To the car enthusiast, every make and model of a vehicle has a distinct personality that sets it apart from every other.
For the car-loving photographer, knowing the best combination of micro 4/3 camera and lens for any given scenario will help you build an impressive car photography portfolio.
This article will look at how the micro four-thirds range has the gear you need to produce car photography at a professional standard. We will also discuss a few tips on how to get the most out of what you do have.
Camera Gear You Need for Car Photography
Sure, you can take photographs of cars with your mobile phone all day long, however, if you want to capture the pinnacles of automotive prowess while showing off their might and majesty to the best effect.
You will want equipment that is a touch more advanced than the average iPhone.
Mobile phone cameras are getting pretty good, but they are still not great. Leave the phone in your pocket and use gear that will capture an image you can admire and appreciate.
An excellent quality micro four-thirds camera will have all the features you could ask for to give you options in your car photography. A range of lenses will also add versatility to your kit for building out a more diverse portfolio.
Micro Four Thirds Lenses for Car Photography
You want to have a kit to adapt to a range of different conditions. For instance, you will often be shooting outside, in which case you may find yourself in full sun or overcast conditions.
Many car shows are held indoors, so you will want to be prepared for that as well.
To take advantage of every car photography scenario with your micro four-thirds camera. Make sure you pack a range of lenses into your kit before you head out.
Wide Angle Lenses
You will want a lens that can take in the whole car when it’s out in the wild—for instance, a 4WD preparing to tackle rough terrain with a majestic mountain range as the backdrop
You won’t have any trouble finding a wide-angle lens for your M43 body. But make sure you remember to take the crop factor into account when thinking about how you will use it.
A 24mm lens may be wide enough on a full-frame camera, but not so much on a micro four thirds. Instead, go for a 12-32mm, a 9-18mm, or both, and you will have plenty of tricks up your sleeve to get some great shots of cars in their natural environment.
There are tons of little details in cars that make for great macro shots. The fine grain texture of all leather seats, engine details, or close-ups of a beautifully designed dashboard will all benefit from a decent macro lens.
Tripods for Low-Light Conditions
A well-rounded portfolio will need a few shots of cars at night, which means a tripod. Tripods may also be necessary if you find yourself at the end of the day and the sun is setting, but you still have a few shots left to take.
Night shots of cars can also produce compelling images, especially if you are experimenting with light painting and want to see what you can do with headlights and taillights on a moving vehicle.
Stationary cars make for great subjects because you can take your time framing the shot just right.
Car photography also means that you can still come away with great shots even when you use a camera body from the lower end of the market.
You won’t need super-fast shutter speeds in most circumstances. Unless you’re at the track, the cars probably won’t be moving around much, so fast AF isn’t mandatory.
If you’re just getting started with micro four-thirds, there are great cameras in the sub $1,000 range that will do the job if you combine it with the right lens.
However, if you plan on advancing your skills, you might want to go for something a bit more high-end, so you don’t have to upgrade as often.
Car Photography Tips
Change Your Perspective – We always see cars at eye level, so photographs at that angle will always come across as a little boring. Take advantage of different perspectives to highlight various features of the car.
Get down low and at different angles or climb a ladder to see the view. Most people rarely see cars from these angles, so you have a better chance of creating an interesting image.
Make Creative Use of Reflections – Golden hour gives you lots of opportunities to take advantage of a sunrise or sunset when viewed through a reflective panel.
A dew-covered ground can also add to the possibilities.
Mountain vistas, scenic landscapes, and the city’s neon lights can add drama if you can capture their reflections at just the right angle.
This angle will highlight the seductive curves of a sports car or the sturdy frame of a 4WD.
The shiny surface of an alloy wheel can also make for some interesting compositions, and moving the car an inch or two can make all the difference.
Action Shots – Cars are built to move, so what better way to capture their personality than to have a few shots of them doing what they do best.
You can stand by the side of the road as the car drives past you. It’s also fun to use another vehicle to travel with it.
You can get some fantastic images with subtle blurs on the road surface and the background to show speed. Be mindful of safety when doing these sorts of shots.
Experiment with Depth of Field – There are tons of exciting highlights on cars that can help capture the vehicle’s personality.
A stylishly curved side view mirror, a beautifully textured sports steering wheel, or expertly crafted interior door handles can all create interesting focal points.