ON LOCATION NO NEED FOR SPEED
A slow-moving car can be used to create stunning motion blur
01 SUCTION STAND
A suction stand enables us to attach the camera to the car window. This small arm with a tripod-like head sticks to the window to create a firm bond capable of holding a heavy camera. Ensure that the stand will hold the camera before setting off, and hang the strap around the wing mirror.
04 CHOOSE A QUIET SPOT
Shoot somewhere safe and quiet – like an empty car park – and look for places with colourful lights nearby (the purple streaks in our image were from a pub with uplights). If possible, connect your camera and phone with Wi-fi to check the reflections, but don’t use your phone while driving.
02 CAMERA SETTINGS
Our camera is in Manual mode here with shutter speed at 4 seconds, an aperture of f/18 and at ISO1600. The 4-second exposure transforms the surrounding lights and details into motion blur. The narrow aperture ensures plenty of depth of field in the car and subject.
05 DRIVE SLOW
The car doesn’t need to be moving fast to create an impression of speed. We barely did more than 5mph, while turning through 90 degrees to add a circular curve to the blur. Cars vibrate a lot, especially when the engine is on. If vibration is ruining the shot, try rolling the car with the engine off.
03 PREPARE THE CAR
For the face to be sharp we need to keep the car as dark as possible, so that the only light falling on the face comes from the flash. All interior lights need to be off, and ideally try to keep any streetlights shining from outside to a minimum. Give the window a wipe clean before you begin.
06 USE AN OFF-CAMERA FLASH
A pop of flash will help to freeze your subject while the surroundings blur. Off-camera flash is best – try setting up a Speedlite or portable flash in the car and then use a wireless trigger attached to the camera to fire the flash. Our Godox AD300PRO flashgun was at 1/128th power.