Extending Your Point of View

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

One of the most important thing to keep in mind when photographing any car is your camera angle. Choosing the best possible position can simplify the overall composition by eliminating distractions you might see at eye level, which is the way many people shoot cars. Low or high angles not only provide a different perspective but minimize background clutter. Some pros use twenty-foot stepladders but even a short, two-step kitchen step stool will get you higher than eye level.

How I made this shot: In the above shot of a VW Beetle that was parked on a supermarket parking lot, I was holding a point-and-shoot digital camera over my head to create a classic “Hail Mary” shot. The blur was added later in Photoshop.

Before schlepping any kind of support to a car show, email one of the organizers for permission, especially if it’s an indoor show. Don’t forget that Hail Mary option that works great with camera that have flip-out, swiveling screens. Aim the screen at you an hold the camera as high as you can. Bang, zoom you got the shot.

If you can’t get higher, try low angles. The best shots can be made when you’re sitting or lying on the ground pointing your camera at angles up at the car. One of the disadvantages of using low camera angles and wide-angle lenses is that sometimes wheels will not be round because of distortion at the edges of the lens, focal length and camera angle. If that kind of technical problem bothers you, you’ll need to shoot with a view camera or pricey tilt-shift lens. It doesn’t bother me.

What did I photograph climbing up on a ladder? You can read all about on the post called “How I Photographed a Small Car Collection.”