There’s no question that we’re in an era of documenting every second of our lives. We never want to miss out on a great photo-op — and a road trip is a goldmine of fantastic, but fleeting, images. However, if you’ve ever tried to snap a gorgeous view or mind-blowing roadside attraction as it whizzes past, you know it’s almost impossible to get a shot that is half blotted out by the reflection of you and your camera or that isn’t just one big blur. Don’t give up yet! You don’t need to be a professional photographer to get great shots from a moving car without expensive equipment.
Shutter speed is key when you’re trying to capture moving images so you want to adjust your camera settings to let in plenty of light. The more light, the faster the shutter speed and the faster the shutter speed the clearer the photo. With a digital or film camera, this means a minimum setting of 1/1000th of a second. The f-stop shouldn’t be higher than 5.6 (go lower for more clarity) and use a high ISO. With a film camera, hold down the shutter to take continuous shots as you go by or set your digital camera to Continuous.
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Now if you haven’t come equipped with a camera, you can use your smartphone for moving car photography too! You can’t manually adjust the settings on your phone so you’ll get the best pics when there’s a lot of light which prompts the device to automatically use a faster shutter speed. Then set it to Burst mode for continuous shots.
Once you’ve got the camera settings down, there are a few other tips for getting the best pics. Keep the camera as steady as possible and open the window if you can. If that’s not an option, get the lens as close to the glass as possible to cut down on reflections. Decide whether you want a super crisp shot of one focal point frozen in time (more light, faster shutter speed) or you want to emphasize the movement by taking advantage of the motion blur (less light, slower shutter speed). Shooting through the windshield or rear window minimizes the blur but we all know most of the good stuff is on the sides
For solo travelers, car photography is a bit more complicated since you’re also driving, but it can be done with the right equipment. You’ll need a good suction mount and either a digital camera or a mirrorless micro 4/3 camera with a wide angle lens that attaches to a smartphone. It also makes things a lot easier (and safer) if you use a wireless shutter release. Now you just need to start working on the vacation photo album!