8 Car Rolling Shots tips (with examples)

2/27/2018 ISO 1200 Magazine 0 Comments

ISO 1200 has his first official collaborator: Moe Zainal. He is an awesome automotive & car photographer from Bahrain and we strongly recommend to visit his YouTube channel and if you love car photography: SUBSCRIBE.

Moe will share all his secrets,  tips, lighting, envelope and postproduction. Today he is going to talk about "Car Rolling Shots".

I was invited to attend the Audi driving experience at the Bahrain International Circuit & I had a blast experiencing the R8 on the track trying to catch up with the pro instructor at the R8 ahead, it was a joyous thrilling drive & the minute I left the R8 I was like … I need to get one. But I won't, it's over my budget for now…

Now while I was on the track, Geetan the dealer principal asked me if I would be interested in getting some car rolling shots via the SQ5 towards the end of the event & I said: you know me, I am up for anything when it comes to photographing awesome cars!

And so I jumped into the SQ5 and this by the way was my first car rolling shots since I have tried this technique about 3 years ago & never got it right, but this time I took the challenge and I nailed it & here is what I have learned summed up in 8 tips:

, don't underestimate this important point - neglect this and you will put yourself & others in danger, At first I wanted to go unstrapped but the guys from Audi strapped me anyway & thank god they did, helped a-lot in corners!

2. Communication, although it was brief but I was dealing with professionals that have done similar exercise before, we just had to agree on the speed and my signals to position the cars on the track on the go. 

3. F-stop, I have used an aperture range between F11 - F13 for three reasons, mainly those that would affect the focus plane: 

a) I knew I was going with variable focal lengths, on the first day I had the wide lens on but it felt short, so I swapped it with the 24-70 on the second day with r8 shots
b) The distance of the car will also vary for different shots
c) I also wanted to get the background in camera focus, the blur i was looking for was the motion blur and not a bokeh, shallow depth of field blur

4. Speed, I originally wanted them go between 60 - 70 MPH but they were afraid that the trunk door would slam me in the face. So we were averaging 40 MPH for a safer shoot though I really wish we went beyond this, it would have resulted in a better rolling shots.

5. Slow Shutter Speed, I was really hesitant pulling the shutter speed down since I had only one go to get these shots. I’ve originally started with 1/40th with the RS3 LMS shots, however I decided to go with 1/30th the day after with the R8 shots & I was really blown away with the results! Thanks to Sony’s 5-Axis in body stabilisation, I could have gone down further to 1/20 - 1/10 but I didn’t want to ruin it.

6. Set your focus area, with rolling shots the car could either be on the right, left or centre, the A7x series allows to assign custom buttons to certain functions like setting the focus area, with a single press I was able to control the focus point on the go. Additionally I could have used the “expanded flexible Spot” focus area that will continuously follow the subject in frame but I didn't want to risk it because I haven't tried it before.

7. Exposure: Because the exposure will vary across the track & I didn’t want to change the aperture nor the shutter speed, and so I have set the dial as the ISO custom button to change it on the fly as well.

8. Camera Drive Mode, I’ve set the shooting more to continuous shooting: high - you wouldn’t want to to miss the right shot, wether on a straight line or on corners - taking continuous shots will insure you get the right sharp/in-focus shot, especially if you get camera shakes, car inconsistent speeds, car is changing directions at corners or simply if the camera is out of focus on the first shot (applies to certain focus area settings).


Thanks Moe for this awesome article.

You may also like:  Change the Color of a Car in Photoshop (Fast & Easy)

Official Collaborator Moe Zainal:

An Automotive Photographer & a Digital Marketing Hero from the little island - Bahrain. Captivating Carreras. Alluring Audis. Photographically capturing vehicles in still frames is an acquired taste many take for granted.
Let's Get Connected: www.zainals.com 

Text, image and video via Moe Zainal

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