Expert Tips for Cleaning a Car Exterior Before a Photoshoot

Michael • January 25, 2023 • 4 min read

Expert Tips for Cleaning a Car Exterior Before a Photoshoot

When it comes to capturing the sleek lines and glossy finish of a car in a photoshoot, there’s one thing that’s absolutely crucial: a clean exterior. But, as any car enthusiast knows, getting that showroom shine is no easy feat.

There are a lot of steps involved, and it can be hard to know where to start.
That’s why I’ve put together this guide to help you clean the exterior of your car for a photoshoot.

Whether you’re a professional photographer or just want to snap a few shots of your own ride, these tips will help you make sure your car looks its best in front of the camera.


Before you prepare a car for a photoshoot,Before and you start washing the car, there are a few things you’ll need to gather. Most importantly, you’ll need high-quality car wash soap. I recommend a product that’s specifically designed for cars, as it will be gentle on the paint but still effective at removing dirt and grime. You’ll also need a bucket, microfiber towels, and a hose or pressure washer.

It’s also important to find a good location for washing your car. Ideally, you’ll want to find a spot that’s out of the direct sun, as the heat can cause the soap to dry too quickly and leave streaks. A shaded area or garage will work well.

Washing the car

Washing the Car

Now that you’ve got everything you need, it’s time to start washing your car. Begin by rinsing it thoroughly with a hose or pressure washer. This will remove any loose dirt and debris that could scratch the paint.

Next, fill your bucket with water and add a few squirts of car wash soap. Dip your microfiber towel or wash mitt into the bucket and start washing the car in sections, starting from the top and working downwards.

Be sure to rinse your towel or mitt frequently, as dirt that’s left on the towel can scratch the paint.

After you’ve washed the entire car, rinse it again with a hose or pressure washer to remove any remaining soap. Be sure to pay extra attention to the door jams and other areas where dirt tends to collect.

Dry the car with a micro fiber towel

Drying the Car

Once your car is clean, it’s time to dry it. Dry the car with a microfiber towel or chamois, beginning at the top and working your way down. Be sure to pay extra attention to drying around the windows, mirrors, and door handles, as these areas are prone to water spots.

It’s important to dry the car as soon as possible after washing it. If the car is left wet for too long, the water can dry and leave water spots on the paint.

tires and rims cleaning


With the car dried, it’s time to start the detailing process. The first step is to give the tires and rims a glossy finish with a tire shine product. Be sure to apply the product to a clean, dry tire and spread it evenly.

Next, use a spray wax or sealant to add shine and protection to the paint. The way these products work is that they make a barrier between the paint and the outside world. This keeps the paint from getting scratched or fading. Apply the product in a thin, even coat and wipe away any excess.

Finally, clean the windows inside and out for a clear view. Use a glass cleaner and a microfiber towel to remove any dirt or grime from the windows.

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Tools and Products to prep up your Car’s exterior

  • Microfiber cloths
  • Car washing soap
  • Bucket
  • Hose or pressure washer
  • Wheel cleaner
  • Tire shine
  • Clay bar (optional)
  • Detailing spray (optional)
  • Detailing towels (optional)
  • Car wax or sealant (optional)
  • Car polish (optional)
  • Bug and tar remover (optional)
  • Scratch remover (optional)
  • Glass cleaner (optional)
  • Waterless car wash solution (optional)

Please note that this is a general list, and specific tools and products may vary depending on the type and condition of the car’s exterior. When using cleaning products, you should always read the labels and do what the manufacturer says. Also, you should always test a small area first before using a product on the whole car.

It is also important to note that when cleaning the exterior, it is best to use products that are specifically formulated for automotive use; using household cleaning products may cause damage to the car’s paint.

Glossy car paint with wax


Cleaning the exterior of your car for a photoshoot may seem like a daunting task, but with the right preparation and techniques, it’s actually quite straightforward. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you’ll be able to get your car looking its best in no time.

Remember to start by gathering all the necessary materials, washing the car in sections, paying extra attention to drying around the windows, mirrors, and door handles, giving the tires and rims a glossy finish, applying a spray wax or sealant to the paint, and cleaning the windows inside and out.

But here’s the thing, a car is not a static object, it’s a living, breathing machine that needs constant care and attention. And that’s exactly what makes a car photoshoot so thrilling.

It’s an opportunity to showcase the beauty and power of a machine that’s been pampered and loved. It’s an opportunity to capture a moment in time and showcase the hard work and dedication that go into maintaining a car.

So, don’t think of this guide as a chore, think of it as an opportunity to show off your prized possession in the best light possible. And in the end, isn’t that what a photoshoot is all about, capturing the essence of a thing and showcasing it in a way that it’s never been seen before?  

Further readings:
How to keep your car clean between washes
How To Protect My Car’s Finish
A Complete Guide to Understanding Cavity Wax

How do you clean a car exterior before taking pictures? Let us know in the comments.

By Furoore team member Michael
Furoore Team is here to assist you in capturing the most significant moments in your life. To create exciting photographs, discover photography guides, find unique photo ideas, and limitless image inspiration.


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