I’m frequently inundated with questions (not really) asking how I go about choosing and editing my shots; and more importantly how I hunt down the incredible machines which I photograph. Different photographic and spotting methods and techniques have been discovered or learnt by myself over the months that I have been doing this. The hardware and software I use have improved significantly since I began and since I have become much more serious and passionate about what I do. In the beginning I would take pictures on my phone of whatever I happened to come across, throw an awful filter on it and upload it to Instagram.
Since then I have come a long way, learning how to take better photos, and where to find better cars.
I now use a DSRL camera (Nikon D610) and shoot in RAW format and edit my photos in Adobe Photoshop. Photos rarely come straight out of the camera how you imagined then, and for that reason its necessary to correct and touch up shots to make sure they show the beautiful cars in all of their glory. Sometimes I even look to ‘improve’ the colour of the car. An example of which is below.
As you can see I’ve changed the colour of the car from yellow to white. Yellow is quite a common colour for the P1, I think white looks a bit better. This took a bit of time in Lightroom and Photoshop. I’ve also adjusted the tone and colour of the picture as a whole, as well as some other subtle adjustments. In the second pair, the unedited photo on the left a couple and doorman ruin the clean look of the car in the background. For this reason I chose to edit them out in Photoshop, as you will hopefully notice in the right hand photo. In addition to this I have made a few minor adjustments to the colour and lighting.
Okay so now you know how to take and edit a photo (because I’m sure that brief guide left no questions to be asked), but where do you find cars to take photos of? London has more billionaires than any other city in the world, and that directly effects the ‘quality’ of the traffic on its streets. Obviously a car has the ability to move meaning you could see pretty much anything, anywhere; however the maps below will give you a quick guide as to where you are almost guaranteed to see the latest Ferrari or Lamborghini long before you’ve even seen it on shows such as Top Gear (oh wait… :/). Should you be interested I hope this guide helps you whilst car spotting.
Key: (note: London is an ever changing city, hence this guide isn’t necessarily up to date, however, will be roughly correct.)
- Bond Street: Both New and Old Bond Street, particularly during the summer time are lined with exotic cars, whose owners are attracted to the high end designer shops which make the street famous. In the evenings supercars are also often found outside the shisha bars on Blenheim Street, just off New Bond Street.
- Q Park, Park Lane: This underground car park, accessed from Hyde Park or Park Lane is home to Posh Wash, a high end car washers; and Siyara, a car wrapping company. Both regularly see amazing and unique cars; however it should be noted that this is a private car park, if you are respectful and not disruptive you should be able to look around without being troubled.
- Grosvenor House Hotel: Popular with the rich and famous, with rooms available for thousands of pounds per night, it is not uncommon to see amazing cars parked in the hotel forecourt. In recent years the hotel doormen have become wary of none residents entering the forecourt; however if you are polite and discrete you may not find any issues.
- Mount Street/Mount Row: In the center of Mayfair, with many high end restaurants and designers situated on it, as well as a former residences of Sir Winston Churchill, Mount Street is frequently graced with Ferraris or McLarens, or any powerful and/or expensive car for that matter. Mount Row just to the north is where J.D. Classics, a classic car dealer, is located. Rare and valuable cars are on display and able to be seen here 7 days a week.
- Berkeley Square: Home to Bentley, Rolls Royce and Porsche dealerships, Berkeley Square often has amazing cars, parked around or driving through it particularly in the day time.
- The Dorchester Hotel: This five star hotel is famous for the amazing line ups of supercars that it regularly is home to. Its carpark rivals any supercar dealership, and particularly in the summer is crowded with millions of pounds of automotive engineering usually belonging to visitors from the Middle East.
- Curzon Street: Curzon Street is home to the offices of billionaire James Stunt, son in law of F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone. This results in regular convoys of cars comprised of custom tuned Lamborghinis, Rolls Royces, Bentleys and Range Rovers that the business man considers necessary for his safety and security.
- Intercontinental Hotel: Another of London’s most luxurious hotels, the Intercontinental, more reliably in the summer, much like the Dorchester, is flooded with exotic cars from the Middle East.
- The Berkeley Hotel: Again catering to the rich and famous, the Berkeley Hotel, with two parking areas, one at the side and one at the back, often features rows of Ferraris each owned by a different rock star or Sheikh often in competition to have the most outrageous chrome wrap or aftermarket body kit on their already ridiculous yet amazing cars.
- Park Tower Hotel: This hotel is a similar story to the Dorchester. A large parking area, which during the summer will be home to 10-15 supercars, many costing at least £1,000,000, and almost certainly from the Middle East.
- Q Park Knightbridge: This car park is home to a detailing a car washing company, which on a daily basis, all times of the year has some of the rarest and most expensive cars imaginable, many of which wouldn’t be out of place in a museum. However again I should remind you that this is a private car park and car wash and I recommend you go after 6PM to avoid conflict.
- Bulgari Hotel/McLaren London: This exclusive hotel in Knightbridge has seen gold chrome Lamborghinis and combos of 4 Bugatti Veyrons outside of it, and is always worth a visit. The McLaren Dealership just across the road from it supports the previous statement.
- Sloane Street: Sloane Street speaks for itself. In the evenings and weekends it is essentially a race track. Lamborghinis have caught fire revving too hard on this street. It is the heart of London supercar spotting and spending just five minutes there guarantees seeing something amazing and probably illegal.
- Harrods: Harrods is probably the only location to beat Sloane Street in London for car spotting. Harrods is almost certainly the supercar center of the world. In the summer you cannot move for the rows of the most expensive and fastest cars packed outside of Harrods, almost all from the Middle East. A warm Saturday in Summer (not during Ramadan) outside Harrods will allow you too see more money drive past that you will ever own in you life, over and over again.
- Beauchamp Place: Lined with restaurants and shisha bars, and a key route towards Harrods, this street often sees amazing cars parked up, or driving through. Just a few minutes walk from Harrods, it’s worth a visit.
- Cadogan Place Car Park: There is no car wash or wrapping company here, however this NCP car park still manages to attract the likes of the Ferrari F40, Porsche Carrera GT and Lamborghini Aventador all year round. My warning about entering a private car park stands for this one also.
- Lamborghini London: Lamborghini dealership in London, enough said. Be sure to visit the Maserati dealership just behind it to the right also.
- H.R. Owen Ferrari: At this Ferrari dealership currently resides a Ferrari F40, F50 and 288 GTO. That’s at least £5 million of rareness. Check them out.
As I mentioned this guide isn’t definitive. Some locations on some days will have nothing, and around the corner at somewhere I didn’t mention will have 36 McLaren F1s or something, so keep your eyes and ears open. Good luck!