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts, and I've made a lot of special modifications myself."

- Han Solo, Star Wars

Advice Thread - Taking Pictures Of Cars

Offline moparstyle

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Re: Taking Pictures of Cars
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2014 - 03:41:17 am »
Great thread!

Taking pics of cars is great fun. Laughed when i saw the pic of the T-bird, took a pic of my Challenger that i am (was) proud of until i realized that there is a freakin' palmtree growing up trough the roof....

http://www.cobracountry.com/CobraPhotoTipsDipStix.pdf
Good reading, thanks ChallengerHK!

Burdar, what kind of filter did you use on your "40 year old" pic?
Can you also explain why you think its better to stand farther away and zooming in on the car? Depth?
72 Challenger, 440 stroker, 727 (70 clone)
70 Barracuda Gran Coupe
And on the side:
67 Pontiac GTO
63 Lincoln Continental

Offline 1 Wild R/T

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Re: Taking Pictures of Cars
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2014 - 03:50:22 am »
My favorite method of getting great shots of my car is to spend a day with Mark Brooks AKS Cal Gecko over on Moparts.....
JS27N0B 70 Challenger R/T Convertible  FJ5 Sublime, Show Poodle w/90,000 miles since resto
WS27L8G 68 Coronet R/T Convertible  PP1 Bright Red, Project
RM21H9E 69 Road Runner Coupe R4 Performance Red, Sold...
5H21C  65 Falcon 2 dr Wagon... Dog Hauler...

Offline burdar

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Re: Taking Pictures of Cars
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2014 - 11:30:24 am »
Quote
Burdar, what kind of filter did you use on your "40 year old" pic?
Can you also explain why you think its better to stand farther away and zooming in on the car? Depth?

My pictures are on Photobucket.  They have different "effects" that you can add once the picture is on their site.  I just like playing around with it.  I'm not sure exactly which one it was.  I also added "sharpness" to that picture.  That can be done in the "effects" section of Photobucket as well.

Yes, I think standing farther away adds to the depth of the picture.  My friend (who has had graphic design schooling) told me that.  You get a completely different look if you are up close to the car when you take the picture.  I don't think you can get all that ground detail in front of the car either.  I'd love to take a photography class. 

Offline moparstyle

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Re: Taking Pictures of Cars
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2014 - 10:49:22 pm »
My pictures are on Photobucket.  They have different "effects" that you can add once the picture is on their site.  I just like playing around with it.  I'm not sure exactly which one it was.  I also added "sharpness" to that picture.  That can be done in the "effects" section of Photobucket as well.

Yes, I think standing farther away adds to the depth of the picture.  My friend (who has had graphic design schooling) told me that.  You get a completely different look if you are up close to the car when you take the picture.  I don't think you can get all that ground detail in front of the car either.  I'd love to take a photography class.

Yep, makes sense, will try that. Thanks!
72 Challenger, 440 stroker, 727 (70 clone)
70 Barracuda Gran Coupe
And on the side:
67 Pontiac GTO
63 Lincoln Continental

Offline ChallengerHK

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Re: Taking Pictures of Cars
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2014 - 01:18:08 am »
My opinion:

Standing farther from the car increases the depth of the overall scene, but tends to flatten the car itself. This is neither good nor bad, and how you view it just depends on the effect you want.

Standing closer to the car decreases (or eliminates) the depth of the overall scene, but increases (or exaggerates) the depth of the car.


"She'll make point five past light speed. She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts, and I've made a lot of special modifications myself."

- Han Solo, Star Wars

Advice Thread - Taking Pictures Of Cars

Offline moparstyle

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Re: Taking Pictures of Cars
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2015 - 01:32:51 am »
Met an interesting guy the other day, a Swedish freelance photographer who works for some Swedish bike and car magazines. He is currently in Thailand for a combined work / vacation trip.
He heard about my little car collection trough some mutual friends and he decided to make a story for the biggest US car magazine (thats an honor, been reading that magazine since i was 16-17 years of age).

We spent 2 afternoons in the blazing sun for the photos, 1 day at a beach location and second day was for driving shots.
He is really a dedicated guy. 40 years + in the business so today he is in his late seventies. But seeing the way he abused himself to get good shooting angles, he must be 30.....
I didn't want to disturb him with questions while he was working but afterwards we had a chat.
Being an amateur photographer myself, i asked him for some hints for shooting cars.
So, here's what i got:

1) Be calm, take your time. Test shoot, adjust and test shoot again until you are happy. Before shooting, observe not only the car for a while. Check also the surroundings, background etc. 
He had a small magnifying glass around his neck for checking test shots on the camera display, can be hard to see the errors without it.
2) For front and rear, slightly angled shots, use a ladder. Get 1-2 steps up and the proportions of the car will improve radically.
3) As discussed in this thread earlier, distance creates depth. Especially for side shots, he likes to walk away from the car, zoom and shoot.
4) Under hood, interior and trunk shots, use fill flash. Doesn't matter how you place the car, there will always be some shadows. His flash was adjustable but if you dont have that function, step back, zoom, test shoot and move back and forth until you are happy with the result (not too dark, not over exposed).

We had 2 great days and once we where done, i asked him humbly if i could have some of his shots e-mailed to me.
Sure, let me get back home, edit the shots and you will have them all on a CD

Yeeeesssss!     
 
72 Challenger, 440 stroker, 727 (70 clone)
70 Barracuda Gran Coupe
And on the side:
67 Pontiac GTO
63 Lincoln Continental

Offline HP2

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Re: Taking Pictures of Cars
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2015 - 11:06:10 am »
Something I've seen in a number of these low angle pictures that many pro photogs recommend against is the tripod car. That shot that only shows three tires because the fourth is hidden behind another tire. A slight angle change to move the fourth tire into the shot  improves this. Obviously if you have a higher angle picture this may be impossible, but if you have daylight under the car, try to capture the fourth tire.

Offline Chryco Psycho

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Re: Taking Pictures of Cars
« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2015 - 10:33:15 pm »
Also adding rubber to the rear fenders makes for a cool shot like the white chall in the first set of pictures  :bigsmile:

Challenger - You`ll wish You Hadn`t

Offline tommyg29

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Re: Taking Pictures of Cars
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2015 - 11:13:35 pm »
Also adding rubber to the rear fenders makes for a cool shot like the white chall in the first set of pictures  :bigsmile:
:roflsmiley:
I have a bunch of that stuff back there I cant get off so like those jeep guys that like to drive around showing off all their mud I decided to never try and remove it all
and oh, CP almost made me forget, I think I learned from Challenger HK that keeping the sun directly behind you like you get very early or late in the day can look good, so thats what I did with my my sig photo. Took it about 30 minutes before the sun set.
Two other tips:
First, takes lots of pictures, dozens and dozens from different angles and distances, and choose the best shots later after you look through them. The day I took my bayfront shots I must have taken about a hundred in 20 minutes.  :picture:
Second, dont be afraid to use photoshop or similar on your favorite pictures you want to keep. With the picture below I used it to darken the sky a little (I think makes it look cooler) and I removed an ugly parking lot stripe and part of a parking stop in the background, and that was all I did. This particular shot is cropped too closely, but thats only so I could make it fit well as a background on my cellphone  :violin:
« Last Edit: February 04, 2015 - 11:30:11 pm by tommyg29 »
72 Roadrunner 400-4 Auto-3.23 Gear-Black Cruiser
71 Cuda 440-6 Tribute-Limelight-A833 Close Ratio-4 Sp-Pistol Grip-Dana 3.54 Powr Lok-Rally Dash-Shaker (Sold)
92 Dodge Stealth RT-Twin 15g Turbos-SAFC2 Tuned-Mystic Blue-5 Sp-AWD-Rear Wheel Steering-AutoX'r (Sold)
12 Dodge Charger SXT Plus Blacktop Package-3.6L-8 Sp-Leather-Nav (the wife's)

Multiple SRT's, Rams, Dakotas, Caravans and Neons

...the lines on the road just look like dots!....

Offline Chryco Psycho

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Re: Taking Pictures of Cars
« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2015 - 09:09:01 am »
Using a flash even in daylight can make the chrome & reflectors jump out as well

Challenger - You`ll wish You Hadn`t