car Photo by Rodan Can on Unsplash

Ultimate Guide to Car Photography: Main Types | Gear | Expert Tips

If you're into photography, there's a good chance you've at least entertained the idea of car photography. Capturing that perfect shot of a shiny new Ferrari or Rolls Royce can be an incredibly rewarding experience

In this guide, we'll explore the different types of car photography and offer some tips to help you get started. So, whether you're a seasoned pro or starting, read on for all you need to know about shooting cars.​​​​​

What is Car Photography, Types, and Purpose?

Car photography is a special photography genre that captures automobiles' images. It can be used for various purposes, such as advertising, design, and documentation. There are many types of car photography, each with its specific purpose.

1. Commercial Car Photography

This type of photography is used to sell cars. It is often found in car magazines and advertisements. The goal is to make the car look as appealing as possible so that potential buyers will be interested in purchasing it. This type of photography typically features the car in a beautiful location with the perfect lighting.

2. Car Photography at an Exposition

This type of photography is taken at car shows or expositions. The purpose is to document the different cars that are on display. This type of photography often features close-ups of the different parts of the car so that viewers can see the details.

car photo  by the lake

Photo by Timeo Buehrer on Unsplash

3. Car Photography at a Race Track

This type of photography captures the excitement of racing. It is often taken at professional races, but it can also be taken at amateur races or even just practice sessions. The goal is to capture the speed and energy of the race. This type of photography often features fast-moving cars and may use a slow shutter speed to capture the motion

Best Gears for Car Photography

If you're serious about car photography, you'll need to invest in some quality gear. Here's a list of must-haves:


The best type of camera that you can use to capture high-quality car images is one with a lot more pixels. The higher the number, the clearer and closer together they will be on your photo; there's no need for heavy cropping later when printing or posting online.

A full-frame sensor camera will be needed if you want to capture the moment while your car is in motion. This type of equipment has fast auto-focus and excellent image quality for capturing moving subjects - but it comes at an expense.


One of the best lenses for car photography is a telephoto lens. This lens allows you to zoom in on your subject, allowing you to capture close-up shots without getting too close to the car. This is especially useful if you're trying to capture shots of cars moving quickly.

Another great option for car photography is a wide-angle lens. This lens gives you a wider field of view, which can be helpful when trying to capture photos of entire cars or multiple cars at once.


If the light is too bright, it can wash out the colors and details of the car. The photo may be hard to see if the light is too dim. The best time for car photography is early morning or late evening when the sun is lower in the sky and casts a softer light. Another way to improve lighting is to use reflectors to bounce light back onto the subject.


A backdrop is important in car photography as it can help set the scene and create a certain mood or feeling. For example, a cityscape backdrop can make the car look sleek and modern, while a rural landscape may make the car look rugged and tough. Backdrops can also create a sense of speed or movement by using a blurred background.

 photo of car with colorful smokes

Photo by Luca David on Unsplash

For many car photographers, Katebackdrop offers backdrops that you can use when you're doing a car photoshoot.

Top 10 Pro Tips for Your Car Photoshoot

To get great car photos, it's important to understand the different types of car photography and what gear you'll need. Here are our top tips:

1. Use soft light

The best time for car photography is early morning or late evening when the sun is lower in the sky and casts a softer light. When the sun is low in the sky, it casts a softer light that is more flattering to cars. This is known as the "golden hour," and it's the best time for car photography.

If you can't shoot during golden hour, use reflectors to bounce light back onto the subject. This will help fill in any shadows and give the car an even more appearance.

2. Choose the Right Background

Choosing the right background is important for car photography since background can make or break the photo. A car photographer can use a backdrop as their background to create a consistent look for their photos.

By having a backdrop, the photographer can control the lighting and background of the photo, making it easier to create a cohesive series of photos. Additionally, a backdrop can help set the mood or tone of the photo and make the car stand out more by providing a contrast to the car's color.

photo of car  on the mountain

Photo by Neil Mark Thomas on Unsplash

Consider the colors of the car and the background. You want them to complement each other, not clash. Think about the scale of the background relative to the car. A busy or overly-detailed background can make a small car look lost, while a blank wall may make a large car look sterile.

3. Try Different Angles

Instead of just taking a picture of the car from the front or the back, try getting down low and shooting from the side. You could also try shooting from above or even from inside the car. By changing up your perspective, you'll be able to get a variety of different photos that will show off your car's best features.

4. Don't Forget the Details

When you're taking photos of a car, it's easy to get caught up in shooting the big picture and forgetting about the smaller details. But it's often these details that make a car stand out. So make sure to take close-ups of the headlights, taillights, grill, badges,

5. Add Some Action

photo of car on the road in the forest

Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

A static car photo can be nice, but adding some action will make it stand out. Try shooting the car driving down a winding road, or capture it speeding down the highway. You could even photograph it in the rain or snow for a dramatic effect.

6. Check on the White Balance

When taking photos of cars, it's important to ensure the white balance is set correctly. This will ensure that the photos' colors are accurate and that the car doesn't look too blue or too orange.

7. Pack the Right Gear

When you're headed out for a car photoshoot, it's important to ensure you have the right gear. In addition to your camera and lenses, you'll need a tripod, reflectors, and a few other items.

8. Consider the Car's Paint Job

The color of a car can be carefully manipulated to create the perfect photo. On sunny days, avoid direct sunlight so as not to damage sensitive paints and finishings with too much exposure. Because there is less reflection, a softer color or matte finish is more adaptable in direct sunlight than a vibrant and glossy one.

9. Take Note of Composition

photo of car on the road

Photo by Brad Starkey on Unsplash

The best photos are well-composed, with the car positioned in the frame to look its best. When composing your shots, pay attention to things like the rule of thirds and leading lines.

10. Experiment With Motion Blur

 If you want to capture the feeling of speed, experiment with motion blur. This is a technique where you deliberately blur the photo to create a sense of movement. It can be tricky to get right, but it can make for some truly stunning photos when done well.


Car photography can be a lot of fun and a great way to show off your car. By following these tips, you'll be able to take some amazing photos that will make your car look its best. So get out there and start shooting.

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