How to shoot a car!
So, I never really studied how to shoot cars, but I was always fascinated by car pictures. I decided that the only way that I would really learn was to go ahead and try it. I wanted to share my experience with you and maybe inspire you to try it out too!
I have always loved parking garages, so what better scenery to shoot a car than in one. To do the practice shoot, I wanted a car that would inspire me and of course look cool on social media when I posted it. I found that one of my friends has this car that he calls “the Batmobile”, which sounded promising. The Batmobile is a beautiful Audi A7, long, black and very sexy. All in all, a great model for me to practice with. With my background in model and fashion photography, I know that having an inspiring model in front is so important, especially when you try out new things.
Having an assistant is a MUST!
So, I quite quickly discovered that having an assistant, even when shooting cars that are not in motion, is essential. The owner of the car was luckily available. Even with no experience as an assistant, he was an important player. Shooting amazing cars can very quickly become very frustrating if you do not have help. Just moving the car to the right angel and running around with the flash can take you a long time and give you a considerable headache when alone.
When you have found your location, your assistant and your car, you should think about your gear. As I am not a car photographer, I do not have any specific car shooting equipment. As I just wanted to make it as easy for myself as possible, I decided just to bring one light, my speedlight. So, for the shoot I did, the essential equipment, beside my camera, was: speedlight, tripod for camera, remote shutter release (RSR) and wide-angle lens. That is all folks!
We all know that lighting is everything!
As I have some experience in shooting motorcycles, I decided to use the same technique. This technique is basically merging the pictures together that has the light that I like. Because cars are so glossy, and the light can be difficult to control in one shot, I decided to take several shots moving my flash (the assistant moved it). The setup was this: fixed camera in the right position depending on the angel of the car that I wanted to get, and one speed light moved around by my assistant. Every time the light was lighting up a feature of the car that I liked, I would push my remote shutter release. The RSR is very important as I in post-production will merge all the pictures together. If I push the release button on the camera, I might move the camera. We tried two different lighting techniques. Pointing the light right at the car and pointing it up to the ceiling. As the ceiling in the basement where we were shooting was quite low, the latter worked well and gave a beautiful smooth light without it going everywhere. When the assistant was moving the light, we were very conscious of doing everything systematically. We would find the angel of the light on the left and then go to the same spot on the right. You want to make sure that you have exactly the same direction in the light. And another tip, take more pictures from more angles than needed, just so you don't miss a spot!
You want to start with a base picture. This picture is the base of your photo, where the surroundings are as you want them. I always prefer to have my background dark, so my subject stands out. Then you turn on the car and take a picture without flash, but just with the lights of the car. After this you go ahead and shoot with light from all angles.
Shooting cars is a lot of fun and for me a great learning experience. You really learn to look at your light and let the light and the shapes inspire you. In a later article I will show you how exactly I edited these pictures.
Go out and shoot great things!
If you liked this article and applied it, I would love to hear your feedback and see your pictures! Go to my Facebook @MakeUpArtistMalouReedorf and send me a message. I would love to connect with you!
Malou Reedorf is an international PermaJet ambassador.