Automotive Photography: Shooting A Moving Car
One of the most fun, and most dangerous shoots I have ever done was shooting a moving vehicle as it sped down the highway. I had briefly covered this in a previous article (here) when discussing how to shoot vehicles as they travel over a distance. But to fully be able to explain how to do this requires it’s own article, not because it is vastly complicated, but because it is very dangerous when not done right. I am not exaggerating when I say that you should not do this unless you are 100% confident in your own skills and abilities. Messing up while doing this can result in severe damage to your equipment or severe injury to yourself. The directions I layout here are not good suggests, so much as requirements for safety.
There are three things you will need to do a shoot like this:
1) You will need two friends who are excellent drivers.
You cannot do this shoot alone, it requires the aid of two other people. Before asking someone to do this you need to be certain of their abilities to drive. Once you start moving you cannot be worrying about the vehicle is driving. One friend will drive the vehicle you are trying to shoot, the other will drive the vehicle you are in. The person who drives the vehicle your shooting needs to be able to react to situations quickly and accurately as they unfold, since he will be your performer.
2) You will need two vehicles.
Obviously one of these vehicles will be the one you are shooting. It is not as important as the second vehicle however. The other vehicle you will need is not very important, but needs to have one important feature: A hatchback. This vehicle needs to have a truck/back door that opens fully. This will allow you to keep the back open without obscuring the view of the driver. Do not use just a regular vehicles truck, as the open trunk will make it harder for the driver to view out the back of the vehicle. Also You will not have as much room to work with, and have a higher risk of getting thrown from the vehicle.
3) You will need a harness system
This is one of the most important steps in doing this shoot. The harness is what is going to keep you in the vehicle, preventing you from falling out. There are several types of harnesses you can use for this, but the important factor is that it is secured around yourself and secured to the interior of the vehicle. There are five point harnesses that you can tie your self down with, but they can be very costly. I used a waist harness that resembled a tie-down cable. Whatever harness you use the important thing is to check the give before you start moving. Secure yourself into the vehicle and make sure that the give on the harness does not allow you to fall out of the back of the vehicle. Make sure you pull pretty hard when your testing this to ensure the harness is secure. It is also a good idea to attach a lead from the harness to your camera in case it gets dropped it will not fall out.