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Phones

Shooting the world's best cars with the OnePlus 6

I used the hot new phone to photograph the Bugatti Chiron and Rolls Royce Dawn.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The OnePlus 6 earned a great score in our review thanks to its slick new look, its beefy processor and its affordable price. It's got a dual camera, too, which can take great portrait photos, but I wanted to see what it's like for shooting cars.

I took the phone with me on two car shoots: one in Cornwall with the beautiful Rolls Royce Dawn and one in France with the epic $3 million Bugatti Chiron -- the world's fastest production car. I'm pleased with the results and here I'll tell you how I shot and edited the images using only the phone.

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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The shoot began in Cornwall with the stunning, convertible Rolls Royce Dawn. Step 1 was finding the right position for the car, and after some hunting down the Cornish coast, I found this spot that overlooked the sea. I'd been lucky with the weather -- lovely blue skies but enough cloud overhead to avoid harsh, glaring light falling on the car. I'd made sure to position the car so the sun was behind me, to avoid the sky being blown out behind the car. 

For this hero shot of the car I used a classic three-quarters view, which shows all the front and the long sides of the vehicle. I wanted to show some of the seats, too, so I stood up, holding the phone about head height to get the right angle for the interior. 

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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Then it was time to capture some of the details of the car. This higher-up view -- achieved by holding the phone higher above my head -- is great for showing off the steering wheel and some of the gorgeous wood and leather interior trim. 

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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

I naturally had to get a great shot of the Rolls Royce logo and the iconic Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament. I'm really impressed with the dynamic range of the phone here, easily balancing the bright sky with the more shadowy areas on the car. It's pin sharp, too. 

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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Next up it was off to France to shoot the Bugatti Chiron. 

This shot took a bit more preparation. I was hanging out of the back of a crew car (secured with a safety harness), driving at the same speed as the Chiron, in order to show the car in motion. To get the motion blur of the road and trees, you need to use a slower shutter speed. The problem is, when you slow the shutter speed down it lets in more light and therefore overexposes the photo.

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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

On my DSLR I would counter this with a closed-down aperture, but on a phone that's not possible. Instead, I'd bought a sheet of neutral density filter paper which essentially acts like sunglasses for a lens, letting in less light. By taping a piece of this material over the lens of the phone I was able to use a slow shutter speed in manual mode, but still get a well-exposed shot. 

Once I'd got the settings in order it was then a case of photographing the car, trying to keep the phone as stable as possible so as to only blur the road, but keeping the car itself in sharp focus. It took a few attempts to get this shot.

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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Finally, I wanted a static shot of the Chiron. We found this nice roadside spot with a lovely backdrop of the forest. I shot the Chiron from a low angle, which gives this dramatic, imposing view that's perfect for an all-black, aggressive hypercar such as this. 

But my shots weren't done once I'd pressed the shutter button -- they needed some editing first. I use Adobe Lightroom CC and Snapseed for my editing, often swapping back and forth between both on the same image to apply little tweaks here and there. For the Bugatti shoot, I wanted to go for a muted, cinematic look that's got an almost dream-like aesthetic. I started by changing the hue of the green (the trees) to a more yellow tone in Lightroom, before balancing the exposure, highlights and shadows. A touch of vignette was added too, as well as a few other changes in Snapseed until I had the desired look. You can see the before and after of the shot below. 

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Andrew Hoyle/CNET