How To Shoot Better Photos Of Your Inventory

Rows of Japanese Cars Waiting to Be Exported

Taking snapshots with a digital camera is Childs play these days, point and shoot with very little thought or interaction from the person clicking the shutter–sounds easy right? Well if you fail to use some common sense while photographing your car to put up on your website for sale, you will miss the mark by a wide margin and even worse, miss a sale.

Whether your goal is to sell your car on a classified site or your own website, here are some expert tips to ensure that you’ll shoot high-quality photos of your car!

In today’s world–time is money, and if you are a busy sales manager at a dealership you have more important things to do than to take photos of your cars so that they can be put up on the web, so you shoot the phtos whenever its convenient–Unfortunately, almost 100% of the time you are setting up to shoot your vehicles out in the bright sunlight, the sunlight is in ALL the wrong places. You’re confronting a mélange of harsh glare and harsh shadows.

Color photography is about LIGHT–ideally, lots of soft, evenly-distributed, horizontal, low-angle, even upward-reflected (bounced off of white concrete pavement, for example) light.

Your camera requires far more light than your eyes do. For photographing YOUR car, lots of light translates to LOTS of (dawn, dusk or overcast) sunlight. So what does that mean to you? If you want good quality photos to showcase you inventory, its imperative that you shoot first thing in the morning or late afternoon when the sun is at the lowest points in the sky–and always with the sun behind you.

Use your flash–using a flash when there is plenty of light? One of the most photo-improving feature on your modern camera is the “fill flash” feature. Using a Fill flash lightens shadows and adds detail to darker areas, while preserving highlights.

If you want better photos of your cars, especially the interior shots that are prone to really dark shadows–force your flash to work each time.

My point and shoot digital camera allows me to force the flash to fire IN automatic mode–check out your digital camera’s owner’s manual to work out how to do this on your digital camera, but in most point and shoot cameras the main button to look for will be the one with the lightning bolt (flash) on or near it. Press this multiple times and it will cycle you through the different options for flash (on, off, automatic, red eye reduction are the main four). Some point and shoot cameras even have a ‘fill flash’ option that ramps back the strength of the flash a little which is ideal.

A polarizer is one of the most important filters when doing an outdoor car shoot It doesn’t come cheap and not all point and shoot cameras have filter threads–if yours does, consider yourself lucky and go get yourself a polarizer–if not, sooner or later you will need to replace your camera because of damage or malfunction, so keep it in mind when you go shopping. Trust us, the results are so much better, especially when the sun is out.

Check out new car photos for inspiration on how to shoot pictures of your used car.

Digital photos are cheap. Shoot pictures of every angle- You will want to take the basic shots; one from all four sides. But do not stop there. Explore the car in detail as you would any subject. Follow the natural lines of the car, check under the hood, in the trunk and don’t miss the interior. And don’t forget the details that make each car unique.

Location, location, location–Take pictures of your car fresh from the car wash – but not in the car wash parking lot. When deciding where to photograph the car you want to pick a location that compliments the car and doesn’t steal all the glory. Or worse, one that is just a distraction with too much background busyness.

The best way to learn to take good photos is to practice. Read your camera’s instruction manual completely and experiment with all of the controls and functions until you are comfortable with them. The neat thing about digital photography is that you don’t have to spend any money on film or developing so you can practice as much as your want for free.

Once you have the routine down, it will be easier to train the person that is responsible for taking the photos and uploading them to your website.

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