Take Photographs Like a Pro!

With the UK Government announcing a 3-week extension of lockdown, we’ve created a series of “level up” articles on how you can keep busy and prepare for a strong comeback once the motor trade gets back to business.

Episode 1Take Photographs Like a Pro!

In such a competitive market, making your vehicle stand out amongst all the others is critical in generating that all important lead from a potential buyer.

A poor set of photographs will drastically reduce the chance of a potential buyer making an enquiry on your car Vs the beautifully photographed one from another dealership.

So, let’s look at the basics of how to take great photographs with little effort. Just follow these simple rules and you’ll be shooting like a pro in no time!

#1 Framing

In this example, you can see the car positioned at an attractive angle and framed equally between the top and bottom, left and right. Nice job!

First, find a great angle that you’ll use as a starting point for every car. Our favourite is an angled shot of the front/drivers side between a 20 and 45 degree angle.

Frame your vehicles within the photograph equally. In other words, the gap between the car and the edge of the photo should be equal left/right and top/bottom respectively.

This is an easy way to keep consistency in your photos and make sure your car always displays nicely across the different platforms in which you advertise.

Now, use these same principles when taking the rest of the exterior shots. Keep in mind the background (more on this below), as keeping this consistent will add to the overall presentation. You may need to rotate the car, but the end result will look fantastic.

#2 Background

How great does this consistent background look?

Your backdrop should be consistent through all your exterior photographs, so choose it carefully. Keep it simple as not to detract the buyers attention away from the car.

A consistent look is vital. To help take the same photo every time, try rotating the car rather than the camera. Again, this will help add to the presentation quality.

Tip: place a mark on the ground so you know where to place the car and your feet for each photo you take.

#3 Details

In this example, you can see the close up of some nice feature details. Try photographing interior detail shots also.

Detail shots really enhance the presentation of a car. They emit a level if quality that’s difficult to get across in just your vehicle description text.

Close up shots of badges, trim, alloy wheels, headlights, grills, steering wheels etc look amazing and are a great way of convincing buyers that your car is the one for them. After all, if your car and a competitors are like for like in terms of spec and price, who’s the buyer going to contact first? You… because your car looks amazing!

Focus on small details rather than the bigger picture like the example above. Your camera may even have a special ‘Macro’ setting depicted as a flower icon specifically for this.

#4 Lighting

Check out the lighting in this example. No direct sunlight allowing beautiful non-glaring reflections across the paintwork.

With 4 seasons in a day, photographing outside in Northern Ireland can be tricky. If you have indoor space fitted with LED or fluorescent lighting then lucky you! For the rest of us, we’ll have to battle the elements.

Bright sunny days are great, but can be difficult to photograph in. If possible, take your photos in a shaded area away from direct sunlight. Bright reflections will bounce off the car and flare your camera lens reducing the quality of the overall photograph.

My personal rule of thumb….. if it’s a good day to polish the car, it’s a good day to photograph it! Bright, dry and away from direct sunlight will show the cars body and paintwork in its best possible form.

#5 Camera

You don’t nessecarily need an expensive DSLR camera. You can shoot great photos on a good smartphone!

“You can’t take a great photo without a great camera”

I hear this statement A LOT. For me, this is definitely a myth. It’s true that modern DSLR cameras are amazing and will help take great shots, but this doesn’t guarantee a great photograph. A great photograph is down to how you as the photographer take the shot.

My take – if you already have a DSLR then that’s great. If not, don’t worry about investing hundreds of pounds on kit just yet. Instead, practice your shots using the guide above and invest in your skills as a photographer first. The latest modern smartphones shoot high-res photos that are more than ample for use online.

I hope you have found this helpful. Keep an eye out for our next article on how to shoot quality video on a budget.

See you in the next episode!

David is one of the Co-founders at Carlover. He has an extensive background as a product designer & manager, spending the last 5 years leading teams in designing and building apps for multiple industries. He is a self confessed car fanatic and a lover of all things tech. When he's not working on the amazing set of Carlover products, you can usually find him working on his own cars!