August 21, 2017 3 min read

Tips to capturing the moment at an Autocross or Drift event

Autocross and drift racing events offer an enticing opportunity to capture captivating photographs of hot wheels in motion. So, how exactly do you photograph the excitement and beauty of these events? How do you artistically capture a driver’s incredible view of the action, without producing blurry photographs or damaging your photography equipment?

To help you get up to speed, we’ve listed some useful tips and helpful resources.

Capture the Crowds

When you mix people and cars together, you are bound to capture some interesting crowd photographs before, during, and after the event. For photographing pre-event and post-event photographs, a DSLR camera sporting a 50 mm prime lens is a good option. Most people tend to grab a zoom lens to photograph events, but if you must choose between a zoom lens and a prime lens, go for the prime. A prime lens will force you to mingle and get closer to your subjects. They’re also faster and perfect for capturing a low-light situation, should one arise. Set your camera’s image file format setting to capture RAW + JPG mode, to allow for greater editing flexibility.

A good option for capturing behind-the-scenes event photographs is a smartphone camera. Today, clip-on fisheye and wide-angle smartphone lenses are easily available, and smartphones are lightweight and easy to carry. Just be sure that your smartphone’s lens is clean—you are always only one finger smudge away from a ruined photograph.  

Freezing Motion with an Action Camera

One of the main challenges associated with photographing drift racing and auto cross racing is mounting your GoPro, smartphone, or action camera correctly, and protecting it from damage. First, of course, you will need to purchase a secure professional grade camera mount, such as the sturdy mounts available in the Tackform Enduro Series. With options such as a Roll Bar Mount for GoPro, Headrest, and Suction Cup Option for your GoPro.

After purchasing your race mounting equipment, you’ll need to experiment and research pointers on where to mount your camera to get the best angles for motion shots. A useful video for this purpose can be viewed at GoPro Car Mounting Tips.

Also, while it’s nice to have fancy photography equipment and expensive gadgets, bear in mind: “It’s the Indian, not the arrow.”

The best equipment in the wrong hands won’t capture great photographs, while the simplest equipment (like an iPhone’s camera) can capture amazing photographs when it is placed in capable hands.

Below, are basic tips to refine your technique.

  1. Study hundreds of drift racing and autocross photographs to get creative ideas for capturing your own photographs.
  2. Read autocross and drift racing articles on photography sites. These articles are valuable because they offer tips specifically related to the unique challenge of capturing photographs of cars in motion.
  3. To kick your photography skills up to the next level, consider taking a sports photography course at a local college or enroll in an online photography course.

Most of all, have fun with your camera and don’t expect to take perfect photographs all the time. Professional photographers take multiple captures in every situation, so be sure to do the same.

Do you have autocross or drift racing photography tips to share? We’d love to hear them!


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