AA Car Care: How to take the perfect photographs to sell your car
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With tens of thousands of vehicles up for sale at any one time, what is it that sets your vehicle apart from the rest? Is it the low mileage, immaculate paintwork or is it the ownership and service history? All of these factors are important to potential buyers, but when wanting to attract a buyer to view your listing, it all starts with a great set of photos.
Even with a cheap camera or phone, there are some great photos you can capture – all it takes is a bit of extra effort. All of the images in this story were taken with a hand-held mobile phone.
Always start with a clean car! A dirty and dull paint job won’t do you any favours in the camera, whereas a polish and wax will enhance the vehicle’s natural finish.
Wait for the right lighting - did you know the best time to photograph a car is a few minutes after sunset or a few minutes before sunrise? If possible use a tripod and get that perfect soft light, which can really highlight your paintwork.
A nicely polished vehicle can act as a mirror, so pay attention to the vehicle and see what reflects on the surface. Try a few different lighting options where possible, and try parking in an open space to avoid shadows from other objects.
Also be careful not to have your own reflection in the photo. If you can’t avoid your own reflection, set the timer on your phone/camera and try and move out of the shot. It’s also not advisable to use a flash, as this will just add to the problem.
Be mindful of your backdrop and ensure it’s in keeping with the vehicle.
Avoid having objects in the background that will distract someone. Things like rubbish bins, people, signage, and of course other vehicles can ruin a picture, whereas a clean background directs focus on the car.
Here’s where you can have a bit of fun trying to capture the perfect angle. Every car is different, but try getting low and taking your photos from around headlight height. This gives a good perspective, highlighting the car’s silhouette, sculpting and detailed design elements.
Filters are great when capturing a selfie, but for the purposes of selling a vehicle we recommend avoiding them. The last thing you want is a potential buyer showing up and being unimpressed with the difference in colour to the photos.
A great way to add dimension to your photos is to consider including motion. Stand on the footpath at a safe distance and let the car drive past you at 50km/h (always observing the speed limit). In one smooth motion, try and follow the car with your camera and you’ll be amazed how easy these shots can be captured.
Finally, take the time to get the right set of photos
Vehicle listing sites allow you to upload anything from 5 to 20 photos, which gives you a great opportunity to promote your vehicle’s condition and key selling points. Consider capturing a mixture of exterior and interior photos– which can range from front, side, and rear exterior views including wheels. And for the interior: the dashboard, steering wheel, rear seats and boot.
Before you take any photos, take the time to decide what you want to capture first and make a simple checklist. These photos will speak a thousand words when it comes to selling your vehicle.