Are you a car enthusiast who loves attending car shows? Do you enjoy taking pictures of the beautiful cars you see? If so, then this article is for you! In this guide, we’ll give you some great car show photography tips and tricks for taking awesome pictures of classic cars to exotic supercars at car shows. From choosing the right equipment to getting the perfect angle, we’ve got you covered.


car show photography tips for taking photos of a rare vintage Ferrari at Salon Prive

Whether you’re a professional photographer or an amateur hobbyist, car photography can be a fun and exciting way to explore your love of cars and photography.

Car shows are a great opportunity to capture stunning pictures of some of the most beautiful cars in the world. But taking great car photos isn’t always easy. You need to know how to capture the right angles, lighting, and details to make the car shine. Here are some tips and tricks to help you become a pro at car photography.

Choosing the right car show photography equipment

car show photography equipment
Car Show Photography Equipment – Inspired Automotive Imagery

Before you head out to the car show, it’s important to make sure you have the right car photography equipment.

With the right equipment and techniques, car photography can produce stunning images that capture the heart and soul of a car.

You don’t need to break the bank on a fancy camera, but investing in a good quality camera or smartphone with a decent camera will make a big difference. Here are some other things you should consider taking with you:

  • Tripod

    A tripod is essential for taking steady shots, especially in low-light conditions. You’ll be able to set up the perfect shot and take your time to get the best angle. If you’re using a smartphone, you can use some selfie sticks that can be used as a tripod too.

  • Wide-angle Lens

    A wide-angle lens will help you capture more of the car in your shot. This is especially useful when you want to take a picture of the whole car or capture the details of the interior.

  • Polarising Filter

    A polarising filter helps reduce glare and reflections on the car’s paint and windows. It can make colours look more vibrant and the details more pronounced.

Also, consider the following:

  • Microfibre cloth

    A microfibre cloth is an inexpensive, yet essential piece of gear for car show photography. It can be used to quickly wipe off any dust or smudges that may be on your lens before you start shooting.

  • Extra Batteries

    You don’t want to run out of power during a car show, so bring extra batteries or a power bank to ensure you have enough juice to capture all the great photos.

Finding the perfect angle

close up photo of Ferrari at salon prive london

Once you have your equipment ready, it’s time to start taking pictures. Finding the perfect angle is key to capturing stunning car photos. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Shoot from a low angle

    Shooting from a low angle will help you capture the car’s aggressive stance and make it look more imposing. If you don’t want the background in your shot, shooting from a low angle will help too.

  • Look for reflections

    Try to find a spot where you can capture the car’s reflection, especially on shiny surfaces like chrome, glass, or polished paint. This will add a unique touch to your photos.

  • Capture details

    Don’t just focus on the car. Capture the details. Look for interesting textures, shapes, and patterns that make the car unique.

Use props and accessories

car photo of porsche 911 with jonnie walker bottle prop

Adding props and accessories to your car photos can make them more interesting and tell a story. Consider using a model or a person in the photo to add a sense of scale, or using props such as vintage luggage or tools to create a vintage vibe. Avoid using props that can distract from the car, and keep the focus on the car itself.

Lighting is everything

Zonda and McClaren at Salon Prive

The right lighting can make or break your car photos. Here are some tips to help you get the perfect lighting:

  • Golden Hour

    The golden hour is the hour after sunrise or before sunset when the light is soft and warm, making the car’s colours look more vibrant and appealing.

  • Overcast day

    Overcast days provide diffused lighting that is perfect for taking pictures of cars. You won’t have to worry about harsh shadows or bright highlights.

  • Light painting

    Light painting is a technique where you use a flashlight or another light source to illuminate parts of the car while taking a long exposure. This creates a unique and dramatic effect.

Editing your photos

interior car photography of Hot Rod at Salon Prive

Editing your photos is an essential part of the photography process. It allows you to enhance the colours, contrast, and sharpness of your images.

Adobe Lightroom is a great photo editing tool for editing car photos. You can use it on your desktop and mobile devices. You can also use desktop presets on your mobile photos, making them easy to edit and giving your photos a consistent look. Here are some editing tips:

  • Crop and straighten

    Cropping and straightening your images can make a big difference in the overall composition and visual appeal of your photos.

  • Adjust contrast and saturation

    Adjusting the contrast and saturation will help make the colours pop and bring out the car’s details.

  • Remove distractions

    Removing distractions like people or other cars in the background can make your photos look more professional and focused.

Looking to take your photography to the next level?

Look no further than digital bolt-ons lightroom presets. These presets can transform your photos into stunning works of art in just minutes, leaving you with a sense of pride and satisfaction. Try them for yourself and see the difference they can make in your photography. Get started today and experience the power of digital bolt-ons lightroom presets.

Practise. Practise. Practise

Lancia Delta Intergrale at Gravity Car Show

Like any skill, car photography takes practise to master. Attend car shows and other events to get more experience taking photos of cars, and experiment with different techniques to find what works best for you. Don’t be afraid to try new things and take risks with your photos, and always be open to learning and improving.

Car photography contests and communities

Improve your car photography skills by participating in car photography contests and communities. Here are some of the most popular car photography contests and communities:

  • The International Automotive Photography Competition: This contest is open to all photographers and features categories such as Classic Cars, Motorsport, and Concept Cars.
  • Car Photography Club: This community is dedicated to car photography and features forums, tutorials, and contests.
  • Speedhunters IAMTHESPEEDHUNTER: While this is not a competition, they have successfully recruited contributors to Speedhunters from the IAMTHESPEEDHUNTER programme. Submit your best work and you may be lucky enough to get some work out of it!


car photography close up detail of BMW 3 series 2002 at Gravity Car Show

Whether you’re photographing a vintage car or a cutting-edge supercar, car photography can be a challenging and rewarding experience. With the right camera equipment, angles, lighting, and editing techniques, plus a bit of skill and patience, you’ll be well on your way to capturing some amazing shots. So next time you’re at a car show, don’t just admire the cars; take some awesome pictures of them too!

And with that, we hope you’ve learned some helpful tips and tricks for improving your car photography skills at car shows. Now get out there and start shooting some great car show photography. You can find the latest car photography locations on the upcoming car shows page!

But before you go…

Here are some bonus tips for you to take your car photography to the next level. Check out these FAQs:

  • How do I avoid getting reflections on the car’s windows?

    Use a polarising filter or shoot from an angle where the sun isn’t directly hitting the windows. You can also try using a black backdrop or a sheet to block out any reflections.

  • How can reflections make a photo of a car more interesting?

    Instead of just capturing the car’s reflection, why not get creative and experiment with different reflections? Try capturing the car’s reflection in a puddle of water or a nearby window. You never know what interesting shots you might come up with!

  • What camera settings should I use for indoor car shows?

    Use a high ISO to compensate for the low light conditions and keep the shutter speed as fast as possible to avoid camera shake.

  • Should I shoot in RAW or JPEG format?

    Shooting in RAW format gives you more flexibility in editing your photos, but it also takes up more memory on your camera or device. JPEG format is more compressed, but it’s easier to share and edit on the go.

  • What lens is best for car show photography?

    A wide-angle lens is great for capturing the overall scene, while a macro lens or extension tubes are ideal for capturing details and close-ups.

  • What ISO is best for car photography?

    Overall, the ideal camera setting for photo shooting is 100 ISO. Set 1/60 shutter speeds. Choose white balance manually – it’s easy to modify the white balance in the photo if the shot was shot using Raw.

  • How do you photograph a fast-moving car?

    Photography on auto with the panning method. The idea behind focusing is that you move the camera with a moving subject and get an almost sharp subject but a blurred background. Hence the shooting is characterised as a moveable and rapid shot.

  • How much editing should I do on my photos?

    Keep your edits subtle and natural-looking to avoid making your photos look artificial or over-processed.

  • How can I make my photos more interesting?

    Look for exciting backgrounds: The car is the star of the show, but that doesn’t mean the background can’t be interesting too. Look for unique backgrounds that complement the car’s style and colour. A brick wall, an old building, or even a graffiti mural can add character and depth to your photos.

    Get up close and personal: Sometimes the best shots come from getting up close and personal with the car. Don’t be afraid to get close and capture the details, like the chrome accents or the stitching on the seats. These close-up shots can add a unique and intimate perspective to your photos.

  • Should I use props in my car photos?

    If you want to add some extra flair to your car photos, try using props. A vintage fuel pump, a set of tools, or even a classic car magazine can add some context and interest to your shots. Avoid using props that can distract from the car, and keep the focus on the car itself.

  • Can I use my smartphone to take car photos?

    Absolutely! Many smartphones have great cameras and editing features that can produce high-quality photos. Just make sure you have good lighting and a steady hand. You could purchase a selfie stick that doubles as a tripod to make sure your photos are crisp, with no blurring from movement. Some have a remote shutter control!

  • What if there are people or other cars in the background of my shot?

    Having people or other cars in the background can give a good overview of the whole event. But if you don’t want other things in your shot, try to find a spot where the background is clear or use editing software to remove any distractions. Using a shallow depth of field, you can blur out the background.

  • How do I get that cool motion blur effect in my car photos?

    Use a slow shutter speed and pan your camera in the direction of the car’s movement. This will create a sense of motion and make the car look like it’s moving fast.

Recommended products

And finally, here is a list of recommended products to get those fantastic shots!

Looking to take your photography to the next level?

Look no further than digital bolt-ons lightroom presets. These presets can transform your photos into stunning works of art in just minutes, leaving you with a sense of pride and satisfaction. Try them for yourself and see the difference they can make in your photography. Get started today and experience the power of digital bolt-ons lightroom presets.