Red Sports Car with a sunset behind it

A guide to capturing life in the fast lane

Snap, crackle, road trip!

Story by Jordan Matthis

Let’s hit the road, Jack. Or Jill, or Bob, or whoever else is reading this. As we buckle up for another grand car adventure filled with breathtaking views and unexpected encounters with squirrels modeling for National Geographic, we have a mission. Our families will no doubt demand, “Take a picture! Take a picture!” as if we’re on some secret mission to document Bigfoot’s existence. But fear not, because what follows is a handy guide to snapping those once-in-a-lifetime, car seat photographic masterpieces. Here’s how to make the most of this mobile photographic escapade.

Choose the right location

Look for scenic routes that will blow your social media followers’ minds or make your grandma put down her knitting in awe. It’s all about those “likes” and those uninterrupted views of nature’s splendor (and maybe a Bigfoot sighting). Some of the South’s best scenic drives include the Blue Ridge Parkway (Virginia, North Carolina), Pisgah National Forest (North Carolina), Ozark National Forest (Arkansas), Natchez Trace Parkway (Mississippi) and the Overseas Highway (Florida). 

Autumn roads in Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina, USA.

Safety first

Don’t be that person who takes photos while driving. You’re capturing memories, not disaster reels. Let your responsible friend drive, or pull over and don’t be afraid to ask a sheep for directions.

Wiping car window with drying blade outdoors, closeup

Clean windows

You wouldn’t want a smudge ruining that epic sunset, would you? It’s like a blob of mustard on a hot dog of perfection. Keep those windows clean!

Shoot in manual mode whenever possible

This isn’t just for professionals and tech wizards. Go wild, be brave, adjust some camera settings. Your inner Leibovitz is calling.

Mode dial on my Canon 6D camera, set to manual mode

Use the gridlines

Line up those shots like a pro golfer lines up putts. Just remember, a hole-in-one here means “likes” galore.

Minimize reflections

To avoid those ghostly images of your dashboard hula dancer haunting every shot, it’s crucial to minimize reflections. One effective method is to use dark cloths, which can significantly help in achieving this. 

A car shot in motion

Capture motion

Show the world how fast that turtle crossed the road. Play with shutter speeds, and let the action come alive.

Look for leading lines

Let the road guide your viewer’s eyes. If they get lost, well, they were probably looking at their phones anyway.

This photo is of a car with a hula dancer on its dashboard.

Experiment with angles

Get funky, get fresh, and snap those shots from places never before seen. Just don’t drop your phone out the window.

Embrace changing light

Sunrises, sunsets and that magic moment when the streetlights flicker on. It’s all car-seat photography gold. 

Sunrise in Islamorada, Florida keys with orange colorful sky by overseas highway road bridge at Gulf of Mexico with clouds in cloudy sky


Think of this as adding the cherry on top of the sundae of your photographic masterpiece. A little tweak here, a little adjustment there, and voila!

So grab your cameras, smartphones or whatever new-fangled gadgets you’ve got, and embrace the adventure. Remember, car photography is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get. So let those landscapes inspire you, and may your next road trip be filled with laughter, fun and photos that will make even Bigfoot want to pose for you. Happy snapping!

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