How to take spectacular photos of your car with your iPhone

Is your car your pride and joy? Do you regularly dedicate hours of your time to washing and detailing your beautiful vehicle? Have you secretly dreamed of hiring a photographer to take professional photographs of your most prized possession? Then this tutorial is for you! This installment of iMore's photography series is all about cars and how to get the most spectacular photos of your car with your iPhone's camera.

Choose a nice environment

Nothing will ruin a photo of a beautiful car more than an ugly environment. How can your viewers soak in the beautify of your car if it's surrounded by a distractions like messy garages, driveways, parking lots, or car dealerships. In every car magazine, the photos of car are showed off in locations that enhance the overall appearance of the car, not that distract from it. You should do the same. I'm not going to deny that this will probably be the hardest part about getting an awesome photo of your car, but it's so worth it.

I wasn't too thrilled with the location I chose to take photos of my car for this article, which is why I chose jammer148's photo for this section instead. (Thanks jammer148!)

Clean your car

The above photo is an example of the type of photo you do not want to show off. What's the first thing you notice? The pile of dust on my bumper? Yeah, me too. Any level of dirt on your car will stick out like a sore thumb, so make sure you give it a good washing before taking it out for photos. In my case, most of the dirt appeared on my car while getting to the location, so I recommend bringing some car wipes and touch-up cleaning supplies with you to take care of situations like this. You can't predict what will happen -- like getting stuck behind some jerk who sprays you with windshield-wiper fluid (I hate that!).

Now, there is one except to this rule -- vehicals that are meant to be dirty. For example, perhaps you take your truck four-wheeling in the mud. If that's you, then you want the opposite of clean. Go take your truck out on an adventure, then take photos. Just make sure you take the photos in the appropriate environment. A filthy truck in a driveway looks like a filthy truck in a driveway. A filthy truck out in the hills and a mud puddle looks bad ass.

Interesting angles

Your average person will take a photo of their car by stepping back until their vehicle fits in the frame, then snap the picture. Don't be average. Get creative with your angles. Get low. Get high. Add tilt. Step a little to the left. Aim not to take a snapshot of your car, but a portrait of your car. Little things like turning the wheels of your car will also add interest and dimension to the final photograph. I recommend taking a look at some car enthusiast websites and magazines for inspiration before taking your car out for its big photo shoot. You can even save examples you like in your Camera Roll to reference.

Get the details

Some of the most interesting aspects of a nice car is in the details, so make sure you get some photos focusing on them. Are you particularly proud of the specific model of car you have? Focus on that. How about those alloy wheels, fancy sport shifter and pedals, and detailed stitching in your leather? What about the engine? Get it all! Everyone knows what the outside of a Corvette looks like, but not everyone has had the opportunity to sit in one and take in all the details -- show them what they're missing. And again, make sure those details are spotless; whip out the Q-tips if you have to!

Go wide

Most professional car photographers use wide angle lenses when photographing cars because it adds dimension and a creative look to their photographs. If you own an external wide-angle lens accessory for your iPhone, bring it along for your car's big photo shoot. If you don't, you can achieve a similar effect with panoramic photography apps like Autostitch.

I used an olloclip to take the above photo.


HDR photography with cars is very popular and can result in an interesting look, so make sure you experiment with this idea. If it's a sunny day with lots of harsh shadows, I definitely recommend using the built in HDR feature in your iPhone's Camera app. This will help make skies bluer and bring out details that are in the dark. But if you're interested in getting creative with more drastic effects, head to the App Store and try out some apps specific for HDR photography. The above photo was taken by the winner of our car photography contest winner and he used the app HDR Fusion to achieve this look.


We recently had a car photography photo contest and received a lot of great submissions, so make sure you take a look at the official car photography contest thread in the forums for inspiration.

Now go out and shoot!

Now that you're all prepared for taking the most spectacular photo of your car, put it to practice! And when you do, please share your results in the iMore photography forum. Above all -- have fun!

Leanna Lofte

Former app and photography editor at iMore, Leanna has since moved on to other endeavors. Mother, wife, mathamagician, even though she no longer writes for iMore you can still follow her on Twitter @llofte.