It’s Winter; Time for Indoor Car Show Photography

by | Dec 6, 2019

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

While the Parker, Colorado Cars & Coffee is a year-round event—weather or not. Outdoor car shows are on hold, at least in my part of the country, for a while as we wait for the Spring shows in 2020. In the meantime, here are a few tips to help with your car photography in museums and at indoor car shows.

To make interesting photographs at a car show the most important thing is that you gotta love cars. A passion for your subject is always a plus and enables you to look beyond the surface of a car to see its essence, its soul.

Tip #1: It’s also a good idea to remove show placards such as the identification cards placed on the dash or under the windshield wiper. Don’t do it yourself! Ask the owner before touching any part of his or her car. It’s best to have them do it, so ask politely. I wasn’t able to do it for the above photograph.

Tip #2: Continuing with that thought…before taking any pictures try to talk to the owner. You don’t need to be an expert; just be curious and polite. Most owners can talk for hours about their cars because there never was a project that didn’t have some interesting twists and turns. One of the best ways to get to know the owner involves asking questions.

How I made this shot: The above image was made using a Canon EOS 5D Mark I and now discontinued EF 22-55mm f/4–5.6 USM lens (at 22mm) with an exposure of 1/60 sec at f/4 and ISO 800.

Tip #3: Although it’s not always possible, try not make photographs with the hoods—or bonnets if they are British—raised. Many owners like to display the cleanliness or sparkling chrome underneath but that’s not always the best way to photography a vehicle because it breaks the car’s lines There are times, such as in the above image, where the car needs to have the hood up. Who makes that determination? You do. If the owner is nearby, ask them if they would close the hood so you can make a photograph of the car. In exchange, offer to give them a print or e-mail them a JPEG of the finished image, both of which positions you as a photographer who cares.

How I made this shot: The above image was made using a Canon EOS 50D and the now-discontinued Tamron 11-18mm f/4.5-5.6 (at 13mm,) that’s been replaced by the newer 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di II VC HLD lens. Exposure was 1/30 sec at f/15 and ISO 1600 with a plus two-thirds stop exposure compensation. Both images featured were processed in Vivenza.

If you enjoyed today’s blog post and would like to treat me to a cup of Earl Grey tea ($2.50), please click here. And if you do, thanks so much.


Along with photographer Barry Staver, Joe is co-author of Better Available Light Digital Photography that’s out-of-print but new copies are available for $21.88 or used copies for giveaway prices—less than two bucks—from Amazon, as I write this. Kindle version, for some reason, is really expensive