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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
1. Professional tips for shooting your car:

  • Digital camera users only: set your camera for MAXIMUM quality (i.e., "Best" or "Fine") and MEDIUM-to-HIGH resolution. No exceptions.
  • Avoid harsh, midday sunlight. Do not shoot your car in hard sunlight. If for some bizarre reason you MUST shoot in glaring/overhead sunlight, then FORCE YOUR FLASH TO WORK on every single shot. Better yet, schedule your photo-shoot to begin right after dawn, or 45 minutes or so before dusk, when the (low, unobstructed) sun is approaching ground level. Your shadow will be long, so remember to stay low and keep your shadow off your car. DO NOT walk around your car shooting photos: trust me, the sun will not follow you around your car. YOU MUST ALWAYS shoot the sunlit side(s) of your car--that is to say, the sun will ALWAYS be at your back; in your 3/4-view shots, the sun will be illuminating BOTH THE SIDE AND THE FRONT of your car; if not, then rotate your car until it does. Got that? Wet down dark/asphalt pavement for a 'glistening' highlight effect. As the sun gets lower and your sunlight just begins to subside (but there's still plenty of light), turn on your parking lights and/or your headlights for a nice highlight effect. This strategy works especially well on light-colored cars. DO NOT use your flash for these (parking lights-on/ headlights-on shots).


  • Keep your car on pavement---clean, uncluttered, unstriped (read: NO WHITE LINES) pavement. Hot tip: park a dark car on concrete or light gravelly surface, a light car on clean asphalt. Cobblestone and patterned pavement also photographs well. DO NOT PARK YOUR CAR ON GRASS. Scrub and Armorall your tires!


  • Keep your doors & decks closed, and don't have folks standing alongside (or behind) your car.


  • DO NOT STAND UP AND SHOOT DOWN on your car; instead, kneel down and shoot from ± waist level. Shoot a mix of 3/4 shots (angle for more side than front) and broadside shots. And force your flash to work.


  • For each full-car shot, shoot once FORCING YOUR FLASH TO WORK, then again w/o your flash. In other words, at least 50% of your full-car photos should be taken with your flash forced on. The brighter/ more glaring the OH sunlight, the more you MUST force your flash into operation. If you possess an auxiliary strobe flash, USE IT... the extra horsepower of your strobe pays BIG, BIG dividends outdoors! Use 'em both, force 'em to work!
  • Zoom-in and fill your frame with mostly motorcar, but leave at least a couple of feet on either side of the car in the photo frame.. Avoid "fisheye distortion": DO NOT shoot your full-car shots up close at wide-angle; instead, back up and zoom-in. And force your flash to work.


  • Carefully examine the composition and make sure that (for example) there are no trees or signposts growing out of your windshield or rollbar--this alone is a good reason to use your tripod. And force your flash to work.


2. Shooting your cockpit (and engine compartment):

  • FORCE YOUR FLASH TO WORK on every single cockpit shot (and engine compartment and trunk/boot shot). EVERY SINGLE ONE, no exception. DO NOT RELY ON SUNLIGHT for engine and cockpit shots. Have you got that? And it's okay for you to use your wide-angle lens or wide-angle zoom setting for your engine and cockpit shots.


  • Specific cockpit tips: Vacuum your carpet to sparkling clean and saddle-soap or oil the leather; Make sure your steering wheel is straight (if it's a tilt column, tilt it down to driving position); make sure your sunvisors are hinged down to near-horizontal; remove your keychain from the ignition. And force your flash to work.
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Remember:
use that FORCED FLASH feature on your modern camera.
For your motorcar camera work it will often make the difference between
crappy snapshots and good photographs.
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Digital camera users:
select the best images from your shooting session(s), then send them to us
JUST AS THEY CAME OUT OF YOUR DIGITAL CAMERA. Do not, repeat DO NOT edit or crop your photos.
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