Best Tips for Photographing a Moving Vehicle

Janice K. Johnson

A photographer stands on the edge of his truck to photograph a moving vehicle. Like him, let these tips for photographing a moving vehicle guide you.


How do you photograph a moving vehicle? Let our quick list of the best tips for photographing a moving vehicle help you master the art of taking idyllic pictures for your projects and portfolio.

When flipping through a magazine, you often see advertisements depicting cars in action. The idea is to portray this vehicle as a piece of expert craftmanship that handles the twists and turns of a roadway. You, too, can take these images with the help of our best tips for photographing a moving vehicle.

Find Your Depth-of-Field

It’s crucial to select the proper aperture while shooting straight on. The correct aperture will provide sufficient depth of field to fixate on the entire vehicle. The aperture for bikes and other vehicles is typically around f/8. Many photographers use AI Servo mode on a single or extended AF point. Your focus point is the most critical part of your picture of a moving vehicle, so utilizing pre-focusing and higher contrast will make your photo pop.

Use a Three-Quarter Action Shot

When you see professional photographs of fast-moving vehicles, you may notice they use specific angles to really capture the moving vehicle. A three-quarter front action shot is one of the more common angles used because it encapsulates everything the vehicle can do. A 300mm f/2.8L lens is your go-to to capture these photos. Additionally, motion blur will showcase the wheels as they turn corners. Your shutter speed can range between 1/500 to 1/250 seconds.

According to Pan

Photos known as profile pan shots make the car the star of the show while blurring out everything around it. The solution is to look at and follow your target through the viewfinder, synchronize its movement with continuous focus, and push the shutter button to frame it properly.

You’ll get revolving wheels and a razor-sharp image framed by seamless traces of motion blur if everything goes according to plan. Faster subjects produce more motion and slower shutter speeds, but it is more difficult to maintain clarity.

Change the Atmosphere

Lastly, one shot gives the photograph of your moving vehicle a vibe without having the car be the focus. An atmospheric shot is all about the backdrop, so you want to find a perfect location that makes your shot look like a car commercial. One important tip to consider when scouting for your atmospheric backdrop is to ensure nothing distracts from the vehicle’s beauty. Even a random dumpster in the distance can ruin the aesthetic.

Using these best tips for photographing a moving vehicle will allow you to ditch the boring still shots of your sweet ride and give it more flair. When you can master the art of challenging objects, such as a moving vehicle, there’s no telling what you can accomplish next.

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