I enjoy taking photos at car shows, but not because of the awesome shots you can get. The truth is, it’s the car that usually makes the photo, not the photographer. I enjoy a great looking car as much as the next guy and if done right, you don’t need a great sunset in the background or other additive to enhance the shot, just a sharp, beautiful car. Sure, there are some technical challenges to overcome like glare, reflections, bad light and such. But the biggest challenges have nothing to do with the car. Instead they are the visitors and the car owners themselves. Since most car owners want their cars to be photographed, here is a short list of car show etiquette that can help make that happen.

Visitors pretend like they don’t see your camera and tripod and will walk right in front of you and stand there; a long time. Then you move and they follow you. We have to sit there patiently waiting and try not to be rude and say anything. We understand they have every right to be there too, but when we are set up and ready to fire, give us just one more moment please.

Then there are the car owners that bring the extended-stay hotel with them. They set up lawn chairs, portable tents and even grills behind the cars and camp out all day long. I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing that excites me more than a car photo with everyone hanging around behind it drinking beer and chomping on a BBQ rib. 

These days, most car owners want to swing the trunk and hood up, ruining the lines of the car, as if everyone wants to see their chrome air cleaner.

And please, don’t lay out every trophy or plaque in front as if to say, look at my awards. We didn’t come to see the awards, we came to see the cars.

Some people set up cute little gas cans, models or period items around their cars. Blah. Leave the awards and do-dads at home. We came to see the cars.

Following these simple suggestions increase the odds of a quality photo and possibly getting published somewhere  The owner of this Dart Swinger did it right. Gene has a beautiful car that speaks volumes without anything to distract you from the gem it is.