Non-Photo Tips for Shooting Motorsports

Some of following suggestions about photographing a motorsport event may seem obvious to some of this blog’s readers but if you follow them I’ll guarantee that it will result in your capturing better images because there won’t be any non-photographic distractions:

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Park your vehicle in a designated parking spot. The last thing you need to hear when you are getting ready to photograph a championship event is the race announcer calling “will the owner of the orange Gremlin, please move your car or be towed.”

Remain behind safety barriers at all times. But safety barriers are not set up everywhere around a track so use your judgment when choosing a place to photograph the race. If you’re not sure about the location that you’ve selected, chances are a safety worker will shortly arrive and ask you to move. Be nice to them; they have a tough enough job.

It may not be hot at the track but it surely will be loud. Be sure to bring a pair earplugs. If you don’t have a set, most track’s concession stands sell inexpensive earplugs but plan ahead and make sure to have several good pair in your camera bag. They are easy to loose but are inexpensive to replace. Be ready to share your extras. As Emeril likes to say on TV: “Make a friend.” Share with someone who forgot theirs.

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Be alert while in the area behind the pits because there will be many scooters, 4-wheelers, motorcycles, or golf carts transporting people around. Be alert for cars getting ready to enter the staging area. Race cars don’t have horns like the family jalopy but you should hear them coming—even wearing earplugs.

As with most professional sport facilities, photographers are typically allowed to make video or still pictures of the vehicles for personal use and they may not be sold or marketed without having a prior arrangement from the speedway and/or the sanctioning body. Save yourself legal hassle but taking care of this when obtaining your track credentials. Even if the sanctioning body won’t permit photo sales, that doesn’t mean you can’t sell photographs to the teams and racers—especially during amateur events.