How to Shoot Car Interiors With Light Painting

Light painting has been a common method for automotive photography, but it is mostly demonstrated on car exteriors. On the other hand, shooting the interior of a car, by using the light painting method can give really good results that can be qualified as a high-end image. In this video, Moe Zainal shows his process from start to finish, including the retouching.

Capturing high-quality car images doesn't always require a crew and expensive production. With a single light source and a shutter remote, car exteriors and interiors can be photographed easily. As is known, a good image in commercial photography is a combination of multiple images, and light painting with a continuous light source is one of the common methods. In this 18-minute long video, photographer Moe Zainal, shows how he lights the interior of a car, how he selects the images for his composite and finalizes the image. Zainal uses Sony A7R II with a Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS lens, while controlling the camera with his smartphone. For light painting, he uses a Westcott Ice Light 2 LED Light stick. After he captures multiple exposures, he starts culling the images in Lightroom and combines them in Photoshop.

As this method is both simple and experimental, it can be tried with different continuous light sources, even with DIY light shapers. With proper selection and combinations, getting good results is inevitable.

So, what do you think about this method? Have you ever tried shooting car interiors or other subjects with light painting? Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments section below.  

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10 Comments

Leon Kolenda's picture

I think this is awesome! I have never used Light-Painting for a project, It's more work, but the results are super!
I can see where this will work in a number of different projects. Thanks for this great video!

Moe Zainal's picture

Thank you Leon!

gabe s's picture

I photograph cars like this daily. Having three white walls and neutral overhead lighting does wonders for how the image looks. Reflections are a killer, especially with any touches of chrome. You don't need to do a lot of shots though, he did a lot of extra shots that are not needed.

Moe Zainal's picture

Nice shot Gabe, while reflecting natural light of walls is a brilliant idea yet its hard to control and shape the light the way you want it.

As in for the extra shots, I always recommend taking as many shots as you can on set - it will always help in the layers/image selection when post processing.

Sure, Gabe, an all black interior is relatively easy. Try a dark dash with light upholstery, not so easy.

gabe s's picture

Like this? I do this daily for a dealership. I have learned some tricks.

both of your shots show that his extra effort is worth it

Your photos look like product photos shot with foldable light cube...

Todd Boyer's picture

Not to make this Pick on Gabe time, but what you're shooting look like inventory photos for a dealership. They're good for what they are. What they are not, however, is artistic beauty shots of an interior like Moe has done. I shoot both types, and you cannot approach inventory and beauty automotive photography the same way.

hi Gabe, not to be harsh but your photos have a lot of unwanted reflections. It is important if you wanna become a good photographer to control your light. If was the manufacturer I would be very picky regarding detail.