Products to Compare (max of 3)
Compare These Parts

Automotive Photography Guide

Try looking for leading lines! Do some research on composition techniques like the rule of thirds or the golden ratio!

You can admit it; you have dozens of pictures of your car. It is okay, we all do. Did you know that Speedway Motors wants to see them? That’s right, we like it when you send us photos of your pride and joy. Check out the following tips and tricks our resident shutterbugs put together for you!

Camera Gear

First, while the cameras in today’s smartphones are becoming more and more capable, a good quality camera such as a DSLR or at least a quality compact will still offer a higher resolution and sharper photos. This will come in handy if you decide to enlarge one to hang on your wall or submit it to us. (We like high-resolution images.) Take lots of photos! You can always delete the ones you don’t like later. Also, try a tripod. No matter how steady you are, a tripod is steadier. Plus, tripods help in low light situations.

Lighting is KEY! This is an advanced professional engine photograph taken using off camera soft box lighting.
Beginners Guide
  1. Keep your car’s shine intact. Watch out for reflections on shiny surfaces (like a great paint job). Do you see yourself, trees, buildings, etc. reflecting off of the car? Reflections take away from the perfect finish paint job look. Working in a wide-open space helps cut down on reflections.
  1. Keep an eye on the background. Look out for anything distracting in the background—bright colors, plastic bags, garbage, or anything you don’t want in your photograph. ALSO–does it look like tree branches poking out of the car? Do you see people or a trash can in the background? Is the horizon straight?
  1. Pull the subject further away from the background. If you are shooting against a wall, for instance, park further away. Separating your car from the background makes the subject (your car) “pop.”
  1. Soft light is great light. The golden hour (1 hour after/before sunrise/sunset) is a great time for photography. Check Overcast days are also good. Harsh sunlight makes it hard to get good shots.
  1. Get your car’s good side. The first position is a front left 1/4 shot, front Left 3/4 shot, Front right 1/4 shot, front right 3/4 shot, front shot, side profile, straight down the back of the car, back right 1/4 shot, back right 3/4 shot.
  1. Change the composition. People are used to seeing things from a standing height. A photo becomes more interesting when it's taken from a different perspective. Images taken from higher up on a ladder or low to the ground look interesting because they’re always different from what we’re used to seeing every day.
  1. Turn rims toward the camera. Because rims/whitewalls/whatever you’ve got on there, look better than the dark rubber of your tire.
  1. Wide-angle lenses (50mm or less) will exaggerate car features. A wide-angle lens is also perfect for photographing the interior of the car. Get close to take detail shots of what is interesting or features that are unique to the car.
Moving Forward
  1. Learn to shoot in Manual mode. Automatic means that the camera decides the settings for you and that may not give you the look you want. A great book to learn about this is “Understanding Exposure” by Bryan Peterson
This image was taken using an HDR technique.
  1. Advanced HDR. If you’re comfortable with Manual mode and have a tripod, this is cool.

HDR brings out the details lost in shadows and brighter areas. The only way to do this is to bracket your camera in the settings. This will take multiple exposures that can be blended together in photoshop. The only way to do this is with a tripod and setting the camera on a timer so the camera doesn't shake when you take the shot.

You need 3 shots. Underexposed, “Correct” exposed, and Overexposed. Use a tripod, and set the timer on your camera to a second or two delay. Take all three, and combine them in a program like Photoshop.

An exceptional example of using the panning technique to achieve motion blur.
  1. Driving shots. Pan for motion blur, stand on the side of the track/road and pan with the car as you take the shot. The car should be sharp but the background and wheels should be blurry. This is not an easy shot to get and the speed of car and shutter speed should be kept in mind. Normally slowing down is a good idea but this is an area where overshooting is ok to do.

We love to share our passion with our customers, so if you would like to share your project with us please email your photos to

Related Articles

How to Use a Stud Extractor Tool
by Steve Lewis - Posted in Tech
Broken exhaust studs are a common problem. This article describes what you need and how to remove a broken stud from an exhaust manifold. Learn how simple it is to remove broken or stubborn studs with a Titan Tools stud extractor tool.
Quick Change R&P Ratio Without Opening Up the Rear
by Speedway Tech Team - Posted in Tech
How to determine the quick change R&P ratio without opening up the rear in street cars with quick changes, sprint cars, modifieds, late models and GOTRA cars.
Selecting Quarter-Turn Fasteners
by Jason Lubken - Posted in Tech
There are several types quarter-turn fasteners used in the auto industry and in this article we'll show you how to choose the correct fastener for your application and how some of the most common types of fasteners are used.
How to Choose a Racing Harness
by Charles Aman - Posted in Tech
Having a difficult time deciding which racing harness to use? With many options to consider from size to closure type, this article will walk you through how to go about choosing the perfect one for you and your race car. Safety first!
Racing Shocks 101
by Speedway Tech Team - Posted in Tech
Get a good foundation on racing shocks and their different functions. Learn about the fundamentals and the pros and cons between various types of shocks available.
How to Choose Racing Wheels
by Speedway Tech Team - Posted in Tech
Check out this article to learn about why it's important to choose the right wheels for your race car and which types to choose.
Selecting the Proper Tear Offs for Your Helmet
by Eric McMillan - Posted in Tech
This comprehensive guide will step you through the process of choosing the correct tear offs to fit your helmet as well as how to install them.
Leak Down Check on a Micro Sprint Engine
by Frank Galusha - Posted in Tech
It is most certainly an important procedure and should be part of a weekly maintenance routine.
Surviving Speed Week
by Frank Galusha - Posted in Tech
In this article, Frank Galusha talks about the challenges and successes he's experienced surviving Speed Week.
Micro Sprint Front Axle Squaring
by Alex Owen - Posted in Tech
Read how to square the front axle in your Micro Sprint car. Learn about the importance of squaring, measurements to use, and important steps to follow.