A beginner’s guide to automotive photography

A guide to everything on earth with wheels, motors and discs

June 18, 2022, 2:00 p.m.

Last modification: June 18, 2022, 2:00 PM

Automotive photography?

Yes, automotive photography. The art of photographing anything that has wheels, an engine and rolls on the ground. Think wedding photography, but replace unwanted relationship advice from in-laws with worrying gas mileage.

Bangladesh has car photographers?

The existence of these photographers is one of the reasons for the successful creation and production of automotive publications (such as the one you have) in Bangladesh. The concept of automotive photography has been around for almost a decade now, but the publicity of it and ultimately the social reach of this concept has only recently taken off, giving birth to more and more automotive photographers.

The term “automotive photography” is not widely known or used here and people generally label photographers here simply as “photographer”, regardless of what they are photographing. The idea of ​​photographing automobiles also seems strange, almost absurd, to a lot of people – “Why would anyone want to photograph a car?”.

To be fair, the number of times I’ve asked myself the same question is ridiculous, however, I always come to the same conclusion in the end – the idea of ​​photographing cars and vehicles in general is the fusion of my passion for photography and my undying love and interest in cars; something my colleagues in this field of photography will also agree with.

Shot on my camera. Photos: Ayan Rahman Khan/TBS

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Shot on my camera. Photos: Ayan Rahman Khan/TBS

I love cars, I love photography – where do I start?

A common misconception in this line of photography, at least from what I’ve heard, is that you need a DSLR camera to get into this field of photography and excel at it.

While the latter is partly correct, in the sense that eventually if you want to grow, acquiring a DSLR at some point will certainly be advantageous, the former is incorrect and it is not necessary to start automotive photography with a DSLR ( at least as far as stills are concerned), although if you have access to it, I personally suggest you don’t use it.

Shot on my phone

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Shot on my phone

Shot on my phone

Refrain?

You see, you have to know the basics of photography first, not automotive photography, but photography, so you can learn automotive photography and master it. The best way to do this, personally, is to start by taking pictures on your phone.

I started taking photos of cars that would show up at Gulshan 2 on Friday with my HTC Desire 820. It’s much easier to start with a phone rather than a DSLR. If you’ve never handled a DSLR before, or a camera in general, the sheer complexity of the camera may prevent you from learning the ropes of automotive photography (speaking from a beginner).

Plus, it’s much easier to learn the rule of thirds on a phone than on a DSLR camera.

The rule of thirds is your best friend

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The rule of thirds is your best friend

The rule of thirds is your best friend

The Rule of what? Looks like a mathematical principle

The rule of thirds. The rule of thirds is your best friend (move on, Ahsan) and will help you understand how and where to place your subject. Simply activate the grid lines on your camera and use the lines as a guide to place your subject, either inside the boxes or on the lines themselves. Developing a thorough understanding of the rule of thirds, grid lines and negative space (the empty space around your subject) is what will set you apart from other automotive photographers – a subject that has been properly placed in the frame is extremely easy on the eye and will ultimately tell you if your shot is right or wrong…or your friends will.

Ok, but how do I take these super cool photos of moving cars?

Rolling shots alone are the trickiest part of automotive photography you’ll ever have to deal with; way trickier than finding decent, let alone favorite spots here to shoot cars. Shooting a moving car from another car that is also moving is less intimidating than it looks, but still quite nerve-wracking. This is definitely where a DSLR camera will shine, although taking photos with a phone camera is still doable, although you will run into a few issues while doing so.

Pray and spray, boys, just pray and spray.

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Pray and spray, boys, just pray and spray.

Pray and spray, boys, just pray and spray.

First, if you own a DSLR, leave it behind and borrow your friend’s instead, just to be on the safe side. Next, find a nice stretch of road, preferably empty, wide enough for the car you’ll be filming from and the car you’ll be filming. Lower your shutter speed to anything below 1/50, increase your aperture by a considerable amount, enough to get the whole car in focus, and start your rollerblading session. The slower the shutter speed, the more desirable movement in the image will be, although you should keep in mind that lowering your shutter speed also means that the chances of your photos being blurry increase dramatically. So, turn burst mode on as it increases the chances of you getting a few clean shots, then do what we always do during rollerblading sessions – Spray and Pray. Don’t worry if most of your photos are out of focus. Out of, say, 10 photos I take during a skating session, about 6-7 photos are blurry. Either way, once you get the hang of it, experiment with shutter angles and shutter speeds.


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