LEARN HOW TO BE A “MASTER” AT TAKING PHOTOS OF CARS!

Photo by Campbell on Unsplash

As we get get closer to finishing the list of 51 Subjects in Photography, the list is Getting more exciting. Car photography can be fun, especially if you are a car enthusiast. Let’s go through this list of help items:

1. Shoot at the right time of day

This is by far the most common mistake people make when shooting cars.

You see, the best time to do car photography is a few minutes after sunset (or a few minutes before sunrise). Use a tripod and get that perfect soft light on the paint.

This photo was taken for Top Gear a few minutes before sunrise:

Car photography BMW M135i

2. Be on the lookout for reflections

You must carefully control what reflects in the car. Have a look around you, then look closely at the car and see what reflects off its surface.

A car (especially a new, shiny one) is like a mirror. So try to have an open space behind you, like a field. Also, try to avoid shooting with buildings or trees in front of the car. One of the most important things you want to show in your car pictures is the design lines of the car. But reflections can spoil these lines very quickly.

Also, be very careful not to include your own reflection in the photo. If you can’t avoid your own reflection, it’s best to put the camera on a tripod, set the timer, and move out of the shot. Just look at this photo I took of a dark shiny BMW 428i (below); behind me was nothing except the horizon. In fact, you can clearly see the horizon reflecting in the car:

Car photography tips BMW428i

3. Take driving shots

One very easy way to get a cool image is to shoot the car out of another moving car. (Please be super careful when doing this!) 

For instance, try shooting the car out of a window while driving at 37 mph (60 km/h) with a shutter speed of 1/100s or so.

By doing this, you’ll get some nice movement on the road and on the wheels. You can even decrease the shutter speed further, though this will increase your chances of ending up with blurry photos.

This Audi S3 was shot before sunset; it was driving at 70 km/h (43 mph), and I used a shutter speed of 1/125s:

Car photography tips S3 driving shot

4. Pay attention to the color of the car

All types of paint react differently at different times of the day with different light. Most colors hate direct sunlight, but some colors actually handle direct sunlight really well.

Just look at this baby blue Beetle shot in the middle of the day:

Car photography tips beetle

5. Choose your background carefully

Make sure your background suits the car and the theme. Avoid including objects in the background that will distract the eye.

Things like dustbins, power lines, and other cars can kill a picture. For this Aston Martin shot (below), I used a simple background. The yellow paint matches the car’s color:

Car photography aston martin

6. Pan for motion blur

A cool way to get some motion in your car photography is to stand next to the road and let the car drive past you.

Follow the car with your lens in one smooth action and set the shutter speed to 1/125s. You will be amazed by how easy this is!

This Ferrari was shot at 1/125s at 200mm. The car was driving roughly 37 mph (60 km/h):

Car photography tips ferrari

7. Let the car interact with nature

Here’s another way to capture a photo that speaks to you:

Make the car interact with its surroundings.

Examples of this could be a car creating dust or a 4×4 driving over an obstacle. Look at this Chevrolet Trailblazer climbing over a rock:

Car photography tips trailblazer

And this G-Class AMG drifting on loose sand:

Car photography tips G AMG

8. Shoot at night

Photographing cars at night might sound daunting, but you will be amazed by how easy and awesome it is! The biggest secret here is to find a spot where it’s completely dark; any streetlights or even a full moon could make life tricky.

Once you’ve found the right spot, set up your camera on a tripod. Set your ISO to 100, the shutter speed to 30 seconds, and the aperture to f/9.

When the shutter opens, take a strong constant light source and walk around the car, “painting” it with your light. A normal household flashlight works for this.

There are no rules here. Paint the car in different ways to get different effects, and you will be blown away by the results! Here are some examples of this technique:

Car photography tips Opel Astra
Dodge Charger with the skyline of Detroit City

Tips for taking better photos of cars: conclusion

Car photography may seem difficult, but with these handy tips, you’re well-equipped to take some stunning car photos of your own.

So pick your favorite technique from the article, get outside, and start shooting!

This article written by Desmond Louw for DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY SCHOOL ! For further information go to: https://digital-photography-school.com/

As per these instructions, I took a photo of my sons’ Mustang, and it appears that the guidelines were followed well:

Photo by Lanny Cottrell Photography

Learn how to take pictures of insects:

female monarch butterfly perching on red petal flower
Photo by Tinthia Clemant on Pexels.com

Insects are one thing that is an interesting phenomenon in our world. Either we love them or hate them. Case in point: we all love the beautiful butterflies that we have adding beauty to our world. But, how about mosquitos or beetles or all the other things in our world. And you know, in photography, which insect or bug would you really enjoy taking pictures of anyway?

Today we want to help you learn how to take photos of “insects”. And what you need, and the composition rules etc.

1- Getting on the same level as the insect. 

2- Have patience when photographing insects. Following these tips would help create better photographs because it would have more creativity,

3- you can get better highlights in the eyes of the insect

4- taking photographs from different angles would create a good composition.

5- Get close to the insect, even if it means some specialized equipment.

close up photo of ladybug on leaf during daytime
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

We can discuss several of these rules showing this photo above: Getting down to their level is a big key if you want to get the detail you need to make it look good. If you take it from the top, you will notice that all you would have is the back of the bug, and in this case you would miss the legs, and possible the “antennae” or feelers of the bug.

And then, you want to get close, really close to get a photo that looks good, and possible fill your frame. And taking close-up photos of insects can generally be done only with a Single Reflex camera. The least expensive way to get close is with a set of close-up filters. These filters come, usually, in a package of a +1, +2, +4, and +10. And they can be stacked as well. So, if you want to have a number #3 in close-up filters, you can simply add a +1, and +2 to get your +3. The higher the number, the closer you can get.

Nothing beats the versatility of a true macro lens. A macro lens is a normal lens you would have on your camera, but just has the capability of focusing extremely close. They are a bit more money, depending on your camera brand, but, if you are in to a lot of close up photos, then this will be a must.

The words marked in red will take you directly to a link on Amazon.com, so you can study out the product, and if so desire, purchase it through this link as well.

Notice in the steps above, it says to focus on the eyes of the insect. Can you even see them? Only if you have the equipment to get close enough. And a macro lens and a set of close-up filters is the only way you can see the eyes of an insect.

Photo by Revieshan on Unsplash

Sometimes it is really obvious where the eyes are on an insect, and other times you just know where the eyes are and use that for it’s focus point.

Why does it say to have patience in taking photos of insects? There are 2 factors that will cause you to use your patience. 1- A lot of insects are looking for food, and you just need to be patient in waiting for them to hold still. 2- Even the slightest wind will get the leaf, or blade of grass to move, so waiting for the wind to stop, so you won’t get a blurry picture, certainly does require some amazing patience.

Photo by Егор Камелев on Unsplash

If you can do the following, then your photo will be perfectly composed: Have the insect fill the screen as much as you can, and also give them something to stand on, like the blade of grass or a leaf. I think taking a photo of an insect, and getting them right smack in the middle of the photo is still one of those rules that’s broken a lot with this, and generally, this is going to be ok. But, check different angles to see if you can be more creative in taking photos of insects.

The list: 51 different subjects on photography.

We have now officially completed the left side of this lest. So, now we are half way done. Tomorrow, the subject turns to negative space, which is one of my favorite subjects. See you tomorrow.

HOW TO TAKE PICTURES OF STRANGERS

Photo by Max Nayman on Unsplash

I thought this subject was interesting. I am going to put this under the title:

HOW TO DO “STREET PHOTOGRAPHY”

There are a few tips that you need to do, to be a good “street photographer”, or take pictures of Strangers. Let’s get to it:

First of all, I have a very good friend in France who is a master of Street Photography. She has won awards for her work, and I am always amazed when I see her photos. She is really, really good. Her name is Elisabeth Engels, and I will use mostly her photos.

First of all, I want to point out that taking pictures of strangers faces is against the law, unless you get permission from the stranger to do so.

We will go into the techniques photographers use to take facial pictures of strangers. But first, let’s get into the tips of taking pictures on the street, or where strangers usually are.

  1. Use a wide angle lens to get a picture of a very wide area. That way when you do post processing, you can crop into the area that you want in your photo:
The big goal in doing street photography, is to see people in their environment. What are their lives like. Can you put in to words what it’s like to be downtown in a busy city if you have never been there. Show the environment of the people you photograph.

2- Use a small aperture, say F16 or higher. This way you get more in to your depth of focus. Generally you would take these kind of pictures during the day. Street photography is something you can do at night, but using F16 or F22 at night is not easy to do to capture people in action.

Notice that this photo was shot with a high aperture….. everything seems to be well focused.

3- Use a high ISO setting to get the fast speed you may want from someone in action:

A high ISO setting will allow you to freeze action on subjects that are moving.

4- This is a trick that is very fun to try, but, don’t expect perfect results all the time. But, Focus your lens (manually of course) to about 5 to 10 meters away from you, so if you want to do closer photos, you can snap the photo without anyone knowing, and keep the camera about waist level if possible.

The perfect distance to get a good photo of people, and to fill your frame.

5- Walk towards places of photographic interest. When you see an interesting scene turn the camera towards it and take your photo. Avoid tilting the camera too much, as this will mean more work in post processing.

There’s a perfect distance to be if you just want to quickly snap a photo. Try the 5 to 10 meter rule on this.

The Undercover Photographer

The next approach involves the use of a longer focal length lens. In this case you are counting on the stranger not noticing you, as you are a little distance away. However, any photographer with a large lens will eventually begin to attract attention. This means you will need to see your photo, take it as quickly as you can, and then move on.
What if you get noticed taking the photo? This can go two ways. They may either just carry on what their doing, or you could be faced with a confrontation. If you are faced with a confrontation the best thing to do is be polite, and withdraw as quickly as you can.

Taking photos of people or things from a distance will get you photos that are just that much more amazing. If you have a big lens, try getting things you wouldn’t normally get.

All the above photos are courtesy of Elisabeth Engels. Copyright permission granted by photographer.

The Photographer Who Blends In

A final approach is to attempt to blend in, and become part of the scenery. The type of lens you us is up to you, though as you are likely to still be some distance away from your main subject, a longer focal length might be better. In this case you just want to find a quiet corner, near to the place you wish to photograph.
Now sit down, read a book, drink a coffee, and just disappear from people’s awareness. After a while nobody will be paying attention to you, and at this point it’s time to take some photos. Take a few photos, and then get back to your book, then take a few more. Once you have blended in, you don’t want to be taking so many photos that people begin to notice you again.

All the photos below were courtesy of Simon Bond, and his text is also used. This comes from the article he wrote: https://expertphotography.com/street-photography-how-to-take-pictures-of-strangers/

fish market scene, a man sits between train tracks with a basket of fish in front of him. street photography
Other elements in the frame can give context to the photo. Here you can see this is a market on a train track, and the tracks frame the person nicely.

When the Stranger Knows Their Portrait Is Being Taken

Allowing the subject of your street photo to know their photo is taken will often mean asking permission. This takes confidence. You also have the problem that the photo is now staged, even if you tell the stranger to “act natural”.  So what possible solutions are there to these problems? Well it’s best to take a step by step approach to this.

Gaining the Confidence to Ask

Building up the confidence for photographing strangers isn’t easy, especially if you’re new to street photography. There are a number of sensible steps you can take that will help you though, so let’s run through these.

  • Technique – Being totally confident in your portrait taking technique will give you more confidence to photograph a stranger. Try practising some portraits with a friend. When you feel ready, begin approaching strangers.
  • Gentle approach – Build a friendship with the people you wish to photograph. This might mean leaving the camera at home the first few times. When you feel confident around the people you wish to photograph, bring your camera and broach the subject.
  • Stay local – You’ll always be more confident in an area you know. So start photographing strangers in an area that isn’t strange to you!
  • Experience – If you know someone who is good at street photography, ask if you can come with them the next time they take photos. Watch what they do, the techniques they employ. This should make it easier for you, as you will have seen how to approach someone successfully. You can then try those ideas yourself!
Street photography portrait of a man in a dark peaked capped and yellow scarf, looking at the camera
In this photo I like the gentleman’s hat. I told him this when he asked why I wanted to take his photo, and then he agreed to let me take this image.

Building a Rapport With Your Stranger

Once you have agreement from a stranger to take their photo the next step is to get that image. The best way to begin this is to find out a bit about them. This serves two purposes, it makes them more relaxed, and it will inform you about the style of photo that will best fit their personality.


How about when you are in a country where you don’t speak the language? Admittedly, you’re unlikely to find out too much about them, but non-verbal cues can go a long way. You might be able to use your finger as a place for them to look, as this may lead to better light on their face.


If you smile, they’ll likely respond with a smile, and you can use this non-verbal communication to build a good rapport.

Close up street photography portrait of a man with white beard and hat in a market
Getting permission is not always easy, especially in foreign countries. A smile and being polite can go a long way.

Conclusion:

As a street photographer, or one who wants to take pictures of strangers, make sure you never take their privacy away. Ask a person, if you have any of their face in the picture. Try taking photos that show the scenery they are in. You will have less problem with copyright or anything that could get you into legal trouble. But, have fun.