Shoot Razor Sharp Images From Your Car!

A car makes a fantastic blind and often allows you to approach wildlife at a much closer range than you can ever dream of on foot.

However, the excitement many photographers feel when they capture an amazing image is quickly replaced by disappointment when closely examining their photos. Too often, pictures taken from a car don’t display the same level of sharpness as images where no vehicle is involved.

In this video, we’ll cover tons of tips for getting razor-sharp images when you shoot from the car. Most photographers are guilty of at least a few of the mistakes we’ll discuss in this video.

Check it out – seven minutes from now, you’ll know everything you need to get razor-sharp images from your car!

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I’ve had a few people ask about the wrap I’m using on my lens – it’s actually one of those self-adhesive / pressure tapes they use at the hospital. It’s non-sticky, dries fast, and is easily removed. Here’s the link.

PS – If you enjoyed this post, I think you’ll REALLY like my e-books and video workshops! Thousands of pages and hours of videos filled with tips, tricks, and techniques – all my best content! Check ’em out – click here (hey, it’s free to look).

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This entry was posted in Techniques, Using Your Gear, Wildlife.

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Gilbert RollandSteve PerryAlan KishLynn R CassellGovind Recent comment authors
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Gilbert Rolland
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Gilbert Rolland

Hi Steve, very glad to see you well. My D500 is dead… I like to shoot wildlife and like very much shooting Bird in flight. My F mount lens are Nikkor 500mm FP, 200-500mm, 70-200mm f2.8, Tamron 24-70mm. I have a D810 for landscape photography. I still have my old D7200 for backup. What will be your suggestions for a new camera? Some rumours indicated that Nikon may release 2 DSLR in 2021… Thank yo very much for your help.

Alan Kish
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Alan Kish

Steve – good to see you ! Thanks again for the tips, I especially liked the pipe insulation suggestion. I’m aware of heat distortion but never thought of it in connection with shooting from my auto. Thanks again for your great videos and tips – glad you are feeling better.

Lynn R Cassell
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Lynn R Cassell

thanks for all the tips Steve!

Govind
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Govind

WOW! this really helps. Thanks Steve. Hope you are now fully recovered and doing well. Bless you

Winston Shaw
Guest

As usual some valuable hints! I use the pipe insulation for all sorts of non pipe insulating jobs but I’d never thought to use it for this…thanks!

Rich Cower
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Rich Cower

Great to see you back. Really like that foam window rest idea, much easier to carry than the bag thing full of rice I’ve been using.

Rich Cower
Guest
Rich Cower

Great to see you back! Like that foam on the window, more handy than that bag thing full of rice I’ve beenusing.

Bill Overton
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Bill Overton

One thing I didn’t see mentioned, although it should be common sense, is to shut off the radio. Many cars today leave the 800 watt sound systems on until you shut them off or open the door. Aside from the noise, they create a lot of vibration.

Sharron
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Sharron

Thanks, Steve! Great tips! I periodically shoot from my car and look forward to using your suggestions. Glad to see that you are well on your way to recovery.

Dennis Wert
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Dennis Wert

Thanks for the tips and great presentation. It appears you are well into recovery, glad to see you back in action!

Ralph Smith
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Ralph Smith

Sony?? Just received my alpha 1 and 100-400 lens. Am struggling through the initial set up for Portraits, Action (bid) and Landscape. Any suggestions for BIF (small and medium)?

David Sneddon
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David Sneddon

Absolutely brilliant to see you back in harness Steve and as always so on point with your advice. Be safe and keep getting better my friend.

Roger
Guest

Great advice once again Steve. Many thanks. Hope you are on the mend from that nasty COVID!

Mike
Guest
Mike

Great advice Steve. Think I’ve wrecked shots shooting from an air con car in Africa. What is your advice on when NOT to use OIS. Such as what is the correct shutter speed to shut it off. I know enough to turn it off when mounted on the tripod but I keep hearing about high shutter speeds and OIS not getting along.

Gary Worrall
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Gary Worrall

Hi Steve
Great to see you up and about
Been using that rest for some time now, (saw it in one of your other vids, except mine is a pool noodle)
As you would be aware, is Australia, we drive on the lefthand side of the road and steering wheel is on the R/H side
A L/H drive vehicle here would be ideal 🙂
I have trouble shooting outside the R/H window
……….. Gary
AU

Wayne Evans
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Wayne Evans

Gary Worrall, Same here, I have much more trouble shooting out of a right hand drive vehicle. Maybe because I’m left eye dominate.

Bob Timmel
Guest

Another well done and useful video! I was pleasantly surprised to see that you have also discovered pipe insulation for the car window support. Although we live in Oregon, my wife and I will be making our 5th trip to Kruger Park in South Africa this September – our favorite place. All photos we take there must be taken from inside our rental car. Over the years we have noticed that we can almost never get sharp photos, even with stationary wildlife, when shooting from the drivers side through the passenger window or visa versa. It seems like some kind… Read more »

Patrick Zalewski
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Patrick Zalewski

That was a great video and I will have to give it a go . I never taken photos from the car

Gilles Naud
Guest

As usual, Steve: makes sense, to the point, plenty of ideas, impeccable delivery – what more can we ask? Tks and take good care!

Bernie Kravitz
Guest
Bernie Kravitz

Steve this video helped me get sharper images the the Nikon 500 mm PF … never though about the heat impact.
Thanks again your videos and books are wonderful and extremely helpful.

JOHN STANLEY
Guest
JOHN STANLEY

Steve, I was very impressed with your video about shooting from a car. The issue about heat distortion never occurred to me and may be the answer to some of my “soft” pictures, but more the case it is probably the accumulations of all that you mentioned in the video. My hat is off to you, I have tried shooting out my sun roof when I couldn’t get my car in an advantages position. It was hard to get into a comfortable stance and hold the camera steady. The only reason I even attempted this was to use the car… Read more »

Craig Thompson
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Craig Thompson

Suggestions for shooting out the right side from driver’s side or out of the back seat? Shooting from the driver’s seat through the passenger window has been a challenge at times especially if the car is not on the level. I’ve seen others put in a support from the dash to passenger seat, often just a board. Often, I’ll get my wife to drive, I’ll sit in the back so I can shoot out of either window but in many vehicles the back windows do not roll down all the way due to the back wheel wells, so some times… Read more »

Jeff Neville
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Jeff Neville

I enjoyed the video, simple things that you usually forget. Pipe insulation a great cheap alternative to a bean bag, great idea. I had to laugh a bit, I live in SC which typically has trenches on each side of the road for handling water /flooding issues so there are few places to pull over without being in a trench. May need a video on how to get out of a trench!

Rankeya Datta
Guest
Rankeya Datta

Dear Steve, What tape are you using to cover up your Sony 600 mm F4? It’s clear it is not a cover
like a lens coat (and probably cheaper too). I really like the pattern on it.

Thank you!

David Bennett
Guest

I would never have thought of the hood of the car producing heat haze. Good tip.

Dennie Mann
Guest

Great tips concerning shooting from a vehicle.

Richard Duckworth
Guest
Richard Duckworth

Great tips, as always, Steve. Many thanks

Karl Schneck
Guest
Karl Schneck

Another point to consider if you are getting out of the car is to shut the car door softly rather than with a loud noise that might scare away the subject. And I wonder if I can get my money back for the bean bag I bought and get some of that pipe insulation? 🙂

RDD
Guest
RDD

Another great video Steve. Thanks for the great information.

Thom
Guest
Thom

This is really great, practical information. You’d think it would be sort of common sense but so often in the excitement of the moment common sense goes out the window, so to speak. Thanks, Steve!

Mike D.
Guest
Mike D.

Great info on car shooting and do you have a recommendation for the bean bag when the arm rest doesn’t have an opening for the strap to secure the bean bag? Also, are you testing or changing to Sony gear? How was the A1 compared to the Nikon mirrorless or do we need to wait for Z9 for a better comparison?

Great video and always look forward to your information!

Richard Cohen
Guest
Richard Cohen

Interesting video as always Steve. One point I had was that you recommend getting away from the car if you can. The only issue I see with that is that you lose the car as a ‘blind’ when you expose yourself that way. Yes you avoid heat distortion, but you may also be more likely to scare the animal away than if you use the car as a blind by standing behind it. I loved your pipe insulation tip! I have a beanbag that works well sometimes, but is not as easy to use as that little piece of insulation.… Read more »

Joe Schmitt
Guest
Joe Schmitt

Very useful tips as usual! Thanks Steve.

David Bennett
Guest

Sony. You are shooting with a Sony. How are you finding it? How does it compare? / Thanks