Pro Car Photography Tips: Capture Stunning Auto Images

Photographing cars for publication is an art that requires attention to detail, a keen eye for aesthetics, and an understanding of technical aspects. Whether you’re shooting for a magazine, online platform, or personal portfolio, capturing cars in their best light involves more than just pointing and shooting. Here’s how to excel in automotive photography, from lighting and location to angles and vehicle preparation.

Mastering Lighting

The Golden Hours

  • Optimal Timing: Shoot during the golden hours—just after sunrise or before sunset—when the light is soft, warm, and diffused. This reduces harsh shadows and highlights the car’s contours.

Cloudy Conditions as a Softbox

  • Diffused Lighting: Overcast days can provide naturally diffused light, eliminating harsh shadows and providing even lighting across the vehicle.

Choosing the Right Location

Context Matters

  • Scouting Locations: Select a location that complements the car’s character. A vintage car might look best in a historical setting, while a sports car might stand out on a modern city street or race track.

Avoiding Distractions

  • Clean Background: Ensure the background is uncluttered. Distractions can divert attention from the vehicle, so opt for simple, clean backgrounds that make the car the focal point.

Playing with Viewing Angles

Eye-Level Versatility

  • Standard Shots: Eye-level shots are versatile, offering a natural perspective. Experiment with different distances to capture the car’s profile, front, and rear angles.

High and Low Perspectives

  • Dynamic Shots: Low angles make cars look more imposing and powerful. High-angle shots can capture the vehicle’s layout and are ideal for showing off the roof or custom details.

Vehicle Preparation is Key

Spotless Inside and Out

  • Cleanliness: Ensure the car is immaculate. Dust and dirt can be distracting and diminish the photo’s quality. Pay special attention to the wheels and windows.

Detailing Matters

  • Attention to Detail: Small details can make a big difference. Ensure the car’s best features are clean and prominent, such as badges, grilles, and lights.

Post-Production Touches

Enhancing the Final Image

  • Editing Software: Use editing software sparingly to enhance the photo’s natural beauty. Adjust brightness, contrast, and saturation to reflect the car’s true colors without overdoing it.


Capturing the perfect car photo for publication is a blend of art and science. By mastering lighting, selecting the right location, exploring various viewing angles, and ensuring the vehicle is in pristine condition, you can create stunning images that highlight the beauty and essence of any automobile. Remember, the goal is to tell a story through your photos, making the car not just a subject, but a star.

Sign Up For A List of Events

Oh sure, you could come back here week after week to look for a list of car stuff to do, but why bother?

Our Basic email program is simple: Just tell us the State where you live, and we’ll send you a list of the events in that state. Simple.  And if that’s too many events (which is possible) you can opt for our Premium email program which is designed to send you a list of only those events withing 30, 60, 90 or 120 miles of your zip code.

That should leave you plenty of time to polish the car.