If you want to do a photoshoot with a car, it can easily become frustrating if you don’t know how to set up your environment to get the perfect picture. There is a lot that goes into any photoshoot, and a photoshoot with a car presents even more unique challenges. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be too difficult, and with the right tips in mind, you can set up a great photo shoot that will produce amazing pictures.
1. Choose Your Time of Day
One of the most common mistakes that people make is assuming that any time of day is okay for a photoshoot with a car. However, different times of day produce different types of lighting, and this lighting is essential for producing good photographs.
Many photographers believe that the best time to do a photoshoot with a car is right before sunrise or right after sunset. This is because the light produced is softer, and doesn’t produce any glare or harsh angles on the car. Trying to shoot a car at noon, can be difficult, as the sun is at its highest and brightest. This can wash out photos and take away from the softness that many photographers aim for.
If you’re looking to shoot at night, you’re going to encounter other problems such as not enough lighting, or inefficient lighting that removes clarity from the photographs. When shooting at night, you’ll want to make sure that the area you’re shooting has enough light to highlight the vehicle in the shot. Parking lot and area lighting service can vary between locations, and if you’re shooting in a public space, you may not be able to control the lighting as much as you would like.
One artistic trick for interesting night photos involves using a light to illuminate the vehicle while shooting at a long shutter speed. For this to work, you’ll need to find a completely dark space, devoid of any streetlights or even bright moonlight. Set your camera on a tripod with your ISO at 100, aperture at f/9, and your shutter speed at 30 seconds. When you open the shutter, use a strong light to illuminate the car, walking around it so that all parts get bathed in light. A flashlight will even work for this effect, although you can experiment with other handheld light sources.
What this will do is leave you with a shot of a dark backdrop, but an illuminated car that stands out from all of the surroundings. You can experiment with this method to get different illumination effects, and if you choose to add any other lights in the background, such as a cityscape, the results can be quite amazing.
2. Consider Reflections
While it may be important to consider having a commercial cleaner wax your car before the shoot, this can increase reflectivity, which can impede some photos. This essentially makes the car like a mirror, and anything in your environment can be reflected onto it. While some reflections, such as those of a landscape, can be artfully combined into photographs, if you’re taking a photo in a city or in your home, you could risk having things you don’t want to be reflected in your shots. After all, the last thing you want to show up in your photos are trash bins and wood shavings for horse stalls reflected back by your car.
If you know that reflections are going to be a problem, consider either moving your photoshoot to another location or taking the time to clean up your environment so that you don’t have any negative reflections. Even something as simple as hanging a black screen behind the camera can help block out things from reflecting.
You should also consider if you are going to be visible in the reflection, and if so, you may consider changing the angle or using a tripod to prevent this. Remember, you want to highlight the design lines of the car, and not have them spoiled by any environmental objects.
3. Shooting a Moving Car
Taking still photos can be tricky as is, but when you throw movement into the equation it can become even more difficult. However, it can be done if you know the right methods.
One easy way to shoot a moving vehicle is to do so from another moving vehicle. However, you should never be the one behind the wheel when doing this, and you should always exercise caution by never trying this on a busy street. When using this method, you should drive fairly slowly, around 35mph, with a shutter speed of around 1/100s. This will ensure that you don’t end up with shots that are too blurry, although it can be trial and error.
When shooting from a moving vehicle, you can expect to get a nice sense of movement in your photographs, and if you experiment with lowering the shutter speed further, this can increase this effect. Keep in mind the lower the shutter speed, the higher the chances of ending up with blurry effects. The key is to find a smooth balance between blur and sharpness.
For the best shots of moving vehicles, consider setting up a test shoot so that you can pin down what works best for you. If you have a place away from other vehicles where you can drive, this can be a great area to stage both the trials and the final photoshoot.
4. Consider the Color and Uniformity
The color of the vehicle will also be something to take into consideration. For instance, if you buy Mercedes Benz parts to customize your car before the shoot, you’ll want to make sure that the new additions match the original color and don’t stand out.
Similarly, while a tire service can ensure that your wheels are shiny and your rims are clear, you’ll want to ensure that they all are of a uniform appearance so that one doesn’t end up becoming a focal point that you don’t want. For example, if you only have two new tires switched out on your car, these newer tires can stand out from the older, more worn-out tires, which can draw attention if you’re taking close shots.
If you have your car customized with custom paint, you’ll also want to consider how the color will interact with the light and the reflections. Some colors shine in direct sunlight, while others handle it really well. Matte colors, for instance, aren’t as prone to harsh reflections or glare that can come from mid-day sunlight. The best way to gauge how your car’s color will react is to take some trial shots at various times of the day. This will help you decide the style and look that you like best so that you can plan your photoshoot with a car better.
5. Plan Your Background Carefully
While we talked a bit about backgrounds when we explained reflections, they are also important to the overall structure of your photographs. When planning a photoshoot with a car, consider the vibe, feeling, and composition that you are striving for.
For instance, an industrial-themed shoot could work in a garage with an epoxy garage floor coating which can provide a sleek, clean, and modern feeling. You could also consider moving your photoshoot to an industrial area, such as a factory district or even an abandoned warehouse for a more gritty appearance that can allow a nice car to stand out further. Really, the exact backdrop in this instance will depend on the feeling of what you are going for.
Another idea that contrasts an industrial vibe is one that provides a more rustic or luxurious effect. For instance, shooting with your car in front of oak casks can provide a completely different feeling than cold concrete or industrial enclosures. Similarly, shooting against the backdrop of an upscale house or glass patio enclosures can provide a high-scale feeling of luxury and wealth.
Take time before your photoshoot to consider the types of images that you are trying to shoot. While some car enthusiasts like the hard industrial backdrops, others may prefer the backdrop of an abandoned field and one that features artificial stone columns. It all depends on the types of photos that you want as well as the type of vehicle you’re shooting.
6. Utilize Nature and Interesting Locations
This can go hand in hand with choosing your backdrop, but it involves using natural structures to show off your vehicle. When planning a photoshoot with a car, it may be worth driving to a natural location where your vehicle will stand out against a natural backdrop.
This can be something as simple as a forested area near you, or you could plan a trip to a more well-known location in the mountains or a state park. If you’re using a rugged vehicle instead of a sports car, you may even want to show them off while they’re climbing over rocks or off-roading.
This can be a great way to add an interesting flair to your photographs and incorporate a backdrop that allows your car to stand out.
If you are using a sports car, interacting with nature is still a possibility, and you don’t even have to get it dirty. Consider finding a forested road and planning on doing a shoot in the rain. The contrast of the car against the trees and elements will make for some stunning photographs that you’ll be proud to show off.
Things to Keep In Mind
Now, before you grab your car keys and head out to find the best spots to set up for a photo shoot, there are some things you should think about beforehand. While these tips are important for getting started, you’ll want to take time to plan your shots before heading out. While spontaneous shots can be impressive, it can also take you a lot of time to get shots that are worth keeping.
Think about the theme you want for your photoshoot, and make a list of locations that can provide what you need. In some cases, you may even want to call businesses to see if you can utilize their locations for your shoot. While not all will accept, it’s worth asking if you have a location in mind that is owned by someone else.
If you want to use props in your backdrop, you’ll also want to consider how to get what you need, as well as how to set it up so that it compliments the composition of your photographs. You may also want to take time to clean up the area so that nothing reflects or shows up in photos that could ruin them or seem out of place. All of this can take time to set up, so you’ll want to make sure that you plan ahead to ensure that everything is ready to go the day of the shoot.
Similarly, if you’re planning on traveling to a natural location, you’ll want to consider the weather and the time of day that you’ll be there. If you don’t have a lot of time, you’ll want to plan accordingly so that you can get the shots you need. You’ll also want to make sure that the place you’re going to isn’t going to have a lot of other people who could potentially ruin your shots.
Getting The Perfect Shots
With all of this in mind, you can start thinking about how to put together a photoshoot with a car that will produce the best images. While it will take some work, trial and error, and a bit of experimentation, it can be well worth it when you see the final products.