Final motorsport photography tips from our professional photographer
“When motorsport photography, whether you’re a pro or amateur, the most important rules are to never turn your back on the cars, don’t get too close to the track, know where you’re going to run if the cars crash off the track in your direction, and avoid danger zones, like the end of fast straights!” says Jakob.
“I never kneel while shooting, either, as it’s faster to run out of the way if standing. Rally can be unpredictable, but use your common sense, stand well back with a telephoto lens, and you’ll be safe.”
Showing off the landscape
“Rallies are held in some of the most picturesque spots in the world, so it makes sense to show off a suggestion of the landscapes and locations that the cars are racing in,” says Jakob.
“Go wider and include more of the surrounding scene in your shots. Try vertical and horizontal compositions, and try following the ‘rule of thirds’ and positioning cars in the corner of your frame for more dramatic images.”
Panning for perfection
“When panning to capture motion blur of the cars, set a shutter speed around 1/60 sec, face side-on to the track and prefocus on the spot the car will drive past, then lock to MF.
“Now track the car through a 180-degree arc, shooting continuously and ‘following through’ smoothly after you stop shooting.”
What’s in the background?
“Your background will make or break your motorsport photography. Be on the lookout for clean and empty areas behind tracks, making sure that, when cars appear, you will be able to shoot away without anyone behind the cars – marshals are great at ruining shots with their distracting hi-vis jackets!”
Fill the frame
“A little space around cars and giving them room to ‘drive into’ the frame is fine, but don’t capture too much dead space and then plonk them in the middle. Instead, aim to fill the frame with the action. This also means your backdrop will be more out of focus – shots where the car is closer to the camera and filling the frame has a less distracting background.”
“Shooting cars coming straight at you means you can’t see enough of the car to get a sense of movement. Position yourself to get a view of cars so they’re slightly side-on – ideally fishtailing out of a corner with a little mud spray for more dramatic action shots.”
Reflections in windscreens
“The only slight flaw with the shot above is that the windscreen has reflections of the tree above, so you can’t see the driver and co-driver – but you can’t have everything! Knowing where you need to stand to capture all of the above and to ensure a clear windscreen takes years of experience.”
PAGE 1: Meet our professional photographer and apprentice
PAGE 2: Motorsport photography tips for during the shoot
PAGE 3: Final tips from our professional photographer
PAGE 4: Our professional photographer’s recommended gear
PAGE 5: Shot of the Day
33 myths of the professional photographer
10 things photographers can do to stop wasting pcitures
15 common photography questions from beginners (and how to solve them)
10 reasons your photos aren’t sharp (and how to fix them)