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How to take quality vehicle photos

How to take high quality vehicle photos

Author: Natalie Banks - Digital Marketing Specialist

As soon as you take stock of new inventory, you are likely to want to get this on your website as soon as possible so people can start arranging test drives.

But rather than rush to take a couple of quick snaps, it can be much more beneficial to you if you take your time and take quality photos.

We don’t expect you to invest in some high quality SLR camera with wide angle lens (although this certainly wouldn’t do any harm!). Phone cameras are often high enough quality for what you need.

Before you start

We don’t need to tell you this as you are the experts, but it’s recommend you prep the car before you take any photos. If the car hasn’t yet been valeted, hold off before taking the photos as the car needs to be in very best condition for people to want to come and view it.

Whilst this may sound obvious to most people, it’s surprising how often we see imagery uploaded where the vehicle hasn’t been prepped.

Prepping the car

We’re quite confident you do most of these things anyway, but there are a few things to ensure you do before you start shooting the camera as it can save you time in the long run:

  1. Wash and valet

This is likely to be part and parcel of prepping any vehicle for the forecourt, but if you’ve had the car a couple of days and it’s rained in that time, it might need another quick once over.

  1. Backdrop

Another consideration to bear in mind is where you are going to shoot your photos. A natural environment is always best, you don’t want too much going on in the background that could deter the viewers eyes from the vehicle.

If you are located in a less urban environment, you may have access to a nice, natural backdrop such as fields or even a stately home! These kinds of backdrops will improve the look of the vehicle compared to an industrial estate location.

For consistency, you might want to use the same location for your photos and, where possible, similar weather conditions so the backdrop stays consistent.

Start shooting

Once you have prepared your car ready for the big shoot, it’s time to start taking your photos, but don’t just shoot any old photos, you need to take honest photos that show the true condition of the vehicle:

  1. Dashboard

The dashboard can tell you a lot about the car, from mileage to miles per gallon information as well as any warning lights that might give information about the condition of the engine.

One thing to consider when taking a photo of your dashboard is that the lighting can often show up dust, so you may need to manoeuvre a few times to ensure the image is clear.

  1. Interior

Without a wide-angle lens, it can be quite difficult to take clear photos of the interior of the car, so you might want to take a few, all from different angles. Keeping the doors open will give you more space to play with. The interior also includes the boot space and, to get an idea of how much space there really is, we recommend placing an every day item such as an umbrella in the boot when you take the photo.

When taking photos of the interior, don’t get too close to the seats or floor space, as this doesn’t offer a true representation.

The centre console and infotainment system are appealing features so you might want to get a few quality photos of these areas.

  1. Wheels/tyres

People will be interested to see the quality of the tyres and the alloys (if the car has them) as it can often affect the price they are willing to pay. If the alloys are in perfect condition, show your potential customers this!

  1. Paintwork

It can be quite difficult to take a clear photo of the paintwork, particularly the side panels as you will find it captures your reflection.

You might find it easier to take the photo horizontally from the back to the front of the car (or vice versa), rather than standing facing the side of the car.

Tips and tricks for taking quality photos

So, now we know what we should be taking photos of, how do we ensure we take quality photos? Well, there’s a few tips and tricks you can use to ensure your photos come out as high quality as possible:

  • Use a high-quality camera – As mentioned, you don’t need an expensive SLR, but a smartphone in good working order that takes clear photos should be more than sufficient.
  • Keep a steady hand – Make sure you take the photo with a steady hand and hold still for a few seconds after you click the shutter button so there’s no blur.
  • Keep the camera straight – Whether you are taking a horizontal or vertical photo, make sure the vehicle isn’t on an angle.
  • Invest in a tripod – to keep the camera straight and produce better photos.

If you have an iPhone and want to learn some techniques, you can create some sharper images with a few simple tricks.

When you upload your vehicles photos to our portal, we recommend between 10-15 photos so the potential customer can get a really good idea of what condition the car is in, meaning you should have to spend less time answering questions and more time selling cars.

Consider a design tool

If you don’t have access to a nice backdrop, there is another method you can use. Tools such as remove.bg are designed to assist car dealerships in producing quality photos in minutes. With this tool, you can remove the natural background of the photo, so you can ensure that all images are consistent. 

You can also choose from a range of pre-set backgrounds suitable for car dealers, including a luxury garage or a manufacturer’s factory.

There’s also the ability to add shadows to plain white backgrounds for more of a natural look and feel.

When you sign up, you will automatically receive 1 credit so you can try the tool out before you purchase any credits. You can opt for either a subscription plan (monthly) or pay-as-you-go, with the monthly subscription working out the cheapest. With the monthly subscription plan, you can purchase 40 credits for as little as £7.20 per month, saving you so much time in the long run.

Alternatively, you can use Canva, which costs around £8.33 per month for unlimited background removals, so this might be the best option if you have lots of stock inventory.

This article may contain affiliate links, so if you purchase a 3rd party service, Autoweb Design will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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