Copyright Scott Bourne 2011 – All Rights Reserved

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Assuming that you have access to the car you want to photograph is the first step to making a great car photograph, the background is the second.

A clean, uncluttered, background is very important to car photography. Additionally, a background that “makes sense” helps. For instance, photographing a car inside a swimming pool may be cool because it’s never been done before, but cars and swimming pools don’t go together. Cars and roads, cars and parking lots, cars and garages and cars and race tracks all go together.

I try to find backgrounds that match the car’s intent. A Bentley Continental looks “right” parked on a big circular driveway outside a mansion. A Yugo, not so much.

A sports car, muscle car or race car always looks good on a race track. Race tracks are almost always my preferred place to photograph cars. Even if the car doesn’t end up ON the track, there’s usually enough space around the track, or facilities like garages, that will set the scene. In the photograph I made for this article, I took my 2011 Corvette Grand Sport to the famous Las Vegas Motor Speedway oval. It made for a perfect background since it added interest to the shot without cluttering it.

The background’s job in the photo is to set the scene and then get out of the way. Spend as much time scouting backgrounds as you can.

Good hunting.


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