Tackling drive by photography

fine art nature photograph by online photography workshop instructor Elle Walker

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!

landscape photography tutorial by Elle Walker

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.

black and white travel photography by Elle Walker

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.

black and white drive by photography in Australia by Elle Walker

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.

black and white landscape photography by Elle Walker

drive by photography in Australia by Elle Walker

travel iPhoneography by Elle Walker

Australian photographer and online fine art photography workshop instructor Elle WalkerElle Walker, Australia
Click Photo School Instructor | CM Mentor
website | facebook | pinterest
Lover of everything outdoorsy including horse riding, wakeboarding, 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. Elle is the instructor for CPS’s Fine Art and Visual Expression and The Art of Portraiture workshops and describes 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 three children when she’s not divulging in skinny, double shot lattes and her Yaya’s quince paste.

Read all photography tutorials by Elle Walker.


  • goodetribe says:

    Great post and tips, Elle!

  • Janelle says:

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

  • outsideoslo says:

    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

  • Ash says:

    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

  • image masking says:

    Great photographs collection and wonderful tips !!

  • Liz says:

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

  • Becky says:

    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!

  • 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!

  • jodi says:

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

  • 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.

  • Adele Humphries says:

    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! :)

  • Nina says:

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

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