Also Read: Smart Tips For Motorcycle Photography
Equipment and Tools
As we discussed earlier, we all know what equipment’s will be needed to take good pictures. In today’s tech savvy world we do have different types of equipment’s to enhance our photography and its skills. It’s on us how much budget or money we can spend on the equipment. DSLR cameras with fast shutter and better ISO range. Wide range of lenses with a good quality tripod and filters on the lenses play a major role. Cars have glossy paintwork with different colours. They tend to reflect sunlight or reflection of surrounding. Polarising filter helps to avoid reflection and makes the colour of the car stand out. These filters also help when we are shooting interior of the car. We have seen few cars getting chrome inside the cabin, to give a rich feel and using polarising filter for such shot helps to deliver more realistic images.
Backdrop and Composition
We do know that cars come in different shape and size, it looks different in every angel we see. Headlights with the grill connecting to bumper and those lines continuing with wheel arch and the rear of every car is different as personal signature which defines that car from distance. Since a car has many, different elements to play around to make it look good. It looks nice when a car is shot in contrast of its body colour. To explain, let us discuss about colour wheel. Using correct colour combination in photography helps to draw attention and creates powerful visual effect which stands out from others. Colour wheel illustrate the basic idea of how different colour combinations work with each other.
For example, if we are shooting a red metallic colour car then green will be complementary colour and highly contrasting which can create a striking vibrant image. So, we shot a red colour car with dense green mountain in background will make are subject pop and strike the eye of our viewer. There are no rules to follow with colour wheel however, this helps to add engagement with viewers. Whereas composition is concerned we still follow the same step as we do for bikes, but we need to remember that car is bigger in size compared to bike, so it needs to be placed accordingly.
Now let’s open the doors and get inside the car where we can find elements of all sizes and shape. For example, steering wheel with controls mounted on it, gear lever and the chrome on it, start-stop button and centre console with all the gadgets, buttons and screen. These are few to name, but I am sure we can find more. Creating a frame for an interior shot with so many elements in one frame is a challenge. Because every element will shine and have different colours and a different feel to it.
First and foremost, we will need a wide lens to shoot a car’s cabin, where space is limited and so is the movement. 16-35mm is ideal but we can use much wider or a wide prime lens for the same. We need to also understand that we should get enough light inside the cabin. Avoid shooting under direct sunlight as it would get patchy and won’t look good. Shaded place or a parking lot is recommended. Once everything is in position then we can get our DSLR setting done. Get the correct metering and increase the aperture to f8 or more. This will give large depth of field which will keep everything in focus and sharp.
We do know how to deal with action shots. Slower the shutter more is the motion blur in our shots and understanding that more the blur in the image, the more dramatic it looks. A car is bigger object to cover in the frame, so it’s always suggested to capture action shots with f5.6 aperture or more and the reason to do so is to get the whole car sharp and just the background blurred. We can take action shots at large aperture (f2.8) but that might give us a sharp image at the point where the camera is focusing. For example, if we lock our focus on headlight of the car, then the front image will be sharp, but the rear of the car won’t be sharp and that’s because of ‘depth of field’ factor. Also, while taking action shots like tracking or pan shots try to keep the car more towards the backdrop. For example, a textured wall, trees or divider. This will help in getting more motion blur in the image.
We all know how important it is to work on raw images to give that perfect touch to our image. We find list of different editing software in market which can give various effects to our images. It’s our personal choice which one we opt for or which software we are comfortable using. Working on brightness, contrast, exposure, highlight and shadows are some of the basic tweaks. Since car has more possibility of reflection on its body, we should choose correct tool to enhance it or remove some unwanted reflection which can spoil the image. In post-production we can also work as per colour wheel and change the background colour which can complement our main subject and make it look artistic. It’s always a suggestion to not overdo to an original image. If it looks beautiful without any extra effects, then just let it be as it is.
Taking a picture is not just a gesture of clicking a button but it’s much more than that which involves calculation, physics, understanding colour combination, lighting and most importantly, creativity. Always remember ‘we take photos as a return ticket to the moment, otherwise gone.’