Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Hagerty Employee

How to take sweet car photos on your phone

If I had a nickel every time I heard, “The best camera is the one you have with you,” I’d have enough money to retire from photography completely. Despite the overuse, the old adage rings true, especially with the advent of the camera phone. Digital cameras can be overwhelming. With expensive lenses, complex settings, and convoluted importing processes, sometimes it’s much easier to pull out your phone and tap away.


Read the full article


As a former professional photographer, I have three pieces of advice... 


The first, which SHOULD be obvious, is to hold the camera HORIZONTALLY. 

Cars are neither people or five-story buildings. Look at the car ads on Craigslist and see how common this mistake is. 


Second, lens focal-length DOES make a difference. Wide-angle can distort perspective while longer lenses can flatten it, (a GOOD thing for most exterior shots.) Wide-angle lenses are most useful for car interiors and engines. 


Finally, a cloudy, overcast day gives the BEST, most even and soft lighting. 

Just try to keep the sky itself out of the picture, (have a background of trees, an attractive building, etc.) 


P.S.- DIGITAL zooming lowers resolution; OPTICAL does not. 

Pit Crew

Great advice!

Pit Crew

got a decent shot with an ancient iphone se of a 1600gt that was then mangled into a certain level of drama with pixelmator pro.


Thanks for a great article. Lots of good to great stuff. You mentioned some editing device toward the end..."Snap????". Doesn't the iPhone 11 have a similar app? In fact I would say the iPhone has more apps than you will ever need. IMO. Thanks again. 

Pit Crew

Snapseed. Yeah, it's available on the App Store. Best part: totally free!

Hagerty Employee

thanks for the tips! I parked my Nikon D3000 on a shelf shortly after I upgraded to an Iphone 7plus, the difference in results from one to the other wasn't worth the hassle of carrying around a camera bag full of camera and accessories. Recently upgraded to an XR and am enjoying the camera that it has, anyone able to recommend a good lense kit for it? 

Pit Crew

I haven't looked into additional lenses for my phone. Thats a great question!

Intermediate Driver

If you take a photo of a car with front wheels turned, you need to know exactly how to capture that shot so the car doesn't look like the front axle is bent or broken. BEST to NEVER take a picture with front wheels turned! Place them straight ahead!

Pit Crew

I suggest taking pictures in early morning or during an overcast day.  Glare will not exist.  Deep colors will prevail.  Also, find an intersting background.  I find if you go to an small office complex that has refelctive glass, this will give you dimension to your shots.  Some people prefer to wet down the driveway before shooting.  Once again, this adds seductive sheen.  But remember if it is your car, there is no such thing as a bad picture.  Shoot away.

Pit Crew

Great tips!

Pit Crew

Don’t overlook time of the day for lighting. Best light is early morning, or the hour before sun down!

New Driver

It seems to me that WHERE you take the shot matters.  The pictures above seem taken at a industrial park lot.  Its appropriately bland and doesn't distract from the car, but does nothing to enhance the car's aesthetic.  For an Italian sports coupe, perhaps a racetrack or roadside would add MPH.  A luxury car would be best shot in front of a Luxury Hotel or Restaurant.  I shot pics of my 1979 Bronco in a boulder-strewn riverbed.  And any car looks good in front of an amusement park.

Pit Crew

I totally agree! I wish I could have taken that Alfa into the city and shot in front of some old buildings.

Hagerty Fan
Not applicable

Interesting settings/experiences really make the shot but common settings that make no sense yet I see far too often are leaving a car parked on a grassy lawn (why?) or worse, at an odd angle to the roadway, as though some ham-fisted driver had just spun and lost control, then decided - let me take a shot of this! LOL

New Driver

Using the perspective feature has caused a weird positive camber look to the right rear wheel of the car. The Garage looks better and the car looks unwell.


How can I get more info. using my phone camera to take advantage the different options on it. Thanks