Car Photography: What It Is & How To Do It

Car Photography: What It Is & How To Do It

As per studies, 63 percent of buyers believe that good product images are more important than product descriptions when making a purchase. And why not? Buyers are easily put off by large text descriptions of the features, especially where images can easily convey everything in an immersive manner. As such, good car photography is an essential requirement for every car retailer these days.

But, achieving high-impact vehicle visuals won’t be possible without setting up a proper auto photoshoot. Unfortunately, hiring professional car photographers and going for conventional automotive photography costs a fortune. Well, there’s an alternative to that: AI-powered photography solutions.

Sounds complicated? Well, allow us to simplify it! This blog dives deep into the following topics:

  1. What is car photography
  2. A complete guide for the perfect car photo shoot
  3. Role of lighting in professional automobile photography
  4. Bonus: Use Spyne AI for stunning automobile photography

Let’s dive into it!

What is car photography?

Automobile photography constitutes clicking pictures of vehicles in a way that depicts the best features and highlights of a car. There are two main types of automotive photography – commercial and aesthetic (glamor shoots). The former is for commercial purposes (merchandising, advertisements, etc.), while the latter is purely for capturing and showcasing automotive beauty.

What is car photography

Let’s go into a little more detail regarding the two types of car photoshoots mentioned above. Commercial photography is rather formulaic, with a focus on details instead of aesthetics. The visuals are intended to provide information to potential buyers so as to help with their purchasing decision.

Glamor photoshoots, on the other hand, focus only on showing a car in the most appealing way. This includes capturing the body curves, modifications (if any), beauty in motion through moving shots, etc., all designed to make automotive enthusiasts drool all over their screens. E.g., for classic automobile photography, it’s best to focus on aesthetics over everything else.

The key to great photography is to talk to the viewer’s emotions. It is necessary to understand the purpose of your photoshoot- is it commercial photography? Is it stock photography? Is your target consumer a car buyer, or are you producing cinematic shots for wallpapers or ad campaigns?

Once you know the purpose, the process can be streamlined. Now, let’s take a look at how you can produce the perfect car photographs.

A complete guide for the perfect car photoshoot

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced professional, you need to get the basics correct. Following are the essentials that you need to cross off while photographing a car:

1. Select the correct angle(s)

Before you start shooting, you must plan which angles you need. Are you going to shoot from a low angle or a high one? What perspective do you want to add to your pictures? And so on.

camera angle for best output

Different angles and perspectives serve different messages. If you take a low-angle car shot or a high angle, it gives out a more cinematic output. For commercial photoshoots, you must click pictures from all angles around a vehicle, preferably from eye level. This would allow potential buyers an immersive experience while researching their next car purchase.

2. Get exterior shots of the car

While shooting the exterior of a car, there are multiple types of shots that you must take. Following are some exterior shots that you must not miss out on during auto photography:

  • Full body shots
  • Close-up shots
  • Wheels
  • Trunk
  • Engine
  • Vehicle window sticker

Note: Model car photography is great for practicing vehicle exterior photoshoots. You have much more control over the placement of the car and the way the environment interacts with it.

3. Get interior shots of the car

Just like the exterior shots, the interior matters too. However, this one is a tricky part. If you park the car at the wrong place, a patchy mix of shadow and light can ruin your auto photography. Therefore, begin with parking somewhere in the shade and bring compact lighting equipment along. You should:

  • Avoid direct light, whether natural or artificial.
  • Take individual shots of all the features and equipment in a car
  • Take detailed shots of the steering wheel, central console, seats, shifters/cup holders, and any special interior features.

4. Take care of the background

The background in your picture affects how professional your vehicle photography looks. And while one might have a lot of likes and dislikes when it comes to car background, there are still some rules to follow. Your car is the hero of the photoshoot. Make sure you don’t choose a very bright background that takes away the attention from the subject. It might be tempting to shoot a car before an artistic background like graffiti, but it is advised against for the same reason.

choosing background for car photo

If you want detailed car pictures, then the backdrop becomes even more important. Avoid cluttered backgrounds. Too much noise in the background makes the car look second-hand. If you are thinking of doing a car photoshoot outside your garage or on a busy street, think again.

You must avoid any distractions like people, trees, other vehicles, buildings, etc., in the frame. Also, take care that you don’t capture any non-partner brand logos around the car. This can call for legal issues other than distracting the viewer.

5. Take care of road rules

This part of vehicle photography is often missed out on in the excitement of getting work done. It is extremely crucial that you follow the road rules if the shoot is outdoors.

If you are shooting on the road, park your car on the right side of the road. Do not park it in a no-parking region. Also, avoid any depiction that may invite legal trouble both during and after the photography.

If this happens, you won’t be able to use the shots that you take despite putting in immense hard work.

Once the shoot is Done

If you follow all the above-mentioned creative car photoshoot tips and tricks carefully, you will surely get excellent shots. But the work is not over yet. The next step is editing and retouching the photos. You can either use manual editing software (like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom) or an automated image editing solution like Spyne Darkroom.

Role of lighting in professional automobile photography

Lighting is one of the most crucial aspects of photography. Lights are essential whether you want to get the aesthetics or display the details of the vehicle.

lightning for best car photography

When it comes to commercial photography, overhead lights (in a studio) are the best option to shoot. It makes sure that the entire car receives even lighting throughout. If you are planning an outdoor shoot, choose the right time of the day. The best time of the day is noon when the sun is overhead. At night, you can try out long-exposure photography to capture pretty effects.

However, it should be noted that shooting in unique lighting conditions is a big no for commercial photography. However, it is great for aesthetic shoots!

Bonus: Use Spyne AI for Stunning Automobile Photography

The new-age car photo editors run on cutting-edge artificial intelligence technology. Even basic shoots via a smartphone can create the best automotive photography through Spyne; it’s the perfect cataloging platform for dealerships, car resellers, and marketplaces.

AI app for photoshoot

Also, traditional photography is quite expensive. AI-led photography is much more affordable in comparison; no need for costly studios and professional photographers. Want to know how to use Spyne’s AI-led photography solution? Here is the step-by-step process.

Step 1: Shoot using Spyne AI smartphone app

Spyne app’s intelligent camera provides a guided shoot so that you don’t end up clicking anything less than perfect. It validates the captured image and warns the photographer to reshoot if any of the following aspects need improvement:

  • Angle
  • Exposure
  • Frame
  • Image clarity.

The technology only approves the shot if all the basic elements are approved.

Step 2: Create professional studio-style output

Once you have clicked car images that are validated by Spyne’s AI technology, the next step is to sit back and let the editor do the job. It provides 100+ choices of backgrounds, including studio and outdoor backgrounds. Based on the color, mood, and concept of your inventory photography, you can go ahead with any one of these backgrounds.

studio style car photo output

The editor transforms not only the background but also the floor. Whether you want a turntable or a finished floor beneath your car, Spyne provides all the options.

Apart from the background and floor, the editor also enables a shadow generation effect on the floor and at the backdrop. This adds depth to the car image and makes it look as real as an actual photoshoot.

Wait! This is not all. Spyne’s AI car image editor also provides a window tinting option. This means it removes any unwanted shadow or reflections on the car windshield and window pane. You can also add tint to the glass for a realistic and professional touch.

Traditional photography is great, but Spyne is the ultimate solution

If you still think that traditional vehicle photography is what you would opt for, consider the many advantages of Spyne’s photo editor.

  • It eliminates the hefty cost of the traditional / process. From hiring a professional photographer to renting a studio and spending on production, who wouldn’t want to save thousands of bucks that could be spent elsewhere in the business?
  • Spyne’s editor helps sellers create consistent brand language. A catalog where every car is displayed in a different manner with different editing style exudes unprofessionalism. You can easily edit car images in bulk through Spyne, providing a consistent output throughout the catalog.
  • Scaling a car catalog becomes 10x easier with Spyne. Every time you make new additions to your inventory, you won’t have to go through the humongous task of automobile photoshoots and editing. With your cataloging preferences saved in our AI editor, it takes just a few minutes to scale your catalog at supersonic speed.
  • Did we mention how inexpensive the process becomes then the traditional process? Smart automobile sellers are actually saving 75% of cataloging costs by using Spyne. Here’s your cue to work and earn smarter too.

This is what matters the most. Because, at the end of the day, the purpose of creating a stunning automobile catalog is to sell your inventory online. Spyne’s AI photo editor drastically increases the conversion of your catalog.


High-quality images shot in a professional setup build sellers’ authority and, thus, customer trust. They also make the car look more attractive and elegant, hence, increasing sales.

Such well-created catalogs also increase engagement on the VDP, motivating a potential buyer to browse the car completely instead of exiting the page.

Isn’t it truly a holistic solution for every business selling cars online?

Final word

Car photography is a tricky job. It takes creativity, hard work, and a lot of time and preparation. Therefore, the fat cheques that car photographers charge are worth every penny. However, it does not mean that car sellers online should let go of an opportunity to find a more innovative and inexpensive alternative.

If you are looking to run creative campaigns and cinematic ads to promote your car business online, you must opt for professional photographers. However, cataloging is a perennial process. It needs a solution that is scalable, feasible, and generates high-quality output. Spyne is a blessing if you are looking for solutions like these.

Get in touch with us today and ensure that your catalogs are best-sellers.


Q. How do you shoot a luxury car?

Unlike regular passenger cars, luxury car photoshoot almost always consists of glamor shoots, even when the intent is commercial! High-end cars attract buyers through the following – appealing design, brand image, and premium features – not necessarily in that order.

To show off a luxury car’s design, you need to plan out your photoshoot session. Select a theme – power, technology, etc. – that suits the vehicle and then proceed accordingly. Experiment with the angles and framing to get the best results. Remember to highlight the best features – design or otherwise – in your car portrait shoots.

Q. How do I find good car photography services near me?

The easiest way to find good-quality photography services near your business is to search for them online. Search “car photography in <location>” on Google (or Bing, Yahoo, etc.) and browse through the different services listed there.

You can also search for photographers on platforms like Thumbtack or Yelp. You can even check the reviews and ratings for their services there. Always remember to go through the portfolio of all the potential photographer candidates before hiring them, to see if their style matches your brand aesthetic.

Q. Why is automotive photography so expensive?

Professional automobile photoshoots can be expensive, mainly because it involves a lot of hard work and investment, not to mention top-notch skills! Apart from shoots, you also need to get the images edited for maximum impact.

If vehicle photography prices are bothering you, you can check out AI-powered, self-serve photography solutions, like Spyne. Not only do you get high-quality images, but you also get them quickly and at extremely affordable prices.

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