Take Stunning Photos Of Your Car: Tips By 3 Pro Photographers People of Interest

[Brought to you by Volkswagen Singapore]

You know your car is startlingly beautiful. But why does it look so flat in pictures, no matter from which angle you shoot it? Three professional photographers share 13 insider tips.

You love your car like marathon runners love their race medals. You’re fiercely protective of your ride because you earned it, and you’d flaunt it at any given opportunity because, well, you can. Only there’s one problem – the photos you take of your car don’t do it justice in any way. So how do you translate the awesomeness of your trusty road companion into pictures? Here, three professional photographers – Eric Chen, and Joel Tam, and one who goes by the moniker Sgcarshoot – share some insider tips.

From Eric Chen


1. Avoid going too close to the car and using a wide angled lens as these would make the car appear disproportionate in pictures. Moving back and using a focal length of 35mm to 50mm is recommended as it keeps the car in proportion and at the same time you will also be able to see more of the side of the car, which makes it look more pleasing. (The picture above is shot using a focal length of 50mm.)


2. Angle the front wheels of the car – this makes any car look instantly cooler in photos.


3. Location and lighting conditions are key to producing any great image. Researching the location and preparing for the shot is an important step in capturing great car images. It is important to note that the direction of the sun – a tilted angle creates nicer shadows and highlights on the car.


4. Try different angles. There are no right or wrong angles; going high or low can give you unexpectedly brilliant results.

From Sgcarshoot


5. We love to do rolling shots so a camera that has good control of shutter, aperture and ISO really helps to capture crisp and noise-free images, especially in low light areas like tunnels or when shooting highly reflective cars. The cam car also has to be of a softer suspension to reduce camera shake during the drive.


6. Lighting cannot be harsh. Always do location scouting before a shoot. It’s good to know the direction of the sun either during a sunrise or sunset shoot to get that desired flare. A lens polariser helps cut down reflections on the car too.


7. The tripod is your best friend for low-light photography. Sometimes an auxiliary handheld lighting comes in handy too. It’s always good to take a few different exposures then later work the magic in Photoshop … which brings us to the next point.


8. Know your Photoshop. It can do wonders to push the limits of the pixels on the desired image, ie. removing background clutter or photobombers.

From Joel Tam


9. When thinking of a location, try as far as possible to find an open space to avoid reflections from objects around. Places like Lim Chu Kang and Changi Aviation Park Road are ideal spots. You’re shooting a car after all; driving around to find the perfect backdrop is part of the fun!


10. A good car colour for photographers who are starting out in automotive photography is white. White picks up the least reflections so you can concentrate on the other aspects of shooting such as angle, composition and exposure. Silver or red can be considered next, but black should be reserved for the professionals.


11. If you have to shoot a dark-coloured car, make sure you keep in mind point number one. Other tricks to help your car stand out more would be to find a light-coloured ground to shoot on. Some open-air carparks have light grey concrete flooring which would work well.


12. When shooting car interiors, don’t limit yourself to the frame of your viewfinder to compose the photo. Using what’s around you can give the photo more depth. For instance, the door frame, steering wheel, windows, etc.


13. Apply the rule of thirds. This rule in composing photos works for any subject in photography, but especially so with cars. Some cameras have the guidelines built in, but if yours doesn’t, simply ‘split’ your viewfinder into nine parts and place the subject in the intersections. This helps your photo become more balanced and will enable a viewer to interact with it more naturally.

All images are taken by the respective photographers who provided the tips.


Now that you’ve learned car photography tricks and tips from the pros, it’s time to put those skills into practice with your own car. Submit your car photos to Volkswagen at with the subject header “Go Away x Volkswagen Photo Contest”, and the best one will win a 3D2N test drive with the Passat R-Line! Contest ends January 16, 2017. The winner will be contacted directly by Volkswagen. Happy snapping!

With wanderlust flowing in her veins, Lili has always had grand dreams of travelling the world, escaping to exotic locales and experiencing different cultures. Whenever Life gets too much for her, she reaches straight for her earphones to tune out the world. More than just a temporary distraction, music has a profound way of taking her to places that stir the soul.

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