©David Masemore

Need for Speed

Car enthusiast and commercial photographer David Masemore fell in love with the speed, emotion, and drama of motorsports in college, honing his photography skills at events in Daytona, Florida, and Atlanta, Georgia. Now he gets paid to make photos for car manufacturers at those and other events.

His tips for motorsports photography:

Convey speed. He might use a higher shutter speed as a driver makes a turn, catching the car in mid-air, or a slower shutter speed with a wide plane to capture the feeling of an entire scene.

Stay in shape. Races can run as long as 24 hours, and if he’s working for a manufacturer, there are additional hours of press photos before the start. To keep his energy up during a 36-hour shift, Masemore fuels himself with Clif Bars and Gatorade. Playing tennis and going to the gym regularly boosts his stamina and makes it easy for him to break into a sprint for a pivotal shot. 

Track favorite images on the fly. Manufacturers often expect a one-day turnaround, so he star-rates his best photos on his Canon as he goes. He can easily drop them into Lightroom and send them off to the client when he’s finished with a session. 

Prepare for weather. Races take place rain or shine, so he always brings rain gear and an equipment cover.

Renting is a good option. The lenses in Masemore’s advertising kit usually don’t cover all the focal lengths needed for race day photography, so he rents the appropriate gear, plus a rain cover. “It’s a great way to not break the bank and still get the shots you need.”

Learn from the best. Like sports photography, motorsports photography mastery is experienced-based, he says. He networks with seasoned photographers at the races to get tips and learn from their experience.  

Amanda Arnold is a senior editor.