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10 Top Transport Photography Tips

Here are 10 must-read tips to help you take better photos of trains, planes, cars and other modes of transport.

| Transport

Transport is, probably, one of the easiest photographic subjects to find but with so much choice, how do you go about capturing the best shots of cars, trains and planes you can? That's where this article comes in as we've listed 10 top tips to help you perfect your transport photography skills. 


1. Not Just Cars

10 Top Transport Photography Tips: Boat


Cars are probably the first mode of transport that comes to mind when you think of transport photography but there are plenty of other subjects that are worth a shot or two. Bikes, trains planes and boats can be slightly more challenging to capture but can produce good results.

Trains are predictable as they have to follow a track, leave and arrive at certain stations and have a schedule they have to follow. Finding a spot to shoot from should be quite simple then all you have to do is perfect your technique. If you need a few tips on shooting trains, take a look at our technique: Railway Photography

Most of us don't have to go that far to photograph boats. We are usually not a million miles from the coast, rivers with boats, canal and inland waterways or even water-sports centre to be able to photograph this form of transport. For tips on shooting boats, take a look at these tutorials: Boat Photography and A Guide To Boat Photography


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For plane photography, airshows are probably the best place to perfect your technique and there's usually planes on the ground you can photograph too if you don't fancy photographing them while up in the air. Have a look at ePHOTOzine member, David Pritchard's Air Show Photography Guide for more tips on plane photography.

If you fancy trying your hand at sports photography, motocross is a great event to try. It's fast-paced, interesting to watch and there are plenty of events held around the country which means you shouldn't have to travel far to shoot some action shots. For tips on photographing motocross, take a look at our tips: Shoot Motocross Action

2. Continuous Shooting

10 Top Transport Photography Tips: Car


To further increase your chances of capturing your subject as they pass through your point of focus, switch to continuous shooting mode to capture a series of shots. Start shooting just before your subject goes through your focus point and you should get at least one shot that's spot on.

3. Look For Detail

10 Top Transport Photography Tips: Car


As well as shooting photos where you get the whole car, plane or train in the frame, take some close-up shots of the patterns, badges, paintwork and other detail the vehicle has.

4. Continuous Auto Focus

10 Top Transport Photography Tips: Platform


Most cameras feature quick and accurate AF (Auto Focus) systems making them great for capturing fleeting moments or action shots. Of course, how fast your subject is moving, how much light is around and how quickly your lens can focus will come into play but at least your chances of capturing a sharp shot will be increased with the help of Auto Focus.


5. Capture Light Trails

10 Top Transport Photography Tips: Light trails


For more creative shots, try shooting light trails in towns and cities at night. Dusk is a good time as there's still usually a good amount of traffic around and there will still be detail in the sky. For tips on shooting light trails, have a look at this tutorial: Photographing Light Trails


6. Location, Location, Location 

10 Top Transport Photography Tips: Car


Think about your location carefully - a 4X4 will look great at the top of a mountain but stick a little car up there and it can look lost. If you live on a busy street, move your car to another location as a messy background will just distract the viewer. For more advice on shooting locations, have a look at this technique: Car Portrait Advice


7. Use A Support

10 Top Transport Photography Tips: Bus


When using long lenses, as you do for many shots of transport, having some sort of support handy will stop you straining your arms and shoulders. A tripod can be used, however, if you're at a busy air show or by the track where there's not much space, a monopod is much more useful.

Panning plays a big part in some transport photography and even though you can pan quite easily without the help of support, some photographers do prefer to use a tripod or monopod, it's really down to personal preference.


8. Work With Angles

10 Top Transport Photography Tips: Ferry


Doing something as simple as crouching down can make your shots more exciting so do take the time to walk around the vehicle you're shooting to look for angles, shapes and lines that will really help improve your shots.

9. Use Reflections

10 Top Transport Photography Tips: Car


As mentioned in our 5 Ways To Be More Creative With Transport Shots article, there are various ways to use reflections in transport shots. You can use car mirror's, reflections in bodywork or look away from the vehicle for puddles and other reflective surfaces.

10. Back At Home

10 Top Transport Photography Tips: Car


When it comes to photo editing, you really can spend hours tweaking and changing your shots. You can add emphasis with a vignette, darken skies to add mood, give older transport a vintage feel with lomo tweaks or by turning them black and white or how about having a go at HDR? Take a look at ePHOTOzine's techniques for some inspiration.

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Chinga Plus
12 123 3 United Kingdom
5 Feb 2022 12:49PM

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