Aperture controls the amount of light that enters your camera.
From vintage muscle cars to a luxurious Mercedes or the newest Lamborghini, people are passionate about cars. To capture everything from automotive advancements to car culture meetups, professional car photography has picked up speed to become an art of its own. It’s a love letter to rides and whips, a mix of product shots and ways to immortalize the space where craft meets engineering.
“You’re trying to find the right angles on the car. You’re trying to match it with the correct background, the right light — there’s a lot that goes into it,” says photographer Aedan Petty.
Whether you’re into cars for the speed, the looks, or the souped-up modifications, car photography can put you in the pits with beautiful machines and the like-minded people who love them.
“Car photography captures what car enthusiasts really love — the styling, the aggressive looks, all the modifications that people do, and people’s builds,” says Petty. “It’s a way to capture the beauty of the machine, and it’s also about capturing action, whenever you get moving shots.”
Too much light will wash out a photo and too little will give you a very dark image. Adjusting the size of the opening for your lens based on environmental conditions will help achieve the exposure you want. If you are shooting in low light, a wider aperture size will allow in more light. If you’re outdoors with a lot of light, a smaller aperture can limit the amount of light.
“If your f-stop is larger — your aperture is smaller — you’ll need a longer shutter speed to compensate for that,” photographer Ivy Chen explains. “Be mindful about keeping your camera steady. The shutter is open for longer — it’s taking that much longer to capture the photo — and during that time, if there’s any movement of or in the camera — that’ll result in motion blur.”
Aperture adjustments affect the depth of field for your photos — the range between the nearest and farthest objects in focus within a picture. Shallow depth of field, which blurs the background to help pop the in-focus subject of the photo, is achieved with a wide aperture. This effect is known as bokeh, and can be simply achieved on a DSLR or mirrorless camera with aperture adjustments. A smaller aperture will give you a larger depth of field, which allows you to keep a larger amount of the frame in focus — ideal for group shots or scenic landscapes, compared to the shallow depth of field photos great for portraits or food photography.
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