Category Archives: Car Photographs
Everybody can take a photo of a car. What makes a photo of a car a good photograph is the combination of many things, the most important of which can be summarized as follows:
- A nice car for itself is not enough – it needs to be photographed in a suitable environment: visually interesting, but not too distracting. The background usually correlates to the car somehow. There could be a road that fades into the horizon or some object that visually strengthens the transition from tarmac to background. Try to give the car some empty space to “drive” into. Photographing a car pointed towards a wall will kill all the dynamics in the picture.
- The perspective from which the car is photographed needs to be chosen carefully. Cars usually look great from a 2/3 or 3/4 position in front or to the back and to the side of the vehicle. From this perspective, either the front or the back of the car is clearly visible, and in addition to this one side of the vehicle can be (at least partially) seen. Taking the picture from a position close to the ground or elevated above car-level can make it more interesting.
(Ultra) wide angles and long focal lengths can both work. Be aware of the distortion that low focal lengths produce in the picture and try to use this to your advantage.
- The third very important point to consider is the lighting of the scene. Light striking the car at low angles (that is, in the morning after sunset or in the dawn before sundown) is usually preferable over light coming from a high angle (as in the middle of the day).
Furthermore, it is often beneficial to use a flash as diffuse fill flash to illuminate dark areas and to brighten up reflective surfaces.
These aspects are what I found to be helpful. But as for most rules in photography, they can be broken. Try for yourself and experiment with the setting to get a picture that is to your liking.
This photo of a BMW 330d Sport Edition in Le Mans Blue was taken in early 2011 in a garage made of concrete at nighttime. During an exposure time of thirty seconds the scene was illuminated by multiple flashs from a photoflash (off camera) and by use of a torch light.
This photo of a BMW 5 Series Touring 525i was taken in France in a spot with a great view on the valley of Biévre (fr.: la plaine de Biévre) from the descent of Frette (fr.: descente de la Frette).
This photo was derived from a HDR (high dynamic range) picture constructed by merging three separate exposures together into one image. That is why there are fine details in both the dark and bright areas of the picture, which could not have both been captured with just one exposure.
This photo shows a dark BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo (GT) on a country road just outside of Cologne (ger.: Köln). As a highly motorized and yet comfortable and luxurious limousine it picks up the Grand Touring spirit and makes it possible to travel on long-distance and high-speed journeys in both luxury and style.
While there are controversial opinions on whether the BMW 5 GT is a good looking car, in the perspective of the shot below I believe it is quite a looker.
This black BMW 3 Series 325i Cabrio (with a 6-cylinder engine and a hardtop; based on the 3 Series Coupé) is a sportive 4-seat convertible made by the Bayerische Motorenwerke.
I took this photo under a railroad bridge in front of a wooden shad. During digital post-processing I converted the picture to black and white (with a sepia-like tone) and deliberately kept the dirt on the front of the car to contribute to it’s overall raw and aggressive appearance.
This picture shows a black Mercedes Benz CLS Coupé with a 6-cylinder diesel engine (350 CDI) on a street inside of Munich (the streets name is Bavariaring, which is next to the Kaiser Ludwig Platz on which the Münchener Oktoberfest is held). This luxurious car is constructed on the basis of the Mercedes Benz E-Class limousine. It has a coupé-like shape, but since it has four doors and more importantly a center pillar it is no Coupé by strict definition.
The photo was taken at a focal length of 15mm, what makes this an ultra wide angle shot and results in the distortion of the car’s form. In digital post-processing the color saturation and sharpness of the background were reduced to make the car stand out.
The BMW Z4 is a sportive Roadster with a convertible hardtop from german car maker Bayerische Motorenwerke. This photo was taken in front of a company building with a nice contrast between the white car and the dark gray tarmac. The wide angle perspective results in some distortion which makes the car appear to extend towards the camera. This results in an aggressive and dynamic appearance in the picture.
The most apparent modification introduced in post-processing is probably the considerable black vignette I added to the corners of the image.
This picture was taken in winter in front of a company building. It shows a front view of a dark BMW 7 Series luxury limousine.
Most car photos show either a 2/3 or 3/4 view of the car from a photographing position angular to the front or back of the vehicle (see my other car pictures). This picture however was shot from a position directly in front of the car and close to the ground. In combination with the high contrast between the dark BMW and the almost white background (which was further increased during post-processing), the car is literally bearing out towards the viewer.
This photo shows a BMW 330d Sport Edition during nighttime. Multiple flashed from a photoflash were used to illuminate the scene during a long exposure time of 30 seconds. Extensive digital post processing mainly focused on the removal of direct reflections and fine tuning of the brightness and contrast levels throughout the image.