The fast and the photogenic.
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.”
Car photographers need to start with networking.
You can take great car photos of any kind of automobile. But if you want the exciting experience of shooting luxury cars or special vintage models, you need to connect with their owners. And that’s all about cultivating and showcasing an appreciation for these vehicles. “If you’re doing automotive photography, you definitely need to be passionate about cars,” says Petty.
Unless you already have friends with Ferraris, Porsches, or modified Mazda racing models, you’ll want to head out to car shows and meet other car enthusiasts, car owners, and people in the industry, from garage owners to specialty product salespeople. Find car shows or vintage vehicle meetups near you and bring your camera.
How to get car photography clients.
“A lot of people are scared to reach out to car owners, because they’re afraid people might not want to shoot with them,” says photographer Brooks Li. “But that doesn’t matter.” Going to car club meetups or car shows with your camera will attract car owners who want to work with you.
Car owners are typically very proud of their machines, and that’s common ground you can bond over with any car lover. Anyone who can help car owners get great shots of their baby should find it easy to make those connections.
“I suggest people go to local car shows, like Cars & Coffee. Talk to owners. All of them are super friendly. That’s how I started,” says Li. “Be as outgoing as possible and try your best to get more practice in.”
How to prepare for an automotive photography shoot.
Once you’ve made the right connections and have scheduled a shoot, a successful session will require some research on timing and location. Talk with your client about the make, model, and color of their car so you can plan ahead. They may have special modifications and details they’d like you to capture during the shoot.