Car photography tips


TPF Noob!
Jan 30, 2022
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Hey there!
This is my second camera now, the first of which was my father's old one. I like to go car spotting from time to time, I really enjoy getting some fantastic shots with my 200mm lens, especially on a motorway bridge. I recently got a photo of a lamborghini huracan performante, and I have NO clue how I achieved such a photo. Was it the shutter speed? I'd certainly like to know if anyone could help as i'd love to achieve such photos always! Thanks a lot.


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Depending on your camera if digital there is the meta data that should have the settings used
Well, looking at the EXIF for the posted photo.

Canon EOS 750D
55-200mm lens @ 86mm
1/160 sec
ISO 400

Auto WB, Auto Exposure, Aperture Priority, Pattern Metering, Standard Scene.
The shutter speed is relatively slow, but since you followed the car during the exposure rather than holding the car absolutely still, the effect you got is a fairly sharp car against a slightly motion-blurred background. That gives a non-static experience to the viewer of the image, a sense of motion. Since it was shot at aperture priority, you got a little bit lucky that the combination of aperture and ISO resulted in the slow shutter.

Panning during the shot means that hopefully the subject stays sharp as the background moves behind it in the exposure. Slower shutter speeds enhance the difference between subject and background, but too slow makes it difficult or impossible to keep the subject sharp. Slow shutter also blurs the tire markings if those are bright, as they are with most racing tires, further emphasizing a sense of movement.
1/60 shutter, 70-300 lens at 100mm, and cropped a bit for framing.

This applies to airshow photography, where you want a sharp shot of the aircraft but you don't want frozen propeller blades hanging in the air. 1/80 shutter speed, 300mm lens, and cropped beyond that.

When I'm shooting for the background motion blur, I shoot in shutter priority mode so I have control of the exact shutter speed I want the exposure to use. I these cases, apertures is a secondary consideration.
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