Road Trip Photography

South Africa is a fantastic country for holiday trips regardless of the distance you’re travelling. Whether you’re going for a short weekend break or driving further away from home, there is abundance in the variety and diversity of things to see before your eyes.Muster up your observation skills and turn these moments into photographic opportunities.

Taking Photos From a Moving Car


Firstly, we do need to mention that it is not wise to try and take photos from a moving car if you are the one driving. However, it is possible to do so with a few hacks to a camera, but this does away with most of the control of the shot and the entertainment factor.  


Use these tips only if you are a passenger in the vehicle. The basic things to remember is to hold your camera as steadily as possible, get as close to the windscreen or window as you can, and be ready for action.


Photographic Tips


Shutter speed

Whether you’re using a SLR or point-and-click camera, shutter speed is key. It’s the one aspect you do have control over. This helps avoid motion blur to achieve the sharpest. On your camera setting it will typically be indicated as ‘S’ (Nikon) or ‘Tv’(Canon), or if you have it on manual then adjust it to 1/1000th –1/250th of a second.


Set the camera f-stop to automatic. In a moving car, there’s no time to make adjustments to ISO levels.


Even while moving you need to think about composing your shot so that it looks as professional as can be.This means splitting your photo into thirds in your mind’s eye. Imagine a grid with nine squares, three across and three down - as our photograph above by Robert Pastryk so nicely illustrates.

Light and Contrast

As any amateur photographer will tell you, the best time of the day to shoot outdoor photographs is at dawn and at dusk. This is when the light is just right to give your photos great contrast and colour. Midday is the worst time because too much light just flattens out your images, taking away all the interesting shades and tones that you’d ideally want to capture. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should forego those interesting subjects, but setting your camera to under expose slightly can help deal with this challenge.

Read the Landscape

It’s a lot more difficult in a moving vehicle to get all the elements of composition, light, and speed working in one shot. You have very little time to react, but by reading the landscape and anticipating what might be coming you’ll begin to improve your shots.


Taking photographs from a moving car is an art in itself and the more you practice, the better you’ll get at it. Who knows, something that started off as an entertainment factor while road tripping could turn into a hobby. So have fun, drive safely, and happy holidays!


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