Shooting cars and motorsports is a unique and exciting genre of photography, here are 5 great reasons why you should try it.
Maybe it’s the speed, or maybe it’s the sound. Or even the feeling you get when a glorious V12 engine whizzes past you, fueling a heart-pounding adrenaline rush. There are countless reasons to love cars, and as you can see, I’m a huge fan, which is why events like the Goodwood Festival of Speed are big highlights of my year. The Festival of Speed combines everything related to cars and bicycles, from classic vehicles to state-of-the-art Formula 1 machines, all powered by new talents or old greats. This festival got me into photography in the first place, so it has a special place in my heart. My last four visits there have acted as markers to see how my photography has evolved. Looking back on those years of photos taken at Goodwood reminds me why I shoot cars and why you should try it too.
For petrolheads, it’s a no-brainer. Photographing cars allows us to appreciate the beautiful machines that we love so much. It allows us to delve deep into the details of any wheel component or flowing piece of bodywork that is perfectly made to slice through the air. Car photos allow us to relive those moments when we witness the past of our favorite car race or capture an action moment in a wheel-to-wheel race. It captures that fleeting moment of emotion, allowing us to experience it again and again. And who doesn’t want that?
2. A fantastic day out
Car shows are much more than car geeks and burning rubber. Even if you have the slightest interest in cars, a day trip to a car show is great for solo photographers or the whole family. Local events may have activities for the kids or maybe the adult who wishes they were a kid. Burger vans and live music are popular finds on the grounds of a British car show. So even if the cars aren’t your main attraction, getting out and about to enjoy a summer’s day with a drink in one hand and a camera in the other, there’s no better feeling.
One thing I really appreciate about photography is the community of creatives you can meet. Creating has given me the opportunity to get to know a lot of talented people, many of whom I now consider good friends and I believe there are parallels in the automotive community as well. In just four days at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, I spoke to several other photographers while waiting for the next batch of cars. Chatting makes you realize that you may have more in common than you previously thought. I’ve found that these conversations can lead to great friendships and help you build a network of other creatives to work with in the future. Community is an aspect of photography that we often overlook; this art form can sometimes feel like a solo adventure, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve found that creating with others can lead to much more exciting results and a lot of fun. Combining the automotive community and photography is a perfect way to start.
4. Adrenaline rush
You can only shoot a few things that give you the same adrenaline rush as cars. Shooting cars is undoubtedly intense, but there is nothing but this for those who love that sense of excitement and thrill. It is incredibly fast and will undoubtedly make your heart beat faster. From rushing from point to point on a race track to the hair-raising noise a classic race car produces as it drives past you, there are few moments to catch your breath. It will keep you sharp every moment of the day and hopefully keep you coming back for more.
5. The Challenge
Finally, car photography is quite a challenge. You may have to overcome a lot of obstacles during your shoots, such as catching fences, crowds and whatever Mother Nature throws at you. As I mentioned earlier, it takes a high level of skill to achieve brilliant results because car photography moves quickly. You may not have the luxury of time to prepare every shot perfectly and as a result, you need to be thoroughly familiar with your camera and its controls in order to adapt your settings to changing lighting conditions and different types of shots. Panning shots are a popular technique and it takes time and practice to master.
Like many things in photography, you’re unlikely to master it the first time, but with practice and repetition, you can add a new skill to your repertoire, which is always beneficial. Despite being challenging, car photography is a broad field of photography with many possibilities. There are only a few rules to follow, and I would even encourage you to break them and try something different. It will help you stand out in those scenarios where it feels like there are a lot of photographers taking the same picture as you.
The next time a car event comes to town, or you find yourself with that friend with a cool car, go out and try car photography, enjoy your day out and be creative. I fell in love with it, and you might too!