If you can't quite stretch to buying the car of your dreams you can always build a fine collection of auto-photos of many fine cars and bikes. Automobile and specialist shows run up and down the country for most of the year, providing great opportunities to snap away and build a great collection. Here's a few tips on how to get the most from your automotive photography...
1. As always, is to take as many photos as possible! It's not all about the whole car or bike, look at particular aspects of your subject, the lines, the curves, the lights, the wheels, the craftsmanship. Be aware of the surroundings too, is there something or someone interesting within shot to improve the overall picture?
2. Use reflections to give a sense of perspective and add detail and interest to your shot, though make sure the surface you are using is completely free of finger marks, dust and so on before you start snapping. You can even use the surfaces to create a self portrait.
3. Try looking at the vehicle from different angles. Close ups and different perspectives work well with all vehicles, as there is so much detail to shoot. If you can, safely, lay on the floor in front of your subject and look up to take the shot, or try kneeling along the front or back of a row of vehicles, diagonally spanning them across the shot.
4. Experiment with light. Have the sun at your back is a good place to start, but if you an catch the sun reflecting off of an vehicle at the right angle you can achieve a stunning shot. The time of day will also have a major impact on the lighting in your photography. Many professional shots taken for posters and canvas prints are taken at sunrise or just after. Shooting at dusk will also give you a more creative look and feel to your photographs, and colours will appear deeper. Of course this depends on the individuals show, though many run well into the evening.
5. Try to arrive at the show early. Once it gets busy it will be much harder to photograph the vehicle without it being surrounded by enthusiasts, other cars, pets, litter, children, and everything else associated with an open car show! This is also a good time to talk to the owners while they are still fresh and happy.
6. Talk to other photographers. Largely a very helpful and friendly bunch each will have their own ideas and experiences to share and learn from. They may know of more shows you were unaware of previously, and you may well bump into them at various events again.
7. Check over the car before shooting. Check for dirt, finger marks, dust, or any other blemish in the paintwork or surrounds. Check the tyres, make sure there are no cuts, marks or gravel in the tread as this looks untidy in a final shot. Have the doors closed, unless the doors are a feature such as the BMW Z1 or a car with gull wings.
8. Dress for the occasion, remember that you'll be on your feet for most of the day, kneeling, stretching, bending, and most likely in unpredictable weather. Try to cater for this by wearing light layers, comfortable shoes, and take a waterproof jacket.
Lastly try not to forget you're on a day out, relax and enjoy yourself!