Photos of my car (critiques?)


TPF Noob!
Aug 9, 2013
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Here are a few photos of my car, taken over the past few years. I'm not a pro, so please don't get too technical (yet). I've only just recently decided to start learning what all the settings and such are for on my camera. Everything was shot with a Canon S3 IS. My primary problems as I see them are finding good lighting, and getting the focus right (the camera, not the car.....). I really like doing night shots, which have been very difficult as well. The camera just can't auto focus well enough, and I can't see the screen well enough to manually do it.




Also, I REALLY like the overall feel of the third picture, but hate that the car isn't in focus terribly well, and those damn lights are way too bright. How could I fix such issues in the future?

As for settings used, I just about always kept the aperture at f2.7 (I didn't even know what the hell it did until a few months ago...) and the ISO at 80, then adjusted the shutter speed accordingly.
for night get a tripod (dont need a super expensive one) and go to a location of your choosing. i would set the aperture around f8 or f11 (maybe boost your iso a tad), should help with a bit of focusing. take a flash light with you if you dont feel comfortable setting your focus yourself, when you get all set up with the angle you want push the button half way while you shine the flash light on your car (now there will be enough light for your camera to focus for you) and once you got it in focus switch to manual focus so now it is locked. and take a few test shots. see what your results are and adjust accordingly, i would recommend shooting manual mode or at least aperture priority. and easiest way to not have those lights so bright is just dont park so close so there not over powering go a few rows away, or change your angle up.

also dont be scared to play around a bit with the camera settings if you are nervous about manual. its the best way to learn your camera. try watching a few car photography videos on youtube, you might learn a few things
I do use a tripod for night shots, although I think I might upgrade to a better one. I think I might also start using the timer for shots to avoid moving the camera as much. I've tried the flashlight trick as well, which does help a lot. Next time I go out I'm going to make a point of trying different apertures...
In my opinion when it comes to auto photography the placement of the car is a huge hit or miss. Finding good locations will help you become a better automotive photographer. I think your photos have potential but are ruined by the areas the car is in. Parking lots suck, things blocking portions of the car such as curbs, guardrails and telelphones suck. Night photography of cars is very difficult and can be a huge pain to beginners. My suggestion is continue to shoot in the daytime in areas that help the overall picture. Once you have that down youll be able to shoot anywhere and make it look good. Try camera and car placement too on multiple shots and and see what works the best, remember to be contious of the angle, some can make or ruin a shot
Do you process them after they come off your camera? If so what do you use?
I try to use photoshop, but I don't do much to them as I'm not yet able to fully understand all that it offers. I typically sharpen them a bit, then resize and crop as needed.
Car shots can be made or broken by the angles, the location and the time of day imo. For this kind of shot you really need a stunning location to really make the shot. It looks like you are just about getting the angles (to me the view I want is low drivers side at 45 degrees ish to show the profile and the grill mostly). Pics at sunset can be really nice but I think you need to use flash to get that pop. I've seen speedlights and radio triggers put on the seats before to illuminate the inside of the car which can be a really cool look.
I've been wanting an external flash, but I'm not sure what would work with this (if anything). Something I need to research here soon.

I did take a few shots at what I thought were great locations, but they turned out quite poorly. The angle and location and all that were good, but the lighting was off and I didn't do a good job on the camera side of it all. I used to live in an area with a lot of industrial areas, some of which were abandoned, that made for great locations (it was just outside Detroit); now I'm living a couple hours away in a more rural area. I should go out and find some good spots to shoot and see what I can do with them.
Location, setting, and composition are KEY. All of these are super cropped with no space anywhere around the car, and all are center weighted images. Look up the rule of thirds.

As far as settings go, I'm assuming that you understand the exposure triangle based on these images (although the last 2 are a tad underexposed)

A few tips though.
-Instead of shooting wide open (at 2.7) shoot it with a little deeper DOF so that the entire car is in sharp focus, unless you're wanting to really make something stand out. For example, if a car is sideways and you are shooting it on a flat plane, f2.7 would be fine because that shallow DOF will cover pretty much everything on the car.
Now say you have it at a *45 and you have the entire 10ft+ that you are wanting to get in focus, bump your aperture up to say 5.6 or so so that the whole car is sharp.

For shooting/focusing at night, bring a flashlight. Shine the light on the spot you want the camera to focus. After its focused, lock the focus or flip it to manual focus.

Angles are key as well.
Taking a picture of a car, standing, is boring. Its the same angle we see cars allllll day every day. Kneel down, lay down, crouch down, anything but standing.

-sorry if any/all of these tips were already posted LOL

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