Master the art of Instagram car photography with these 8 tips

Level up your IG game
by Ian Magbanua | Sep 17, 2017

Okay, so you're a gearhead with a smartphone. You're always finding yourself in situations where you're exposed to all kinds of interesting vehicles, whether they be cars, trucks or motorcycles. If you've been planning to put up an Instagram account to showcase all the amazing vehicles you see daily, or perhaps you already have one but would like to up your game, then we've got a couple of things you should keep in mind to help you publish captivating content.

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But first things first: At the heart of great smartphone photography are the basics of actual photography. That means the understanding of light and how it lands on a form, and how best to capture it. It means understanding color and how best to bring it out or use it to your advantage. It also means composition, so check your basic Rule of Thirds and take it from there. If you’re really starting out from scratch, you can go Google how-to articles on basic photography.

With that out of the way, let’s jump into our eight tips for shifting your Instagram game to full throttle.

1) Establish what your profile is all about. It can be brand-centric, where you feature just Toyotas of any kind and of any year. Or perhaps be model-centric, where you just feature all generations of Porsche 911s. You can also opt for a culture-centric account where you feature just exotics, motorcycles, vintage steel from a certain country or maybe off-road vehicles, for example. Get your hashtags sorted out and get ready for the influx of followers and reposts.

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2) Location. This isn't an exhaustive list, nor is it a to-do list, but the idea really is to be creative where and when creativity hits you.


Racetrack. Choose the pits or the track itself. Anywhere is gorgeous.


Car shops. There's a ton of great subjects inside car shops. Use your eyes and be creative.


Roadside parking. There are many ways to shoot on the street, and solo vehicles parked on the street are just begging to be shot.


Parking lots. Park in a quiet spot of the lot and shoot away. If you're using a smartphone the guards aren't likely to even bother with you.


Interesting landmarks. If you can find a great location that's visually appealing then just go for it!


Car dealerships. Most dealerships are friendly and won't mind you taking photos of the displays. Go there when it's not so full of people because it's a great place for both content and practice. 

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3) Angle and composition. Get creative with your angles by composing your photo differently. The Rule of Thirds is a good start. Check for lines and angles that'll make your subject pop!


4) Time of day. Dawn to sunrise and sunset to dusk are great times of the day to shoot a car. Play with the light to bring out the drama in a photo. 


5) Lighting and reflections. Whether it's natural or artificial, light is your friend. Watch how the light is reflected on the car's form and play to it.


6) Color. A colorful car on a neutral background or vice-versa will make for an interesting photo. And sometimes a black-and-white treatment will elevate a photo from ho-hum to holy sh*t.


7) Action. Moving shots or driving shots give the photo a sense of dynamism. Use it to your advantage to switch up the kind of content you're putting out.

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8) Elements. Remember that a car is the sum of its parts, and sometimes all you need is a part of it to tease your followers into wanting more.

We are all students of the light, and hopefully what we've learned is of help to you. If your Instagram game is hotter than ours, please feel free to send us your tips!


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PHOTO: Ian Magbanua
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