Racing photos are one of the most beautiful and addictive parts of the racing fan experience. The adrenaline rush as you capture that final moment with your camera, the smile on your face when that car you’ve been chasing for years exits at the end of a long race day (not always an option in NASCAR), or simply the joy of being able to share those images with friends and family. That’s why taking great racing photography is so important. If you’re serious about it, you know how much time and expense go into making your own auto racecars – from building their bodies to sourcing their engines and tires, there’s a lot going into it. But if you’re looking to share your passion for racing with the people around you, showing off your favorite racecars isn’t necessary (although a lot of people do it just for fun). You can take professional racing photos that will make anyone else’s look amateur by comparison! Here are 7 tips on how to take professional racing photos that will make anyone else’s look amateur:
Plan ahead, plan ahead
If you’re only going to hit a race track once or twice in your life, you can probably go a long way towards making those memories count by planning ahead. Before you get to the track, buy a bunch of insurance coverage for your car. This way, if something should happen, you’ll be able to quickly repair the damage and be on your way again. Plus, it will help you save a ton of money in the long run. To get started, find a local race track and meet with the track owners to plan out your visit. Next, decide what kind of insurance coverage you want. There are many different types of insurance coverage, each with its own set of benefits and limitations. Typically, you’ll want to have collision and comprehensive coverage, as well as insurance that’s inclusive of driver’s payment if something were to happen to your car. You can also look into getting an extended warranty for your car. These will help with the long-term cost of repairs if something were to happen, as well as provide some protection should something happen during a race weekend.
Focus isn’t everything
A lot of people think that focusing on the car itself is the best way to get a good shot of a racecar. But that’s not always the case. If you’re trying to get a clear shot of the driver during a race, the car itself is going to cause problems. Blurry or out of focus shots will give you an inferior image compared to a clear shot. So, how do you avoid these issues? A lot of it has to do with your image formation technique (IFT). As you may have gathered from the acronym above, IFT is the act of forming an image or photo by using different techniques. There are many different types of IFT, but the core idea is to use light and shadow to create interest in your shot. You can use different techniques to light your subject, including using backlighting, sidelighting, and diffused light. To get the best out of these techniques, you’ll want to practice on various models and see how they react to different light patterns and brightness levels.
Get some foresights on your trip to track day
Many people think that track day is for the elite drivers only, and for good reason. While driving around a track is an exhilarating way to experience racing, it’s not very representative of the event itself. So, when you go to a race track, try to get there a couple of hours before the event starts to get a good feel for the place. You can also bring along a couple of friends to help out and share the experience. When you get a chance to sit in the cars, try to get a feel for how they’re setup. If you’re not an experienced driver, always wear a helmet when you’re on a track. It’s one of the best ways to protect your head and face from all the glass, metal, and other debris that goes flying through the air at high speed.
Go for a crisp portrait photo with a little bit of motion
It’s always exciting when a racecar comes to a complete stop. But what happens next? You’d probably be surprised how often that happens, and it’s usually due to engine failure or damage to the bodywork. But what if you could take a photo of that moment when the car comes to a complete stop, and then follow it as it drives off? That’s what this is all about. To take a crisp portrait photo with a little bit of motion, look for open areas on the car that allow you to get a good picture. For example, if you’re shooting a racecar, it’s usually on the driver’s side, but you could also try shooting a racecar while it’s moving in reverse. Ideally, you want the car to be stopped for a few seconds, so you can get a clear shot of its underbody.
Optimize your lighting before and after the race
Everyone has different preferences when it comes to lighting, and that’s fine. You don’t have to go with the traditional approach to lighting a racecar, and you can even try using a different lighting technique than most people use. But, for the most realistic racecar photos, you want to use both light and shadow to create interest in your shot. To get these effects, use different light sources, such as using light from the sky, a sunset, or a candle, to add to the atmosphere of your shot. If possible, try to avoid using lights from a racecar, as these will usually be a lot brighter than the surrounding area. You also don’t want to use lights from a racecar that are directly aimed at your subject, as this will cause unwanted light reflections that will muddy up your shot.
Have fun taking the shot!
Racing photos are a lot of work, but they’re also very rewarding when you get the shot you want. So, don’t be shy about getting out of the car and moving around so you can get a more accurate shot. Just remember to be careful with the light sources you choose, as they can affect your image formation technique. With a little bit of practice, you can take professional racing photos that will make anyone else’s look amateur by comparison!