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What's Your Best Tip For Car Photography?

Illustration for article titled Whats Your Best Tip For Car Photography?

Shooting cars is very simple: you take your camera, point it at something with a Lamborghini or Ferrari or Bugatti badge and presto! You're in the money. Well, eh, maybe not.


There are lots of tips and techniques for how to shoot cars. What took me a while to master was getting steady panning shots right.

Basically, you move your camera following with a moving car, so that it looks like the car stays in motion while the background is blurry. It gives an impression of speed that you just don't get any other way.

Illustration for article titled Whats Your Best Tip For Car Photography?

How do you get it right? Well, I practiced by taking pictures of cars driving by at night. Night after night I went out, mostly taking super blurry pictures of nothing, until I finally had it right.

Illustration for article titled Whats Your Best Tip For Car Photography?

What tip do you have for someone hoping to take pretty pictures of cars?

(QOTD is your chance to answer the day's most pressing automotive questions and experience the opinions of the insightful insiders, practicing pundits and gleeful gearheads that make up the Jalopnik commentariat. If you've got a suggestion for a good "Question Of the Day" send an email to tips at jalopnik dot com.)


Photo Credits: Raphael Orlove

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Raphael Orlove

This isn't a technique thing, but I suggest that a great way to improve your photography is to go online and look at a metric fuckton of other car photography.

I started by reading Down On The Street, which gave me the first ideas of how to take close ups of old cars, how to look for angles in a car's design, and how to think about framing a car in its environment.…

The nice thing was that the photographer (the wonderful Murilee Martin herself) didn't use a fancy camera, didn't rely on fancy lenses, didn't rest on exotic subject matter. Ordinary cars shot with an ordinary camera in interesting ways.…

Beyond that, I would go over to Speedhunters and digest as much of their stuff as possible. Try and emulate a bit of what you see and what you like, figure out what works and what doesn't, and you'll find a style of your own.