As car enthusiasts we devote a great deal of time in maintaining our prized collection of rides and an even greater time admiring their beauty and standing in awe of the exquisite lines that great automotive designers have endowed them with. As much as we like to admire the cars ourselves, we also want to share their beauty with fellow gear heads. Taking and sharing pictures of cars goes hand in hand with being a car buff. As auto shows become more and more popular and crowdy at Pakwheels, I thought out few pointers that can help take the best photographs of cars.
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1. Get down low: We look at the world from our height’s perspective, everything seems ordinary at that angle. Whether it be a rare car or an everyday four-door sedan, if the photograph is taken from eye level, it will not look overly impressive. Cars look best from about knee height, get down on your knees as if you are proposing to your loved one and stead of taking out a ring, whip out your camera and start clicking away. Because this is not the usual height you see cars from, it will be a lot more pleasing to the eyes.
2. Follow the rule of thirds: This may seem obvious to a seasoned photographer but saying to follow is different from actually following it. Many beginner photographer frame the main subject, in this case a car, smack at the center. This is natural to them as this is how they see the world around them normally. However placing the car off center will look anything but ordinary and will again produce a great image.
3. Take your time: When we see a car that piques our interest, the natural instinct is to go all trigger happy and fire that camera like a M56 submachine gun. That is absolutely the wrong approach to have. Just as we stand still and admire each line individually, we need to pay attention to those lines of the car when taking photographs. Take your time thinking from what angle those curves would translate best for the photograph. A single great shot is far better than hundreds of mediocre shots.
4. Try a 3/4th shot: Most if not all cars look best from this point of view. If you ever run out of angles to photograph or are having a hard time figuring out a single one, a 3/4th view is always a safe bet.
5. Don’t forget little details: A car is made of several individual parts; everyone of them serves a purpose. Even the coils on a suspension are beautiful as are the brake disks. Taking photographs of a full car is great but always get up close and personal to the car and photograph the details of the car that give it character. An M badge, a three pointed star and even the spirit of ecstasy are identifiable symbols that give the car recognition.
6. Include motion: Cars give us the thrill and sensation of speed, with a slow shutter speed – doing a panning shot of a car passing by will make for a great photograph.
7. Exposing properly: This is a no brainer but something to keep in mind. Dark colored cars will always throw the camera’s meter off and overexpose the image while bright colored cars will underexpose the image, raising or slowing the shutter speed respectively will compensate for that.
8. Scout out beautiful locations: A car no matter how beautiful – is boring if it is photographed on a plain canvas. A car looks best in its natural environment. A twisty back road, an endless straight, empty highway in the desert, or maybe even a bridge by the river will do. Take your cars out to amazing locations and photograph them there, they will look even more amazing. They will look in their natural element.
These are just a few tips that will aid you in making the best out of your time behind the camera. Just remember to take your time taking photographs and not rush at it.
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