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by coureurdebois

Tips for taking a good car photo

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You’ll want a sharp car photo if you want to show it off, perhaps to document and remember it, or to sell it. All good reasons.

These tips should help you to get some pictures of your vehicle that you can be proud to display for any reason.

The background should be uncluttered
The background should be uncluttered

•Wash, buff, and wax the body of your vehicle. Pay extra attention to detail. Water spots and fingerprints can easily show up in a photo.

•Clean windows, both inside and out. Window cleaner helps minimize spots.

•Clean wheels and tires. Dirty or faded tires can ruin a good-looking vehicle body. Make the wheels shine with a good wheel cleaner. Make sure the tires and treads are clean and black. Use tire paint. If you have raised white letters, make sure they are white.


•Backgrounds can complement, contrast, or be neutral – but should be uncluttered.

•If in doubt about backgrounds, go with a more neutral background, such as a brick building, thick trees, a lonely road, or perhaps a white, black, or nighttime background.

•Find a location that has a background that complements your vehicle. For example, park a vintage muscle car at a drive-in restaurant.

•Sometimes it works well to contrast your vehicle with the background, such as a luxury car in front of an old barn.

•Any background should be uncluttered. The vehicle is the main object; don’t let a busy background distract.

Camera Work

•Take lots of pictures from every angle and from various distances.

•If your camera allows it, try different apertures. You can blur the background some with a wider aperture.

•Make sure your reflection does not show in the windows or in the shine of the vehicle body.

•Watch for reflections from trees, buildings, etc. These are usually undesirable, but in some instances can add an artsy effect.

•Try turning the front wheels sharply to the right or left.

•Experiment with and without using a flash.

•See if you like the look with the headlights on or off.

•Cloudy or rainy days can make for an interesting effect.


•You may or may not want to add props. Make sure the props do not distract. Remember, you are focusing on a picture of your vehicle, not the accessories.

•People almost always make a photo more interesting. If you have people in the photo, they should be dressed to complement the vehicle.

•Nonhuman props could include skis, a dog, a racing helmet, etc.