Use These Smart Phone Car Photography Tips

There are many professional photographers specializing in automotive photography who would find this disturbing. It's really possible to create professional looking images using your smart phone. All you need to add is a tripod, ND filter, and some post production to give your images something special. 

Here are my favorite tips from the video:

Shoot the Interior

Fold back the seats to give yourself some more room to get the whole dashboard in the shot. When shooting the interior you can set the camera to HDR mode which will even out your exposure between the interior and exterior of the car. Capture the surroundings of the car from the inside, to give the viewer an idea of what it would be like driving the car. The more relevant the environment, the better the person will be able to relate to the car's overall experience. 

Special Effects

A Pano-dash can be made where the car features three or four times in a single image. You can capture the car from different angles with the car on a tripod and merge them in-camera using the panorama setting, or do it in post. The more cars, the better. 

Tilt the horizon to create interest with regards to lines and composition. This can give dynamic perspective to your image. 

Shoot a Sequence of the Vehicle

You can put the phone on a tripod and take a sequence of images of the vehicle driving down a road. You can then choose an image and mask in the vehicles from the rest of the sequence to create a car trail. 

Add Motion Blur

Holding a Neutral density filter in front of the lens will increase exposure time of the shot. This means you can keep your eye on the car and the background will have a motion blur and you've given the shot some movement. 

Quick Tips I Also Liked:

  • Find a Neutral Background. The focus should be the car, and not what's behind or in front of it. 
  • Park on the shadow line for great reflections.
  • Avoid harsh sunlight.
  • Get close and shoot the details.
  • Add the human element and get low.
  • Add an industrial look to the shot.
  • Find a parking bay or a large circular shape to add a frame for the car. Metal and concrete textures work great. 

I think if you want to sell your car or want to show what you're capable of but don't have the professional car photography gear you can get started with your phone. Get a friend with a cool car and shoot it. This looks like fun.

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Sam Hood's picture

Nice article but I don't understand how it made it onto a website geared towards photographers that more than likely actually have professional camera's? You may be able to create 'professional looking' images, but shots from your iphone or android will never be any competition for a DSLR or mirrorless. Although, I once spent hours detailing my car, drove to the shoot location and then my camera failed on me so I had to use my iphone and I was really impressed with the outcome after a little bit of editing...

James Cook's picture

For a quick and dirty ND filter hack I once popped the lens out of a cheap pair of tinted polarized sunglasses and held that over the phone camera lens. Worked a treat!

Taking photos of cars is such an interesting thing on its own. It’s like science. Every time I shoot a car I learn something from it! I would like to share some basic guidelines to get you started and help you understand this interesting niche in the photography world.

steven kroon's picture

Mainly likes your quick tips. I will take my car photography for selling. So, this tips will be helpful for me. Also, I can share some interesting news about this car world.

Awesome tips! These smartphones are really very handy with any types of cars.