1. Make Sure Your Car Is Clean

No one likes a dirty car so make sure you take the time clean and dry your car well. Pay special attention to inner wheel wells and lips, clean the windows both inside and out and be sure to detail the wheels and tires. Do not forget to cleanly apply a tire dressing (tire shine). Prepare a cleaning kit, including a dusting brush, to take with you to do touch ups if necessary. And finally, remove any show placards or license plates from the dashboard or rear shelf. For those that legally must display a front license plate on the road take the necessary tools that will enable you to remove the front license plate and bracket before taking your pictures.

One additional cleaning detail easily overlooked is your camera lens. Be sure to have a soft cloth available to ensure your lens is clear of smudges, water marks and dust speckles which can show up and ruin your final shots.


2. Choose Your Perfect Location

Plan your shoot weeks in advance by looking for that perfect setting that suits your car and will enhance its appearance. Make sure the background complements the car and does not compete with it for viewer attention. Pick a setting with a background color that will ensure the car stands out and does not get lost or blend into it. Industrial areas with little traffic on weekends can give a gritty or moody atmosphere as well allowing you the opportunity to move or re-position the car against the background.

Google "car photography locations (your city)" and read through some forum discussions for recommendations. You can also click on or search Google Images and look for locations in your city that you recognize.


3. Different Angles and Perspective

We are all used to viewing our cars from eye level. You can make the car appear more impressive by shooting up or down at low angles exaggerating the proportions. Don’t be afraid to kneel or sit on the ground to get that great low angle shot. Or take a step stool to take that birds eye view from above.


4. Turn Your Front Wheels

Turning your front wheels slightly can be an added visual that helps enhance the look of the car. We are accustomed to seeing wheels positioned straight with the vehicle, by turning them it gives the car the appearance of being in motion. For that professional look be sure to clean and dress (tire shine) any tread area that is exposed to the camera. 

5. Close The Hood and Windows

An open hood breaks up the cars body lines and exposes the unfinished unsightly underside, so unless you are taking a picture of the engine it is always better to close the hood. All side windows should be inthe fully up position and the radio antenna/aerial should be retracted if possible.

6. Eliminate Distractions

When setting up your shots be on the aware of anything in the frame that will be a visual distraction. Look for poles, signs, trees or objects in the background that draws your eye away from the car. Don’t just look above and behind the car, look down and be prepared with a garbage bag to pick up any trash, leaves or sticks that are on the ground.

7. Lighting

Taking photographs just after sunrise and before sunset will give some of the best shots with limited reflections and glare. Try to always take pictures with the sun behind you to eliminate glare. When photographing late in the day turn the parking lights on to get subtle illuminations from the front, sides and rear lights.


8. Reflections

Be on the lookout for and try to avoid reflections in the paint that may be distracting. There is nothing worse than a picture with the photographer reflected in the paint of the car. If the car has chrome, subtle changes to your angle can eliminate or give you that perfect reflective star light sparkle.

9. Give Yourself Time

The best pictures will come from experimenting. Once you start photographing your car you will start thinking of new angles and shots to try. As long as your camera has battery power and memory, taking pictures is virtually free.

10. Have Fun!

Plan your day well and give yourself plenty of time to enjoy your My Car Art photography project and have fun experimenting and taking lots of great pictures.