Want To Break Into Racing Photography? Be Like Larry Chen

Larry Chen is like a rock star in car circles. He and I were at the sixth-gen Camaro long lead a few years ago and some young GM engineers came up wanting to know if I was with Larry. When they found out they rushed over to him. You could see in their eyes it was like talking to one of the Beatles. Or LeBron James. Larry is known all over the world for his racing photography and videos. So you want to break into racing photography? Be like Larry Chen.

Larry Chen travels the world photographing cars and racing

Larry travels the world photographing cars and racing. He’s been in over 50 countries and photographed every 24-hour endurance series. His credits include the official series photographer for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and Formula Drift series. 

When you look at some of the millions of images he has shot you understand that he sees opportunities. Reflecting a car into a water puddle. Bringing in other elements to add drama. Freezing the energy in a drifting car or dragster launching off of the line. That’s another thing about Larry; he’s fascinated by all racing. His love might be drifting, but he can dig into a 200 mph in the quarter-mile, street-driven 1956 Chevy as easily as he can a Mazda drifter. 

You have to love what you’re doing and have a sense of curiosity

Larry’s geekiness about anything racing-related combined with his mind for finding the right angle, time of day, or situation makes him a photo-force. You have to love what you’re doing and have a sense of curiosity to do what he does. You also have to spend days sorting through the machine gun-like series of shots he takes just to get that one perfect image. 

He calls it “machine gun spray” and that’s what it sounds like. His camera drive sounds like it is going to explode. Having so many images from a single shoot gives him options. The more options you have the better your photography becomes. 

Larry Chen has a number of videos on how to get better images from your phone

While we are not all slinging expensive Nikons around our necks we all have smartphones. Larry has a number of videos on how to get better images from your phone. That’s a good start if you’re looking to break into racing photography. Or, just check it out to get some better pics from your iPhone. He says the level of smartphone camera technology has gotten so advanced that he sometimes will use it instead of a DSLR camera. Again, it’s all about options. 

Larry has more recently expanded into videos

While Larry has the ability to freeze action and suspense into racing images, he has more recently expanded into videos. He has put together many videos of his travels and car experiences to share with enthusiasts. So not only do you get tips from the master but you can also experience some of what he sees and does in his videos. 


Original Auto Spy Photographer–the Zany World of Jim Dunne

So check out his website, Instagram, or some of the beautiful images he has taken here. And if you see him at a race or photographing a car off to the side of the road, stop and say hi. He’s approachable, fun, and a nice guy too.