Professional Car Photography – Front View

In this automotive photography class, the second in a series where Karl photographs a Mercedes AMG GT sports car from different angles, you’ll learn key skills such as how to photograph the front view of a car, capture headlights, control the brightness of lights during a long exposure, and balance multiple studio lights to achieve a particular feeling.

Throughout the shoot, you’ll see as Karl gradually builds up his lighting to achieve the correct exposure on the body and front of the car, as well as on the background. You’ll see how he uses simple modifiers to achieve precise pockets of light, how he uses flags to reduce flare, and mirrors to add additional light in tricky areas of the shot.

Key to the moody feeling of the shot was the glowing headlights, and you’ll learn exactly how to incorporate this glow, as well as control the brightness of the headlights in an image. This is a useful technique that can also be applied to other products, such as electronic products with LED screens.

Class objectives:

  • How to photograph cars from the front using studio flash
  • Techniques to control and remove reflections in reflective surfaces
  • Creating a graduated background glow
  • How to use mirrors to add additional light
  • How to use flags to reduce flare
  • How to capture car headlights using long exposures
  • How to balance multiple lights

Also part of this series is our Professional Car Photography – 3/4 Front ViewProfessional Car Photography – Side view, and Professional Car Photography – Top View classes. For further car photography classes, please take a look at our automotive photography section.

If you have any questions about this class, please post in the comment section below.

Emotive car photography

For this shot, I wanted to create a more moody and sinister image, as if the car was something dangerous emerging from the shadows. To do this, it was imperative that I get the balance of lighting just right.

To do this I used a combination of lighting techniques, including under lighting, using small pockets of light, and even incorporating a glow of the headlights.

Car photoshoot in the studio

A combination of lighting techniques was used to capture the final image.

Balancing the light on the bonnet of the car with the light on the front grill was an important part of the shoot, and I found that a stronger under lighting on the front grill really helped create the mood I wanted.

The final part of the shoot was capturing the headlights of the car. I experimented with different camera settings to get the glow just right, eventually decided that a more subtle glow was what best suited the feeling of the shot.

Photographing the headlights of a car

Capturing the headlights of the car involved testing different camera settings to get the best results.

Although this shot took slightly longer than anticipated, it just goes to show that you shouldn’t rush the process. In the end, I captured a shot that I’m really happy with, and that extra time was well worth it.

Mercedes AMG GT sports car front view

The final image of a Mercedes AMG GT viewed from the front


  1. Waddah Almusaiteer

    Thank you Karl,

    I wish you make new course for how can we do it with the normal photographer equepment because we don’t have a studio like yours

    1. hrachess

      I agree! I also would like to see similar but in outdoor environment, which is very different from Studio (in terms of reflections, ambient light, different environment etc.) Hope Karl will do one soon!

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