tackling drive by photography

by Elle Walker

tackling drive by photography photo

The majority of the time, I’m a big believer in story telling and waiting for those special ‘in between’ moments to occur.  I love to capture the little details and am more than content to just watch and wait for a story to unfold.  Sometimes, however, for whatever the reason, it just feels like there isn’t enough time in the day and it seems the older my kiddos get the more time we seem to spend in the car, heading out to various sporting and play dates.

Trips in the car with young kids (in our car at least!) usually involve some version of ‘Mum Karaoke’ (I won’t be winning any awards there by the way!), games of ‘eye-spy’, ‘twenty guesses’, and general refereeing of the back seat banter with not much time left for gazing out the window.

Trips in the car without kids are few and far between and more often than not, include just me and the radio on the way to work.  And then there’s those rare moments when there’s another adult in the car with you and you don’t have to drive!  Of course at times like this there’s still lots to talk about but thankfully us ladies are fabulous at multitasking.

Unfortunately, not every trip allows for those ‘random photographer stops’ but as soon as I’m in the passenger seat I love to try and capture some of that beauty on the go!

tackling drive by photography photo

Approaches to Drive By Photography:

The two main feelings that can be conveyed through drive-by photography are basically those that look like drive-by images and those that don’t.

Images that look like drive by images:

  • May incorporate the use of slow shutter speeds, and some sort of element of motion blur.
  • These images may also include part of the car, adding to the contextual information available to the viewer.
  • Crops may be more ‘artistic’ and include fragments of objects/scenes.

tackling drive by photography photo

Images that don’t look like drive by images:

  • Shutter speed will generally be effective in freezing motion.
  • Composition may appear more thoughtful and deliberate.
  • No evidence of the interior of the car will be present.

tackling drive by photography photo

Drive by Photography is not only a fun tool to keep you entertained on long car trips, it can be a fantastic way to capture the feeling of leaving a place behind – or of new beginnings. Some even argue that psychologically, drive by photography can be almost meditative in terms of letting go of expectations and being open to endless possibilities. Whatever your motivations, it’s worth a try.

tackling drive by photography photo

tackling drive by photography photo

tackling drive by photography photo

Thank you for sharing with us Elle!  Have you ever tried Drive by Photography?  We’d love to hear any tips or tricks you might have!

tackling drive by photography photoElle Walker, Australia
CM Mentor
Blog | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Ask a Pro
Lover of everything outdoorsy including horse riding, wake boarding, snowboarding, and sunshine, Elle has a passion for capturing unposed, natural, emotive, timeless, and often moody in between moments with her Nikon D700, prime lenses, and a lensbaby composer.  Describing her photography history she says, “My Pop had a love for macro and landscape photography, and used to spend hours with me in the garden, teaching me how to focus, or compose an image. As a child, I always loved art – but while drawing was what came naturally to most of my family, photography was my passion.”  She also enjoys exploring and laughing with her husband and two children when she’s not divulging in skinny, double shot lattes and her Yaya’s quince paste.

Read all tutorials by Elle Walker.


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

13 Responses to “tackling drive by photography”

  1. goodetribe
    Sep 28 2012 at 11:44 am #

    Great post and tips, Elle!

  2. Janelle
    Sep 28 2012 at 11:58 am #

    Loved this. Going out to do some drive by photos right now.

  3. outsideoslo
    Sep 28 2012 at 1:34 pm #

    What a fun post! I love doing the same thing. It helps create fun memories of the drive, as well as some interesting shots!

    I recently documented an experience from over the summer: http://wanderlustandlipstick.com/blogs/theflyings

  4. Ash
    Sep 28 2012 at 9:01 pm #

    Great work, Elle! I think it’s about time your printed some of your work to put on display instead of it living in your computer. X

  5. image masking
    Sep 29 2012 at 6:33 am #

    Great photographs collection and wonderful tips !!

  6. Sep 29 2012 at 1:11 pm #

    Love this post! Thanks for the great posts, now I just need a road trip to test it out on!

  7. Becky
    Oct 02 2012 at 8:12 pm #

    Loved this post! I am currently on road trip home from Alaska. It is just not possible to stop everywhere there is great scenery. My husband has dubbed me the "windshield photographer"! Thanks for the tips!

  8. Oct 03 2012 at 8:22 am #

    My husband and I live in China and we have a three-wheel motorcycle here for quick errands and getting around. During the week I drive with my kid strapped down in the back with a bungee cord (hey, when living in a foreign country you do what you gotta do) but on weekends my husband drives and I get to sit in the back and take in the sights. I love bringing my camera along because I get photos of our daily life, things that are just normal here, but not things I would purposely go out to shoot. They are fun photos to share with family and friends back home and will be great keepsakes to look back on our time here.

    Thanks for sharing this!

  9. Oct 05 2012 at 10:18 am #

    thanks for the great tips… i see a roadtrip in my future!

  10. Oct 15 2012 at 11:51 pm #

    Aw, this was a really good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to create a superb article… but what can I say… I hesitate a lot and don’t manage to get nearly anything done.

  11. Adele Humphries
    Oct 22 2012 at 11:23 am #

    Really inspiring article Elle. I’ve not considered drive-by photography this way before. My efforts thus far have been pretty dire but you have inspired me to give this another go! :)

  12. Dec 26 2012 at 5:07 pm #

    than you for these! i really ought to do this more often!


  1. 5 tips for taking amazing photos from the passenger seat -Clickin Moms - Apr 30 2014

    […] free to gape outside the window, absorbing my surroundings. When I first read Elle Walker’s drive-by photography tutorial here on CM blog, I was amazed at how much she’s been able to capture without leaving her car. […]

Leave a Reply

Optionally add an image (JPEG only)