photographing race cars?

Question by annabell_leigh: photographing race cars?
I am photographing a dragster for a friend of mine on Sunday the car will be racing throughout the day. He wants pictures to use for a website. I have never photographed for purpose before just for fun. I have shot some race cars before for fun but have never been quite pleased with the results. Does anyone have any advice?

I use a canon sx10is.

Best answer:

Answer by sagara
there are a few concepts needed to photograph race cars.

1. fast shutter speed. Cars are fast, you’ll need a fast shutter speed.
2. long lens, people are a too far to get really close to the car, so they have to rely on the lens.
3. panning. this is where to move your camera with the car. This makes the car look still while the background is moving. (this takes a lot of practice to get right. I sometimes stand by the side of hte road, practicing this technique).
4. monopod. Gives you a place to rest your camera while being able to pan.

In reality. People spend more on a camera than a new car, in order to photograph race cars. IN ACTUAL PRACTICE, USING YOUR CANON…
1. learn how to pan. Before you go out, practice next to a highway.

2. zoom out as far as you can.
3. find out the right shutter speed. It needs to be relatively porpotional to the speed of the car
4. shoot level, to make panning easier.
5. choose the best iso to match your speed.

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

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2 Responses to photographing race cars?

  1. Kevin K says:

    Shoot on manual as much as possible. Check exposures before the race, and get that part set.

    Low ISO, 100 or 200, whatever the lowest setting is.

    For panning, use a slower shutter speed, and follow the car.

    here’s a motorcycle, 1/200 of a second:

    At the starting line, you’ll want to go with the highest possible shutter speed, to freeze the moment when the force of the engine hits the tires, but before the car starts moving. 1/2000 is a good speed for freezing the car.

    Most people shooting races use a DSLR, and a 300mm 2.8 lens. It allows you a lot more control over the image, and a lot faster focusing speed.

  2. John H says:

    Panning, or following the race car with the camera as you shoot is a good way to capture the image of speed. Here are a couple of examples of shots I made at Atlanta International Raceway a long time ago.

    I was shooting 35mm ASA 400 film, using a 200 mm lens and most likely 1/1000 sec. exposure time.

    Note the sharp decals on the car, but blurred lettering on the tires.

    In this shot, the fence is blurred, but the car is sharp.

    The key is practice. Not all of this type of shot is going to come out perfect, but nobody has to see the bad ones, right?

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