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Top 8 Tips on How to Photograph Cars Outdoors

Photography has had a rebirth for the masses of cellphone users worldwide. There are many videos and/or photography websites that have come up as a result.

Still, when it comes to getting that perfect shot with the right light and effect, nothing takes the place of using a higher quality camera with manual focus and adjustments to get the close ups as well as those one-of-a-kind photos that end up on somebody’s wall or in a gallery somewhere.

In this article, we’ll wade through the many articles already written featuring how to photograph cars outside to find the top 8 tips. We will look at them in reverse order, starting with top tip #8.

Tip #8 – How to photograph cars outside – Use Water.

Top tip number eight is to use water. Photographers agree that getting that perfect shot with the resemblance of early morning dew yet your shooting is later in the morning or afternoon, a spray bottle of water does wonders.

The same tip is true with nature photos to get leaves to look like the new day has come or a rain just fell. So, keep a small spray bottle with you for just such an occasion.

Tip #7 – How to photograph cars outside – focus on one at a time!

how to photograph cars outside

Tip number seven on how to photograph cars outside is to focus on one at a time. When it comes to photographing old classic cars, there’s so much more to be looking for on the car:

  • Body style
  • Chrome bumpers
  • Hood ornament
  • Interior seating
  • Dashboard
  • Engine
  • Unique concepts, like rumble seats or soft tops
  • Make and model and year

Tip #6 – How to photograph cars outside – take your time!

When you hurry, you’re sure to miss that great shot. Not only so, you’re likely to miss a step that causes you to regret later for not slowing down.

Part of that might mean taking time out for you. You know when you are at your best, creatively speaking. There’s other times when you or someone else is rushing you and you’re forcing yourself to get done.

Tip #5 – How to photograph cars outdoors – Work closer to sunrise or sunset.

Professional photographers agree that working closer to sunrise or sunset offers great color enhancements and softer shades.

Your work will be more appealing if you keep the sun in perspective when you’re learning how to photograph cars outside.

Tip #4 – To learn how to photograph cars outdoors, study the car!

One great tip I learned when learning how to photograph cars outside is to study, or take note of the car itself. Every car has a story that goes with it.

Is it a family car or a sports car? Was it popular or a dud? Does it have a history, like a Mustang or Corvette?

how to photograph cars outsideSome of the old classic cars have unique hood ornaments that just aren’t on most cars today. I think Jaguar is the last of the modern auto manufacturer that still features a hood ornament.

Every car started out on a showroom floor as somebody’s dream. Cars sitting in a car junk yard represent dreams that got shattered or broken in life. It’s the role of the creative photographer to bring it back to life again.

Tip #3 – If you want to know how to photograph cars outside, use the right equipment.

That seems elementary but to photograph cars outside, one needs a wide angle lens, macro lens and GPS labeling technology.

In areas where the mosquitoes are plentiful, it’s also wise to bring bug spray. Some lots featuring old classic cars like mentioned in tip number one are so large that having water to drink is actually a wise idea.

Tip #2 – Give yourself plenty of time when learning how to photograph cars outside.

This tip is different, yet related to tip #6, on how to photograph cars outside because if you have a lot like Old Car City USA that has 4400 old classic cars from 1918 to 1972 and it’s only open four days a week between 9a.m. and 4 p.m., don’t wait until an hour before closing.  Though you can get some great shots, your time will slip away from you quickly and you will be frustrated.

As mentioned in aforementioned tips, early morning hours get great photo opportunities and in the South, hot weather can still sneak up on the photographer without warning.

how to photograph cars outside
Courtesy Richard Calmes Photography

The #1 tip on how to photograph cars outside is to choose the best place to take great photos.

Old Car City USA likes to toot its own horn with being the largest known classic car junkyard in the world with over 4400 cars on 34 acres of land. It’s been featured in Hot Rod Magazine, Fox, NBC, ABC and Sunday Morning on CBS as well as international visitors who come specifically for these American and some foreign built cars and trucks.

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