If you own an off-road vehicle or have been on a 4×4 adventure you will know what great fun it is. You can cross amazing uncharted territory and see beautiful scenery, something ordinary road users will never experience. What I love about doing a photo shoot with a 4×4 is that I can really get creative and put the vehicle against some amazing backdrops. Whether it is parked in the middle of a river or in the dunes somewhere I know that a true 4×4 will always see me home.
Firstly, if you are going to take pictures of a 4×4 vehicle off-road somewhere I encourage you to get some off-road driver training. If that is not an option then you should have someone experienced with you.
The easy way to take pictures of off-road vehicles is to take it to a 4×4 adventure facility, but I like the road less travelled. I will show you how to find good locations that look dramatic but isn’t necessarily hard to get to.
If you live close to the mountains take a drive out and find a river, a sand pit or even some rocks. Sometimes these locations can be found just off the side of the road without getting lost in the wild. Put the vehicle in 4×4 mode and reverse up a steep hill until it can’t any more, drive into a shallow river, on top of some rocks or find a sand dune, park it there and take a picture. If you are going to go into a river, I have a cool trick for taking pictures of 4×4′s parked in water. Put the camera on a tripod and take the picture with a slow shutter speed. I usually put the tripod in the water and get the lights of the vehicle to reflect off the water. With a slow shutter speed, the water will have a smooth cloud-like effect.
If you are going to go into the sand make sure to deflate your tyres by 1bar just before you hit the sand or count to 50 while deflating each tyre. This increases the tyre’s footprint. When placing the vehicle for your picture, make sure not to leave any tracks around the vehicle. Try to keep the sand as undisturbed as possible. Be sure to slowly drive straight to the nearest petrol station to inflate your tyres again afterwards.
As long as you have some good scenery in your picture you’re sure to get a money shot. If you think that you might get stuck, ask a friend who owns a Toyota Land Cruiser and a towrope to come along for the drive. If that is not an option bring a spade. The point is to take it easy and have fun. Happy 4x4ing.
Next time we will master the art of close-up car photography.