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How to set up lighting for car photography?

Setting up lighting for car photography is not a small task. You need to have a great understanding of light, control the lighting carefully, and pay attention to some details that might make or break the final image. In this article, we will go through how to light a car for photography and offer you tips on it. Read on to get more information.

COLBOR CL330 offers lighting for car photography and is mounted on the stand.

Use studio lighting for car photography

As aforementioned, you need more controls over the lighting to achieve ideal car photography. Studio light for photography offers more controls than natural light. It is available at any time of the day and won’t be influenced by the weather. There are two common types that you can choose from.

Continuous light for car photography beginners

Using continuous light allows you to correctly adjust your lighting before you begin shooting. So you don't have to test the settings as much as you would with a speedlight. This makes car photography more simple. Another benefit is that you don't have to synchronize it with your camera. They operate independently from one another.

One constraint might be the lamp's power supply. Many of them require a power connection, making them unsuitable for outside automobile photography.

If you have the COLBOR CL330 LED lights for photography studio, you won’t come across this trouble. The CL330 offers lighting for car photography at constant 330 power output. It adopts gold-plated Neutrik REAN connector to ensure power safety when used in studio. If you make outside car photography, it can be powered by a single V mount battery of 14.8V to get 45% of output. And dual V mount battery works to ensure full power output.

Speedlights and flashes for car photography pros

When the camera triggers, flashes and speedlights fire. It enables you to have control over the light intensity. They offer several advantages over monolights in terms of mobility and energy usage. Speedlights are powered by standard AA batteries. Furthermore, flashes have higher power, making them better suited to short exposure times.

The drawback is that finding the ideal location and settings may need some trial and error.

Adopt proper car photography lighting techniques

To set up the best lighting for car photography, you need to use the proper lighting technique that can help you achieve the ideal effect. Here are some common used techniques.

Direct frontal lighting: This technique is usually used for photographing cars. Everything in the image that faces the camera is lighted. The studio light is behind the photographer and camera in a front 3/4 shot, and the grille region, hood, roof, and side are all uniformly lighted.

Side lighting: It adds texture and emphasizes the car's lines. You're still photographing the side of the automobile that's lighted by the studio light, but the fixture is to the left or right of the camera.

Additive lighting: This technique directs the light source at the subject. It enhances the curves and features that distinguish a car's unique design by bringing out rich color, gorgeous metal flake sparkles, and improved contours and shapes. The problem is that this property of light - *the incidence angle equals the reflection angle* - means you'll see your light source mirrored in the automobile in most circumstances.

Subtractive Lighting: This lighting for car photography illuminates the entire studio area. It subtracts the light reflected from the automobile surfaces with huge light-sucking dark items. The benefit of using the dark side in car photography is speed. The entire vehicle is equally illuminated, and you only need to insert black material in which you want the shadows. The problem with huge soft highlights is that they do not bring out the juicy rich color, stunning metal flake sparkles, and improved outlines that additive lighting does.

Make use of light modifiers for car photography to diffuse the light

A softbox is a white light attachment with reflecting features on the inside of the box. A softbox allows you to soften the automotive photography lighting and eliminate harsh reflections in your automobile, particularly on the windows. The reflectors disperse light, reducing the intensity of shadows. Because of the size of cars, you need to use at least 60x40cm softboxes for car photography.

Use a tripod

You may capture as much correct in-camera as possible, but there are times when comping a few photos together is crucial in car photography. Fixing your camera to a tripod can ensure that all of your images line up and make the post-production process go much more smoothly.