General Question

pleiades's avatar

Photographers: Help! Would you please give me advice for shooting cars in harsh sunlight?

Asked by pleiades (6571points) August 4th, 2014

My new job (marketing photographer for multiple dealership) requires me to shoot new vehicles that are out on the lot already, in harsh sunlight.

Obviously this is not ideal. I haven’t shot outside during the 12pm-3pm time frame since shooting sports for my college newspaper.

So please feel free to advise me as if I were picking up the camera, and set to shoot for the first time ever, in harsh sunlight. I pretty much need to photograph the whole outside of the vehicle and inside.

The company has equipped me with a DSLR.

Things to consider…

There is no one parking lot, sometimes the job requires that I pull a vehicle out of the parking zone, never anyone spot and never really one certain direction…

Tips please! Thank you!


Thanks so much for the jellies to helped me with my resume/interview questions they helped me land this job of what I feel is considered my first professional gig, albeit entry level, it’s (Full Time) with benefits etc!

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6 Answers

kritiper's avatar

Get a polarizing filter and/or see if the camera you will be using already has one. That will cut the glare drastically and some if not all are adjustable.(As the filter is turned one way or the other, you can view the polarizing effect through the viewfinder.) Also, set the camera 1 to 2 shutter speeds faster or 1 to 2 f-stops higher to help reduce glare. Bracket your shots (take multiple shots) with these different settings, don’t just take one picture at a single setting.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@kritiper Offers some great advice. Polarizing filters, low ISO, high shutter speed and higher aperture will all cut down on excess light in the photo. Use a tripod and take a lot of photos at diff f-stops /shutter speeds. This will help you see what works best as well as being able to combine multiple photos in post production so that you can get both high lights and low lights in the image.

zenvelo's avatar

If you can wet the pavement around the car it will give the image a richer tone. (That’s what they do in car commercials).

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t know a lot about photography, but my suggestion is do your photographs late morning instead of afternoon. Have you bothered to tell the client what time of day is ideal for you regarding photo quality? They might have no idea and possibly think the sunniest part of the day is ideal. They are not photographers, that is why they hired you.

pleiades's avatar

Thanks guys! Yeah I want to shoot as early as possible. I do used and new cars… our priorities are used… since new ones come with stock photos… I’m thinking of spending the first 4 hours shooting new cars then after lunch come back to do used… I’ll try it out my supervisor is extremely leniant and open to me experimenting.

Pandora's avatar

I know this was months ago but maybe someone else may need the advice in the future. Move the vehicle to a shady spot near the building. Maybe with the building logo behind it or shoot it at sunrise or sunset.

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