There are other ways to enjoy cars besides driving, and one of them is photography. You don’t need an expensive camera to take good car pictures, either. This video from Porsche provides some helpful tips on taking car photos with your phone’s camera.
In the video, automotive photographer Jordan Lenssen explains that the first thing to do when taking a photo is to lock the camera’s autofocus and exposure. This is usually done by tapping the screen at the area you want to be the main focus of the image. It ensures that area is in focus, and exposure settings don’t leave it too dark or too light. It’s also generally good to keep the horizon level, but there are exceptions to that rule, Lenssen noted.
If you’re shooting your own car, find a location that works. Look for an interesting background without any distracting clutter, like power lines, and with plenty of space to maneuver the car if needed. Lenssen recommends shooting from multiple angles, including head-on, direct side, and front and rear three-quarter.
Porsche Passion School photography video screenshot
Height is also important. Low shooting heights give the car a more dramatic look, but shooting from above can also show off details that might not show up in more conventionally composed shots, such as the interior of a convertible with the top down. Granted, this requires a little more ingenuity to get the requisite height.
The next thing to consider is light. The most basic setup is direct light, where sunlight illuminates the entire car more or less evenly. Alternatively, you can park the car at an angle to the sun for cross lighting, which throws shadows on some parts of the car to highlight bodywork details. It’s also possible to use backlighting—where the light source is behind the car and facing the camera—but it can be tricky to get the right exposure. Shadows should be avoided, unless you want to get creative. For detail shots, Lenssen suggests focusing on areas in pockets of light, and manually reducing the exposure to darken surrounding areas.
Once you have a shot, the next step is editing. Most phones have some editing software, as do social media apps like Instagram. Lenseen suggests starting with “global” edits that affect the entire image, adjusting brightness, shadows, and contrast to pull out more detail. White balance can emphasize weather conditions. Yellow makes images look warmer and sunnier, while blue heightens the effect of clouds. Finally, crop the image to emphasize the car.