Automotive Photography Tips and Tricks for Beginners

Faces have expressions, they move and are fascinating to photograph. But cars and other automotives don’t have every changing facial expression; so they should be easier to take pictures of, right? Well, not quite. If you notice, cars seem to have distinct facial expressions – they seem to be grinning or scowling or looking surprised or excited. So did we give you some impetus to look at automotive photography differently? We hope so. Read on to find out more about starting out on automotive photography:

The background

The background is important because the right background adds to the car or bike in the foreground and the wrong type detracts from it. A neutral and complementary background that makes the vehicle stand out is a good idea. A simple asphalt road, a backdrop of a field, a picket fence, these are simple to find and photograph, and they won’t detract from the subject either.



Since you would typically photograph a vehicle out of doors, natural light may be the simplest to use. For that professional looking picture – the car in grand silhouette, experts recommend dusk or dawn (otherwise known as the Golden Hour) to get that soft and elegant look. When we speak of lighting, also take care of the shadows – examine where the vehicle is casting its shadow – you could also include a long shadow of the vehicle deliberately to create interesting detail and texture in the photo. Also take care to see that you the photographer is not casting their own shadow on the vehicle.

The angle

You can make a car look very different depending upon the angle you take a picture from. Ariel angles, eye level angles, the slightly angled away view, the view from the ground – these are all interesting ways to photograph a vehicle. And you may be surprised at how much the size, shape and that ‘expression’ of the vehicle changes along with the angle.

Exteriors & interiors

Remember you can get great shots not just of the entire vehicle but parts of it as well. Just the bicycle wheel with the sunlight glinting off the spokes can make for an interesting shot. The chrome fender of a vintage car, the distinctive front grille of a classic or just the close up of that distinctive leaping cat of a Jaguar – these can all make some lovely close-ups. And why just the exteriors, the interiors of the car can also be used to create very interesting pictures.