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How to Photograph Your Classic Car, Truck or Jeep Like a Professional

One of the best parts about owning a beautiful classic car, truck or Jeep is photographing your prized possession and showing it off to the world. These days, just about everyone has a decent camera in their pocket, thanks to the advancements of smartphones, but that doesn’t mean everyone has the skills to be a professional photographer.

Whether you want to sell your classic car, truck or Jeep, capture your vehicle at its best, or have your ride published online or in an auto magazine, there are a few tips to keep in mind as you go about photographing your vehicle. Use this guide to master the art of auto photography.

Prepping Your Car for a Photoshoot

Everyone loves a shiny vehicle, so your first step is to make sure your car is ready for its big debut. Thoroughly clean the outside of the vehicle and roll up the windows for a professional look. Leaving the windows down can emphasize the fact that your vehicle is used or exposed to the elements. When you visit your local car dealer, you’ve probably noticed that all the windows are rolled up. This keeps the interior safe and clean, helping you make the right impression on potential buyers.

Focus on a Specific Goal

Before you take out your camera, start thinking about why you’re photographing your classic and what these photos are supposed to achieve. If you’re looking to sell your vehicle, focus on capturing your ride from different angles so buyers can quickly get a sense of the condition of your vehicle.

If you want to have your classic car, truck or Jeep featured online or in a magazine, consider experimenting with action and driving shots. If you have a lifted truck or Jeep and want to show off your new lift kit, use a low angle to capture the raised suspension of your vehicle.

Experiment with Different Times of the Day

You’re probably photographing your classic outdoors, so you’ll need to depend on the sun in terms of lighting. Shooting during certain times of the day can drastically change the quality of your photographs. Direct sunlight isn’t usually the best choice when it comes to automotive photography, as too much light and your photos can easily look overexposed.

Instead, it’s best to shoot during the wee hours of the morning or around sunset. Cloudy skies can also free up this timeline, blocking the sun during the brightest parts of the day, which will work in your favor. Experiment with different times of the day until you snap the perfect picture.

Watch Out for Reflections

You’re bound to see plenty of reflections in the windows and body of your classic car, truck or Jeep, especially now that it’s squeaky clean, so park your vehicle in an open area, such as an empty parking lot, an open field, or on a lonely street, so you don’t see nearby objects reflecting off the sides of your car.

The camera on your smartphone could be too wide to photograph your car,  so consider using a longer lens with your camera. This way, you can stand farther away from the vehicle but still zoom in on the details. You could also use a tripod to avoid seeing yourself in the reflection.

Take Photos from Different Angles

When photographing your classic, the best angle tends to be 30 degrees from the left or right of the front or back of your vehicle. You’ll capture the front or back of your vehicle and either side in one shot. However, don’t be afraid to experiment with different angles. Try shooting your car from all sides, especially if you’re trying to sell your vehicle. Buyers want to see as many photos as possible before taking the next step.

Choose a Background That Works for Your Classic Car, Truck or Jeep

Choosing the right background for your photo all depends on the color of your vehicle and the message you’re trying to send. Choose a background that complements the color of your vehicle. If you have a brightly colored classic automobile, find a background with lots of earth tones. If you have a black, gray, white, or brown car, choose a background with more color like next to the ocean, a grassy field, or in front of the mountains. If you own an off-road truck or lifted Jeep, choose a more natural setting for these photographs and show off your breakover angle.

Action and Driving Shots

You can also experiment with action and driving shots as a way of showing off what your car, truck or Jeep can do, especially in an off-road environment. You can either use a long lens with your camera to capture your vehicle driving in the distance or shoot out of the window of a separate vehicle to capture your ride cruising down the road. Keep your speed to 40 mph or less and use a fast shutter speed such as 1/100th of a second.

You may also want to capture a truck or Jeep interacting with an off-road environment. Try shooting your vehicle from a distance as it kicks up some dirt or sand, splashes in the mud, or crawls over the side of a mountain.  Be careful not to damage anything while you do this, but lifting your truck or Jeep gives you the freedom to explore the outdoors, so you might as well make the most of it.

Endless Possibilities to Showcase Your Classic Collector

There are many ways to photograph your classic car, truck or Jeep. Think about your goal for the photo before you begin. Consider the background and lighting and watch out for reflections as you set up your photo shoot. Every detail of these photos will send the viewer a specific message, so think about what you want to say with your image. Take your time and experiment with different options to bring your vision to life. If you have photo editing software like Photoshop, the possibilities are endless.

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