Photograph Your Own Car

The best way to learn how to photograph cars is the “Practice, practice, practice.”

Automobiles make great photographic subjects. Whether listening to the raspy roar of a Ferrari Formula One car blasting off the banking or enjoying the quiet elegance of a vintage Packard Sport Phaeton parked on the 18th Hole at Pebble Beach, cars and photography are a natural combination. Get out your camera and lets make some pictures of these cars!

Jaguar XJ-S

On any given weekend there’s a car show or Concours d’Elegance happening somewhere. I try to feature shows I will be attending here so you can join me in an informal PhotoWalk—and many readers have do so. You can find information about shows in newspapers, enthusiast publications, and the Internet.

A growing phenomenon within America’s car culture is impromptu shows not associated with a special event or organization but occur on a regular basis at a local donut shop or burger joint. These gatherings are harder to find but make the effort because they are smaller in size and attract a different kind of enthusiast and cars. Visit shops that cater to cool cars, such as tire and wheel stores, upholstery, or paint shops, in short anyplace where you see interesting cars parked outside. Ask about upcoming shows, including those informal gatherings.


There isn’t always a car show scheduled so why not shoot your own car?The photograph of my now-departed XJ-S at top was shot near Denver’s Mamie D Eisenhower Park. It was made with a Pentax K-100 and smc Pentax-DA 50-200mm f/4-5.6 ED lens at 200m with an exposure of 1/350 sec at f/8 and ISO 200. One of the oldest tricks in the car photography book is to wet down the street to create reflections. I didn’t have permission or a hose to do that here so the water was added in post production using the wonderful plug-in called Flood from Flaming Pear Software. Download the trial version and give it a try,

The photo of my wife’s low mileage (48,000 mile) 2006 Mercedes 350 SLK (below the Jag) was made in a local park using a an Olympus E-M5 Mark I with Olympus 14-42mm F=f/3.5-5.6 II R lens at 29mm. Exposure was 1/125 sec at f/6.3 and ISO 400.

You can see more of our old cars by using the blog’s Search feature and searching for “our cars.”