6 Pro Tips To Perfect Rolling Car Shots

6 Pro Tips To Perfect Rolling Car Shots

There are a dozen ways to shoot cars, the rolling shot is a little more difficult to master. But we, as petrolheads, have all drooled over them - the perfect rolling shot on Instagram.

Today, we will break down some of our own expert tips on how to put together a rolling car shot worthy of sharing. And remember - don’t be so quick to give up or think your photos aren’t worthy of fame. With a tool like Digital Bolt Ons, you can quickly turn an average rolling car shot into something mesmerizing.

So without further ado, here are our top tips to slaying it with roller car shots.

Rolling shots are all about being stable in precision.

Once you’ve got your camera focused on the car, it is just a matter of panning as they speed past. Try to focus on a single part of the car throughout the panning, this helps keep the subject as sharp as possible.

You could focus on the headlight closest to you or the car badge.

Take the time to walk around the car and appreciate it for what it is, and look for different, interesting things that you could shoot.

subaru wrx roller

Photo by @charles_sti_ on Instagram

Getting the blurred background right

A good point to start with is setting your camera to an aperture of F8 and 1/100th shutter speed. Now pan with the moving vehicle. Depending on the lighting, you might need to play around with the aperture. For a very bright day, you would make the aperture smaller.

If you want motion blur, then some experimenting with shutter speeds will dial up more or less. With a 1/100th shutter speed, it is easier to capture the subject crisply.

After some practice, you’ll be able to bring the shutter speed down, and this is when the magic begins. The backgrounds will become even more blurry.

Nissan 350Z roller

Photo by @bk.350z on Instagram

Think about location

You want to find a location that is relatively uncrowded and clean, so as to not distract or deter the viewer from the subject.

Avoid parking lots, they’re boring. Scouting out your location will help you to better determine the exact shots you want to get.

It also helps you to realize any issues that may happen when shooting, such as oncoming traffic in the area, trespassing warnings, unsightly debris or graffiti. Think about finding a quiet street, country road, downtown area, or in an industrial park.

Ultimately, keep in mind what model and color the car you will be shooting. You don’t want the backdrop to conflict with the tone of the paint job or mismatch with the model type.

Nissan GTR rolling shot

Photo by Josh Berquist on Unsplash

Vary your shots (get creative!)

Switch between a medium and close-up shot, try laying down or shooting from high up. The more you vary your angles and try out different shots, the more likely you’ll find one that really sticks out.

Another thing you can do is introduce a drone shot. Adding in drone shots are just another way to keep your edits dynamic. The drone further keeps the images interesting and keeps your viewers hooked.

Make sure that the camera is set to continuous high shooting mode to capture as many frames during each shot.

BMW rolling shot

Photo by Martin Katler on Unsplash

Consider using a circular polarizer (CPL)

A CPL helps to remove reflections from a subject, like a pool of water or windshield.

As you mount the CPL filter on your camera lens, it will reduce the amount of light on the image. Thus, you will need to do some post-production editing to bump up the highlights and exposure.

Occasionally, using the CPL filter at its highest degree might result in color variation as well, especially while using it on a wide-angle lens. So bear this in mind.

cpl filter camera

Photo by Garvit Jagga on Unsplash

Putting it all together in post-production

There are a bunch of photo-editing apps out there, and I’m sure many of them work great.

You could stick with the classics like Photoshop or Snapseed, but we personally like to go with Adobe Lightroom paired with a specialised service like Digital Bolt-ons. This website has all the editing tools needed for car photography.

old volkswagen rolling shot

Photo by Martin Katler on Unsplash