Canon EOS R6, 50mm f/1.4 lens. 1/640s @ f2, ISO 100.
However when it’s done right, vehicle photography can be spectacular. Impressive action, poetry in motion, exquisite design, all recorded in a best frame by you. So, turn the key, rev the pedal and let’s begin …
Tell the right story
This suggestion is all about what to do prior to you’ve even taken the lens cap off the camera. Shooting a beautiful vehicle in isolation is pointless, since it will fail to tell any sort of a story. This is where narrative and preparation can prove to be definitely important. Ask yourself, what’s the message you want to tell in the frame?
This in turn will determine if the shot will be fixed, or an action image such as a panning shot or a cornering frame. If it’s a static shot, what background will help explain the story of the photo – for example, with classic cars, I ‘d try to find an older backdrop such as a wood fence with peeling paint or rusty metal gates.
Quick lenses will permit you to develop a shallow depth of field and this can be utilized to isolate a location of the frame to focus the viewer’s attention. This image was captured at a Land Rover reveal I was reserved to cover. I was aiming to avoid bland, standard large angle images. Canon R6, RF24-105mm lens @ 105mm. 1/400s @ f7.1, ISO 250.
With newer cars, more modern architecture will assist inform the story that this is a fresh design. Naturally, this might well indicate that the photoshoot begins without the video camera entirely, rather with you driving around on a recce and to scout out possible areas.
Remember, think of how busy that place will be when you arrive with the automobile to take images. Will the backdrop be too chaotic, and will you even have the ability to get correct access?
What’s more, another question is whether the car is the only star in the frame; for instance, are several cars to appear in the image – one clever trick to reveal the evolution of an automobile’s style is to reveal it together with a previous design. Finally, consisting of the owner/driver of the automobile can also help tell a story or fulfil a short and present a more well-rounded photo.
Recording state of mind and sensation during critical moments is key to outstanding imagery. The pensive anticipation in the eyes of this racer as he prepares to strike the track at a classic automobile race informs the entire story of the frame and the eye contact with the camera is crucial. Canon 5D Mark IV, 50mm f/1.4 lens. 1/800s @ f1.4, ISO 200.
Master your AF system
You can get access to fantastic supercars on the very best tracks, however if your images aren’t sharp then all that effort has been for absolutely nothing. It utilized to be the case that Single Shot Focus (AF-S) was the go-to alternative when shooting statics, and Constant Focus (AF-C or AI Servo) was the best option when shooting a car in motion.
This tracking shot was recorded as I hung out the back of a Range Rover. Hand signals were utilized to get the two cars and trucks into position and a sluggish shutter boosted the feel of speed. Canon 5D Mark IV, EF17-40mm f/4L USM lens @ 17mm. 1/80s @ f8, ISO 160.
However, things have actually dramatically moved on over the last few years. A lot more cameras– including the Canon R3 and OM System OM-1– have actually dedicated focus modes created particularly to catch vehicles in motion and this stacks the chances of sharp imagery much more in the favour of the photographer.
Focus modes and efficiency differs between cam models, so it’s worth taking the time to properly learn what your camera is capable of and how to get the very best out of it. Of course, let’s not forget Manual Focus – lots of photographers shooting statics prefer to work specifically in Manual Focus and the camera’s Live View function allows them to focus and check everything is incredibly sharp.
Sometimes the motorists can be as intriguing as the vehicles. This chap looked cool and sported impressive tattoos, so including him as a feature of the frame was very important and the wide-angle lens was the key to unlocking this composition. Canon 6D, 24-70mm lens @ 24mm. 1/160s @ f10, ISO 100.
Deal with your angles
One of the very best bits of advice I was giving when finding out the trade was to never ever shoot an automobile from head-height. Why? Well, since this is the angle of view we all see daily when walking. Going high and low will bring new perspectives to your frames and make them more engaging for audiences.
An especially low angle makes an automobile appearance tougher, which is well-suited for muscle cars, while higher angles are terrific for new vehicles with breathtaking roofs. There’s a lot to consider when it comes to structure as the angle of the cam affects how much energy is picture.
For instance, there’s a method called the ‘Dutch Tilt’ and as the name suggests, the cam is titled to angle an automobile that’s on a flat surface area. One of my favourite strategies is to introduce aspects to the foreground – this might be walls or fences as foreground interest includes depth to the frame and this leads to a general more expert feel to the image.
Getting the best backgrounds for your car imagery might involve travel. This shot was caught high up in the Austrian Alps, which matched with the automobile’s rally pedigree completely. Canon 5D Mark IV, 70-200mm lens @ 70mm. 1/400s @ f9, ISO 200.
Speed is essential
There’s a factor pro cars and truck professional photographers gravitate towards speed-centric cams such as the Canon R3 or 1DX, Sony a9 or Nikon Z 9. This is due to the fact that they are capable of catching a substantial variety of images every second. These video cameras are expensive, but there are more inexpensive choices such as the OM System OM-1 (with a 120 max burst rate) and even older DSLRs like the Canon 7D Mark II.
The benefit of a quick burst rate is that it offers you more opportunities of bagging the perfect frame – nailing that split second moment when the vehicle remains in the precise area you desire it or when wheels spin up gravel in a vibrant style. In addition to quick burst rates, speed can be communicated by slowing shutter speeds too.
Canon 7D, EF70-200mm f/4L USM lens @ 188mm. 1/320s @ f10, ISO 250.
Mastering the panning strategy, where the camera is literally panned from one side to the other while utilizing a slower shutter speed of around 1/80sec will keep the car sharp while blurring the background and this method can make a car travelling at 30kmh look like it’s travelling at 130kmh.
Additional choices for capturing cars and trucks at speed consist of tracking shots where an electronic camera is rigged to a ‘tracking automobile’ or a professional photographer shoot from the back of a tracking car to allow the photographer to frame a vehicle cornering or making its method around a circuit.
Simple equipment is very important
The truth is that you don’t have to spend a substantial quantity of money to fill your video camera bag with beneficial accessories that will make a real difference out in the field.
In my kit bag you’ll discover a simple Circular Polariser filter which, while better understood for saturating blue skies when catching landscape images, do a great task of eliminating the sheen from a windscreen so you can reveal the interior inside the car.
Canon 7D, 21mm. 1/160s @ f13, ISO 320.
Nestled beside the filter is a simple pop-up reflector, which is used to bounce light back onto the car to lift shadows when recording information. If you are new to cars and truck photography, a fundamental 50mm f/1.8 will be excellent for static and close up images, however if you have a little bit more budget plan, a telezoom such as a 70-200mm lens will expand your creative options, particularly when it pertains to action shots.
Keep an eye out for part two next week.