Photo by Scott Bourne – Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons


Dealing with the inevitable reflections you get when you make pictures of cars.

I’ve been shooting cars on a regular basis lately. I, like everyone struggle with the specular highlights and reflections that cars produce.

I have learned five quick tricks that will make your next car shoot easier.

1. Wear all black clothing. If you’re wearing reflective clothing or bright colors these will show up in the reflections on the car. So wear black and you help yourself disappear from the shot.

2. Use a circular polarizer. Yes I know you love them for making the sky look bluer but their real purpose is to cut through and reduce glare. You have to be at the right angle to the car for this to work but a polarizer can help solve a bunch of reflection problems.

3. Use angle to your advantage. I rarely work with a tripod when making car photographs because I find myself constantly trying to re-position my camera to get a good angle. This angle will often be dictated by where the reflections from the light source are coming. So pay attention to angle and remember that shooting straight into the car usually produces the worst reflective result.

4. Use the cars natural lines and creases to hide specular highlights.

5. Don’t fret over every specular highlight. If they bother you that much, remove them in Photoshop. In my opinion, they give a car character. That’s why I decided to leave a few in the above photo.


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