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Monday, October 20, 2008

Tips for shooting cars in motion

Shooting cars in motion is one of the most difficult types of photography. A lot of times you don't want to just freeze the motion. By using a super fast shutter speed you remove all evidence of speed and motion from the image. Trying to keep motion blur on the background only, with the car sharp in focus is very difficult, especially with cars that have several hundred horsepower. 

2008 BMW M5

Here are 5 easy tips for shooting cars in motion:

1) Use a shutter speed of 1/30th-1/80th second - By using a shutter speed in this range you will bring motion into your picture. Your background will turn into a blur of colors and the wheels will turn into a radial smear.

2) Pan with the car - By panning with the car you are keeping the car at the same position in the frame as the background moves. This is what gives the car a sharp appearance, but the background a nicely blurred one.

3) Use Continuous Autofocus - If your camera has a continuous autofocus system on it, make sure to enable it. This will track the car and adjust for any changes in focus distance as the car drives.

4) Use burst mode - Use burst mode to take a series of pictures as the car drives by. This will give a play by play of the action and allow you to pick out your favorite.

5) Trial and Error - Shooting moving car's is difficult and requires a lot of shooting to bring home a few great shots. Experiment with different shutter speeds and focal lengths until you find the results that amaze you.

These are just general tips, many times you will want to experiment with your own settings.

2009 BMW M3

Sometimes you don't always want to use a long shutter speed. In the above image of a BMW M3, motion is present because of the water spraying up in the air as the car drifts around a corner. By using a fast shutter speed of 1/1000th of a second, I could freeze the water in the air and create this cool effect.

1 comment:

  1. These are great tips, my son will love this he has a 528i.
    Years ago I shot many pictures at Lime Rock Park, I will have to post some of my shots of the old Trans Am racing series.