Detailing a Ferrari

I had occasion to spend a few minutes alone with a Ferrari 360 at a wedding last Autumn. This class looks at the situation I found myself in and why it worked, along with the techniques I employed. We’ll be taking a look at three of the photos. I think it’s safe to say the number one piece of advice when shooting cars, particularly when shooting their details, is to adjust your perspective. Get down and dirty to get alongside your subject.


This photo is a prime example of getting down and dirty. This nifty fifty shot would look ridiculous if I were aiming down from my standing position. Getting down on the deck and carefully aligning my lens for composition allows the viewer to enjoy several elements of this complex wheel whilst allowing me, the photographer, to select the point where the eye finally rests.

The car was sitting in a garage with the door open facing nose out into an overcast morning light. The softened light was falling in and bathing the car in a beautifully even glow. Perfect, just what I wanted when I was armed with nothing more than a Nikon 50mm f1.8 having been shown the car by Katie, the stunning bride, after I had been hunting down details in her marquee.


This view, with the environment I’ve described, was begging to be pixelated. With the engine cover raised there was a pretty mean view of the engine with the light catching on top and leaving the rest in relative shade. Looking back to front towards the open garage door the cockpit was singing to me to be a part of this picture. The contrast between the (relative) filth of an engine versus the elegance of the cockpit made for a great overall composition to show off this machine. And because I know it’s on your mind, if it’s a Ferrari you are allowed to call it a cockpit!


Moving inside, where I was suddenly hyper aware of my expensive, shiny, hand made surroundings, I began to pick out details rather than get the ever-so-tempting wide shot of the lot. That shot, I’m sure, would have been akin to those you see on airplanecockpits.com (which I may have made up, but you know what I mean.) The seatbelt stood out to me as a key feature of this car and as if it was made for me it was adorned with a stitched ‘Rari logo. Once again it came down to perspective. Getting alongside the detail I wanted is the tactic I employed to get it as the guaranteed focus and made the detail stand out at its bottom right trisection. The even light across the photo keeps it very easy on the eye, with just a hint of shadow behind the seatbelt creating enough depth to pick out the feature.

So there we have it, a brief look at some car details. The key pro tip to take from this class is that perspective is paramount. Get down and dirty!

Please do show me your shots and feel free to post any questions over on Facebook or Twitter. All my classes are intended to be no nonsense, no hidden secrets, totally friendly guides to getting your shot. As always, it’s not necessarily the right way but it’s my way!

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