Introduction

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Photo of BMW 5 Series Touring in France Photo of white BMW Z4 Roadster (23i, white) Photo of BMW 3 Series (330d Sport Edition) Photo of BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo (GT, 530d, Grand Tour)

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