Best Camera Settings For Car Photography


If you are interested in learning about the best car photography camera settings then this article will discuss how these settings come in handy with different cars and situations.

What are the Best Car Photography Camera Settings? [ 5 Top Aspects]


The majority of photographers find cars really interesting as objects that they can capture. Though car photography can be both a hobby and a profession. 

The situation can be anything but. Photographing cars raises several challenges. For example, many people can ask about the ideal shutter speed for racing cars or the best camera setting for night car photography. Depending on the automobile, the photographer should need to adjust the ISO, aperture, shutter speed, and lens length accordingly. 

Furthermore, some people may also be confused about the settings for photographing moving cars and the appropriate aperture for photographing cars. So all these related topics will be discussed in this article.

Additionally, this article will instruct you about the best camera settings for car photography and a few additional tips.

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Aspects of Automotive Camera Settings

Some camera setting aspects need to be kept in mind when clicking photographs of cars. And they are:

  1. Aperture

The camera’s aperture controls how wide the camera’s lens will open. This function automatically changes the picture’s brightness to match the room’s illumination. Further, by controlling the depth of field, or aperture, “background blur” may be adjusted to suit individual preferences. More light may enter the camera and be utilized to create a picture when the aperture is set to f/1.8.

  1. ISO

ISO describes a camera parameter that controls the camera’s sensitivity to light. A lower ISO number means that the image does not need much light-gathering effort from the camera sensor. Increasing the ISO will let you shoot pictures in bright light, but it will also introduce noise and distortion.

  1. Shutter Speed

How much light will enter a camera depends on how long the shutter is open. Capturing a moving car is easiest with a faster shutter speed because less light is needed to make an exposure. 

In spite of the fact that camera movement during a slower shutter speed photograph increases the chance of blurring the image, this kind of photograph setting is ideal for shooting nighttime car shots from a moving vehicle.

  1. Depth of Focus

How effectively the camera can zoom depends on its depth of focus. Proper focus is also important to get sharp images of vehicles as well. When shooting cars, it’s best to use a lens with a focal length of either 35 mm or 24 mm to 70 mm because of its increased capacity. It can capture both man-made and natural elements.

  1. The White Balance Method

The white balance setting on your camera allows you to notify the camera what time of day it is when you snap your car. This allows the camera to fix the tone of the picture. Moreover, if you’ve ever shot an inside nighttime picture of a vehicle and noticed a yellow tint, it’s because the white balance wasn’t set properly. The image’s color is defined by its white balance. Photos may vary from looking bright and orange to cold and blue. Altering the WB will get you the color you want. 

Let’s have a look at how a car appears beautiful in a photo with the perfect camera setting

Video source: Tao Hudson

Car Photography Tips that You Need to Follow

Although taking pictures of cars is a lot of fun, it may be difficult if you don’t know the proper techniques. After discussing the best settings for shooting cars, we’ll move on to the methods that will help you get top-notch images of autos.

  • Pay Attention to the Bokeh Effect

When photographing a car with a fast lens at its widest aperture, such as f/2.8 or higher, the background blurs it into a satisfying bokeh. Bokeh is the term that enhances the aesthetic value of a photograph, even if it is out of focus.

As a photographer, the aperture value of a camera chosen by you and the depth of field allows you to choose the bokeh setting. By setting an aperture lower than F/4, you may isolate the moving car from the background of people, buildings, etc. On the other hand, if the bokeh effect isn’t set to your preference and you want everything in the picture in sharp focus, an aperture lower than f/8 can fulfill your car photography desires.

  • A Zoom Telephoto Lens is Important

With a telephoto lens, distant objects look larger and more in focus than close ones. On the contrary, wide-angle lenses lengthen background objects and decrease the visual size of faraway backgrounds.

A wide-angle lens can capture more of the road and surrounding area of a car, and it is ideal for taking pictures of a car that is a far distance from the photographer. The shorter focal length of a wide-angle lens compared to a regular lens can help you blend in better with the background.

  • Explain the Purpose of Reflections

If you are a skilled photographer who is worried about reflections, you must carry along accessories that will guarantee light reflects while capturing automobiles. In addition, a camera with a built-in light meter is advantageous because it can read the exposure of the whole scene and adjust the shutter speed accordingly. 

However, finding the sweet spot between ISO and shutter speed is the key to success in getting a professional car image. Last but not least, it is advised to pay close attention to the color of the car, as this parameter affects the quantity of light reflected from the surface.

  • The Car’s Color Is a Major Consideration

It’s worth noting that not all colors have the same response to shifting lighting. Though it’s true that most of the colors won’t work well when they are exposed to direct sunlight, and you will not get a picture according to your exception. 

As such, don’t be hesitant to experiment around with various lighting setups. Always go over your photographs after you’ve captured different pictures of your car. Or, visit a parking lot at various times of the day to snap pictures of automobiles to get a feel for how light and shade affect their appearance.

  • You can not Ignore the Panning and Blurred Motion

If you want to take pictures of moving cars at night while preserving the light stripes that come from vehicles, then you will need to use camera methods that create motion blur. This is the only way to accomplish this effect.

In such a situation, using a tripod is a wise decision since higher shutter speeds are required to get the desired look. This is especially critical when attempting to capture the essential elements of a moving subject. The greatest effects may be attained by panning the camera at very slow shutter speeds.

  • Focus on Image Composition

Whenever you snap a shot, you have to choose which element you need to include in your image and which one you need to avoid. The composition allows you to decide those things freely.

There is no doubt that camera settings are useful while capturing a car, but it is ultimately up to the photographer. He can actually choose the composition of an image. If you want to observe before shooting, the most important phase will be the arrangement of a scene’s components, as composition depends on exposure and bracketing. Moreover, taking the same photo with multiple exposure settings seems to be a reasonable option to get a well-composed picture.

  • Photograph The Vehicle From Various Angles And Perspectives

Experimenting with photographing from a range of circumstances and vantage points can provide your photographs with exceptional quality. You may experiment with various shooting angles and settings by taking aerial photographs with drones. 

In addition, you may obtain some fantastic aerial photographs of your car from an aircraft. If you want to get spectacular photographs of a moving car, you should use drones or any other vehicle. Maintain a focus on your personal safety when traveling in another car.

  • Take Help From Post Production

There are limits to what the camera and attached lens can do. After capturing the desired image, skilled photographers depend on post-production to enhance the look of their images. At this step, the chores of correcting the focus, altering the color balance, and raising the saturation are properly handled.


When photographing cars, what shutter speed should I use?

To get the best shots of a moving automobile, you may need a shutter speed of 1/125 or faster.  In contrast, for parked vehicles, a time interval of around 1/25 to 1/100 of a second is ideal.

How to capture a good vehicle photo?

Although it’s a difficult process to take decent pictures of cars because it depends on ISO, shutter speed, aperture, and focus. Even if you’re taking pictures of cars at night, don’t go any higher than ISO 100. To add extra light to your shot, experiment with different shutter speeds and aperture sizes.

Wrapping Up

To conclude, camera settings for car photography are an important aspect for any automotive business or car photographer. By following these instructions, you can set your camera while capturing a vehicle.

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