Photographing R/C cars: Tips and Tricks (Part-1)

HPI Baja 5t at Hostile Bajafest 2010

Is your HPI baja 5b or 5sc your baby? Do you want to share with the world your hard work and effort you put into your Large Scale car or truck?

This will be a series of posts that will give tips and tricks for taking great photos of your radio control cars and trucks. We will cover everything from using cell phone cameras to smaller point and shoot cameras to full DSLR’s. We will cover everything from framing the shot to lighting to equipment.

We hope you enjoy these posts and that the tips help you capture your pride and joy.

Background- Watch your backgrounds, keep them as clean as possible. Especially if you’re just taking a beauty photo of your car or truck. Bring it outside, nothing kills me more than seeing an RC car in someone’s kitchen or on their bed. I don’t want to see a grown man’s Superman bedspread when checking out their baja.

When on location at an event, you can see I tried to get the banner in the background- so you know who’s track you’re at or who the track sponsors are.


Standing and getting the shot from 5 feet above the ground is too typical-like everyone else’s. Here is a standard high position shot.

HPI Baja 5b VW at TeamChase

Now look what happens when you get LOW! It brings you into the action and also can make the image appear to be more like a real car because your at eye-level to its scale.

Also note the tight crop, keeping the focus on the car only. Putting the car to one side of the image gives the impression that it’s leaving the frame. That’s called the “rule of thirds and the idea is to keep the subject away from the center of the frame. Imagine the frame broken up into thirds (with lines vertically and horizontally), you would want to keep your focal point where any of those lines cross.

HPI Baja 5b VW at TeamChase

You can get HIGH too…but make it interesting. For example, this great shot from the driver’s stand.  Also note this is a PANORAMIC, that was stitched together from a dozen or more images.  More on that in the coming episodes…

TeamChase Baja Track-Driver Stand View

More is Better. Include more than just one car. Tell a story with your image and show that you’re at a race and get the shot of them battling it out for first…..or last…

Late Models Racing at hostile bajafest 2010

We hope you have fun with these tips and tricks and stay tuned for Part 2 coming soon.

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7 thoughts on “Photographing R/C cars: Tips and Tricks (Part-1)”

  1. Perfect fools guide to photographing 1:5 beasts. I’ll tug in all that’s here, translate it to Turkish and post it on our site IF YOU’D LET US 🙂
    Thanks once again and anyhow on taking such a mystery subject and putting it under direct focus!

  2. Your welcome Kaan. I am glad you enjoyed it and YES, you’re welcome to re-post this in your forum. Please post a link to it here when your done.

    1. Hi Julian

      I am going to get deeper into that in the next post. It really depends on what type of shot you’re looking to get. One with the wheels and dirt frozen or one with them blurred with motion will be two totally different shutter speeds. How far you are from them you are and how fast they are going will change that too. More details soon. But with RCX coming up part 2 will have to come later in March.

      Mark Hull

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