Follow that car!
1 Frame your shot
Not every position you shoot from will be ideal, especially if you only have a spectator ticket – you’ll be crowded in with many other people, fighting for space. If you find your view is obstructed, use it creatively. Frame the cars with bushes and trees to put focus on the vehicles.
2 Capture the dust
As the cars drift around corners they’ll kick up dirt, gravel and water. And whatever the track conditions, plumes of smoke will billow up in places. Find a corner where the dust is visible and shoot that corner, making sure your composition emphasises the smoky, dusty atmosphere.
3 Nail a wheelie
Depending on the track you visit, there may be jumps or tight corners. Some daring drivers can give you some dramatic photos. Crouching or even lying down low will help you to show the gap between the tyres and the road, and will make it seem like the car is higher off the ground.
4 Pan for gold
Panning while shooting creates a sense of movement, keeping the car sharp and in focus and the background blurred. To do this use a slow shutter (turn on VR and mount your Nikon on a monopod) and use a narrow aperture of f/8 or f/11 to maximise sharpness on the car.
5 Tilt and zoom
To add dynamism to your shots, tilt the camera. The more extreme the angle the more dynamic it’ll look, but you’ll also need a car to be doing something dramatic. The VW here drifts around the first corner and narrowly misses the bollard that marks the apex of the turn.
6 Dish the dirt
As the cars come to the end of a rally stage you’ll notice mud and grass lodged in car parts and damage to the vehicles. Capturing these details helps to convey the lengths that the drivers go to in order to achieve pole position, as every fraction of a second counts.