Car Photography Tips

There's nothing more that I love than taking pictures and talking camera gear, but if there's anything that runs a close second, it's cars.  My particular wheeled weakness is for classic and modern muscle cars, and while I adore the new Mustangs, my favorite tire-melting monster is the '69 Dodge Charger (pictured, as seen in Mopar Muscle Magazine). 

It goes without saying that I immediately fell in love with the original 'Cars' film, directed by gearhead-turned-animator, John Lasseter. And, with Disney-Pixar's 'Cars 2' rolling into cinemas nationwide on Friday, I thought it'd be fun to talk about the love affair between camera junkies and car aficionados.  Or more specifically, to talk about taking car photos.

I found a helpful guide, written by Jim McIlvaine, over at My Ride is Me with three fantastic tips on how to take better pictures of your own car.  Read the whole thing here, but to paraphrase him, McIlvaine has broken down his guide into three easy tips:

1) Location, Location, Location.  McIlvaine talks about finding a location being as important as the car itself.  He recommends finding places with interesting, but uniform backgrounds so the focus remains on your ride.  Notice how in the photo above, the Charger stands out against all that asphalt below the horizon line.

2) Composition. McIlvaine recommends aggressive camera angles, getting as low or as high as possible, making as many of the cars wheels visible as possible ("which really shows off the shape of your vehicle")

3) Steady Now!  McIlvaine warns against using a camera's flash on a car's many reflective surfaces, but without a flash, your camera may need a longer exposure time, and therefor, a tripod his highly recommended.

It's some pretty good advice for anyone taking car photos (I personally can't wait to try out some of these tips, myself), which brings me to something else...

For this week up on Steve's Facebook page, I'd love to see some cars -- your actual cars, dream cars, race cars, trucks, armored vehicles, tanks -- if it has an engine, wheels, and you took the photo yourself, post it up on our wall and tell us what camera you used to take it!  I think this is going to be a lot of fun.