Vintage Car Photography: Tips for Classic Car Photographers

Michael • February 5, 2023 • 7 min read

Vintage Car Photography: Tips for Classic Car Photographers

As car enthusiasts, we all know the thrill of seeing a classic, vintage vehicle rolling down the road. They evoke a sense of nostalgia and a certain kind of romance. These timeless beauties deserve to be captured in a way that does justice to their charm and elegance.

And that’s where vintage car photography comes into play.
Vintage car photography is a niche in the world of photography that focuses on capturing the essence of vintage cars.

Photographers of old cars try to capture everything about them, from their smooth curves to the shine of their chrome, so that people can remember them for years to come.


  • Vintage car photography is a form of photography that captures the beauty and essence of classic cars.
  • Understanding the history and characteristics of vintage cars is essential for capturing their essence in photographs.
  • The art of vintage car photography involves a combination of lighting techniques, camera settings, and post-production editing.

Understanding Vintage Cars

Cars are not just automobiles, they are pieces of history. To understand the importance of vintage car photography, it is crucial to understand the history of vintage cars and what makes them so special.

The history of vintage cars dates back to the early 20th century, when the automobile industry was in its infancy. During this time, cars were made to be elegant and stylish, with a focus on how well they worked. The designs of these vehicles have stood the test of time and are still considered works of art.

The characteristics of vintage cars are what set them apart from modern vehicles. They have a timeless design that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. The chrome details, smooth curves, shapes, and unique design elements are what makes these vehicles so special.

Some popular classic car models include the Mercedes-Benz 300SL, the Jaguar E-Type, and the Porsche 911. These vehicles have become synonymous with luxury, style, and performance.

The Art of Vintage Car Photography

Vintage car photography is more than just taking a picture of a car. It’s about getting to the heart of an old car and keeping its memory alive for future generations. The following are some of the key elements of vintage car photography.


Lighting is one of the most important elements in vintage car photography. The right lighting can bring out the details of a vintage car, making it stand out in a photograph. Photographers often use natural light or studio lighting to achieve the desired look.

Camera setting

Camera settings are also crucial in vintage car photography. To get the perfect shot, a photographer needs to know how to do the technical parts of photography. A high shutter speed is usually preferred to freeze the motion of the car, while a shallow depth of field can help blur the background and draw attention to the car.

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Advice for Aspiring Vintage Car Photographers

Aspiring vintage car photographers should take the time to understand the history of vintage cars and the art of vintage car photography. They should also be willing to try out different styles and techniques to find their own unique way of photographing old cars.

Above all, people who want to become vintage car photographers should love old cars and want to capture their beauty in photos. if you ike to become a professional, continue reading starting a Car Photography Business.

Tips for Classic Car Photos

When taking classic car photos, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind.

Time of the day

The time of day and available lighting are crucial factors in vintage car photography. Photographers should consider the position of the sun and how it will affect the lighting of the car. For example, shooting in the golden hour just before sunset can create a warm, romantic glow.

Polarizer filter

A circular polarizer filter can also be used to bring out the colors in a photo of a classic car. This filter helps to cut down on reflections and make the colors in a photo stand out more.


Reflections can be a major problem when taking classic car photos. Photographers should be aware of how the car’s body and windows reflect light and adjust their angle accordingly.

Angle and position

The angle and position of the camera are also crucial in vintage car photography. Photographers should try out different angles to find the one that makes the car look the best and goes best with it.

A low angle can give a sense of power and dominance, while a high angle can showcase the car’s entire body and design. The position of the camera can also affect the mood of the photograph.

For example, shooting from the side can create a sense of speed, while shooting from the front can create a sense of grandeur. Read also in-depth article about how to pose your car for a photoshoot.

Wide angle lens

A wide-angle lens can be a valuable tool for vintage car photography. This type of lens allows you to capture the entire car in your photograph, which can help convey the grandeur and scale of classic vehicles.

Wide-angle lenses also offer a unique perspective that can make your photos stand out from others in the field. When shooting with a wide-angle lens, it’s important to be mindful of distortion, which can make parts of the car appear distorted or elongated.

Experimenting with different distances from the car and playing with the position of the camera can help you find the best composition for your shots.

Additionally, using a tripod can help you maintain stability and capture sharp, clear images. Overall, using a wide-angle lens is a great way to improve your photography of vintage cars and show off their full beauty.

Look out for details

In vintage car photography, it’s important to focus on the details that make these classic vehicles unique. Paying attention to the small details, like the chrome accents and the intricate hood ornaments at the interior, can help you make beautiful pictures that capture the essence of vintage cars.

Experimenting with different lighting techniques, such as side lighting or backlighting, can help bring out the textures and details in your photos.

Using a macro lens or getting close with your regular lens can also help you focus on and highlight certain details in your photos. When focusing on details, it’s also important to consider the background and surrounding environment.

Watch the background

A cluttered or distracting background can detract from the beauty of the vintage car, so be mindful of your composition and choose a simple, clean background that won’t take away from your subject.

The Importance of Post-Production in Vintage Car Photography

Post-production refers to the editing process that occurs after a photograph has been taken. The goal of post-production in photography is to enhance the quality and look of the image.

With vintage car photography, this is especially important as it helps to bring out the beauty and authenticity of the car.

Dive into the world of automotive artistry with our Lightroom car presets. Crafted to bring out the vibrant colors, intricate details, and sleek lines of every vehicle, our presets are your ticket to stunning car photography. Ignite your passion and start creating captivating visuals today.

Editing Techniques for Vintage Car Photography

There are several editing techniques that can be used to enhance vintage car photographs. Some of these techniques include color correction, cropping, and sharpening. It is important to keep the look of the image true to the era of the car.

For example, if the car is from the 1950s, the post-production should aim to give the image a vintage look that is true to that decade.

Enhancing the Authenticity of Vintage Car Photographs

Not only is it important to use post-production techniques to improve the image’s overall quality, but it is also important to improve the image’s authenticity. T

his can be achieved by adding elements that are true to the era of the car. For example, adding a vintage gas pump or license plate in the background of the photograph can give it a more authentic look.

Inspiration for Vintage Car Photography

Classic Car Events and Shows

Attending classic car events and shows is a great way to find inspiration for vintage car photography. These events showcase a wide variety of vintage cars, making it easy for photographers to find the perfect subject to photograph. Also, these events usually have a happy and nostalgic vibe that can be captured in photos.

Vintage Car Museums and Exhibitions

Visiting vintage car museums and exhibitions is another way to find inspiration for vintage car photography. In these museums and shows, you can see a wide range of old cars, from luxury cars to racing cars. Photographers can use these chances to take photos that show off the unique beauty and personality of these cars.

Celebrated Vintage Car Photographers

Looking at the work of celebrated vintage car photographers is another way to find inspiration for vintage car photography. These photographers have a lot of knowledge and experience that can help people who want to take pictures of old cars. They often have a unique perspective and style that can be used to inspire new ideas and techniques in vintage car photography.

Vintage Car Photo Gallery

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best lens to photograph classic cars?

Well, it really depends on what you’re trying to achieve with your photos. If you want to capture a wide-angle view of the entire car, a wide-angle lens is a way to go. But if you’re interested in more intimate details, such as the lines and curves of the car’s body, a medium or telephoto lens might be more appropriate. Ultimately, the best lens will depend on your personal style and the look you’re going for.

How do I get a vintage camera filter?

There are a number of ways to get your hands on vintage camera filters. You can start by searching online for vintage filter sets, or you can look for specific vintage filters to suit your needs. Some photographers also suggest looking for vintage cameras on eBay or other online marketplaces, since these cameras often come with a variety of filters.

Which location shall I shoot my vintage car?

The location for your vintage car photoshoot is really a matter of personal preference. Some photographers prefer to shoot in natural settings, such as parks or forests, to capture the beauty of the car in its surroundings.

Others prefer to shoot in urban settings, such as city streets or abandoned industrial sites, for a more dramatic look. Ultimately, the best location will depend on the look you’re going for and the type of car you’re photographing.

What is the best angle to shoot a classic car?

Again, the best angle to shoot a classic car is a matter of personal preference. Some photographers prefer to shoot from low angles, to emphasize the car’s lines and curves. Others prefer to shoot from high angles, to capture the entire car in its environment.

Some photographers also prefer to shoot from the side, to emphasize the car’s profile, while others prefer to shoot from the front or rear. Experiment with different angles to find the look that works best for you.

Why are details so important when shooting vintage cars?

Details are important when shooting vintage cars because they help to capture the essence and character of the car. For example, capturing the intricate details of the car’s chrome or the patina of its paint can help to bring out the car’s history and personality.

Additionally, details such as the car’s license plate or the brand emblem can help to identify the car and add an extra layer of interest to the photo.

How to prepare my classic car for a photoshoot?

Preparation is key when it comes to photographing classic cars. Before your shoot, make sure to give the car a thorough cleaning, inside and out, to remove any dirt or debris. If necessary, you may also want to give the car a quick touch-up, to make sure that any scratches or imperfections are covered up.

Also, think about bringing props like vintage signs or clothes to make your photos even more interesting. The more prepared you are, the better your photos will turn out.


Vintage car photography is an art form that captures the beauty, character, and essence of classic cars. From the history of vintage cars to the techniques used in vintage car photography, there are many elements to consider when capturing the perfect image.

Photographers can make stunning, timeless pictures of old cars by understanding the art of vintage car photography and using post-production techniques to make the picture look more real.


Vintage Car Video with Key Takeaways


Further readings:
Can You Guess The Classic Cars From These Interiors?
The top 12 sports cars of the 1960s
Cars of Krugersdorp: 1957
The Beaufort Classic Car Club

What are your tips for Vintage Car Photography? 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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Your thoughts and questions

2 thoughts on “Vintage Car Photography: Tips for Classic Car Photographers

  1. Jag League says:

    As a passionate collector of Jaguars in London, I found this article to be a true gem. The tips and insights on photographing vintage cars are spot-on, especially the emphasis on capturing the unique details and character of each car. The guidance on using lighting and angles to enhance the timeless elegance of these vehicles resonates with my experience.

    It’s heartening to see the appreciation for the history and beauty of classic cars like mine. The article not only offers practical advice for photographing vintage cars but also celebrates the artistry and nostalgia associated with these automotive icons. It’s a delightful read for anyone who shares a love for classic cars and aims to immortalize them through photography.

  2. Michelle M says:

    Hi! I recently explored ‘Vintage Car Photography: Tips for Classic Car Photographers’ and was thoroughly impressed. As an automotive lover with a passion for vintage cars, the detailed insights provided in the article are invaluable. It effectively covers the essence of capturing the unique charm of classic cars, emphasizing the importance of understanding their history and the nuances of lighting, angles, and details. The suggestions to look at the work of celebrated vintage car photographers for inspiration is a great tip for developing a unique style. This guide is an excellent resource for anyone interested in elevating their vintage car photography skills.

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