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Photographing Cars

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Photographing Cars

Geoff Maxted
DriveWrite
May 27, 2013


Aston Martin Porsche 911
A picture paints a thousand words. This hackneyed old saying has been around forever yet it remains true, especially when selling a used car. With the rise of the internet as a sales tool buyers want to have a good hard look at a car before they start organising viewing trips and the like, and they will expect to see images.

It falls to the seller to make sure that these photos are as good and as representative as they can be.

Obviously, it almost goes without saying, your car should be gleamingly well spruced up. A thorough going-over or even a professional valeting will make it look its best; that ’s the time to start snapping away.

Take a look at the top image. Great isn’t it? If you didn’t want an Aston Martin before, you probably do now. Much camera and digital magic has gone into this shot. Don’t imagine that those birds - subliminally representing freedom - were a happy accident, they came later.

Unless you have a high pixel count camera, some trick lights and a good working knowledge of a well known imaging programme you can’t really get close to this level of photography, but it is certainly possible to make pictures much better than simply snapping the car in the street outside your house.

Now take a look at the image of the Cayman. The car was driven out to an attractive location on a nice day and shot using a consumer camera. It could equally have been done on a compact or a decent phone - no fancy gear needed. Certain things are apparent: the exposure is spot on and the shot is taken from a low position to emphasise the sleek design of the Porsche. The inclusion of the road hints at driving pleasure and so on.

Depending on how much time is available several more photos should be taken from all angles, some to especially emphasise neat details and not forgetting the interior. Most online sites will allow a good number of images; these coupled with some honest descriptive writing should make any decent car sell with ease.

Dirty cars and dull snaps taken from the usual standing position will not offer any kerb appeal.

Technically, nothing much needs to be done. The exposure should be spot on and plenty of pics should be taken.

It’s best to shoot early or late in the day to avoid any harsh glare from the sun. If the camera has a fill-in flash facility then use it. A little bit of light blipped into the foreground will lift colour. Note that in the Aston image the edges of the picture have been darkened - or vignetted - to concentrate the eye on the car. That can be achieved with any simple imaging programme.

That’s it. A bit of creative thought and the images will improve one hundred percent. Don’t leave selling a car to chance. Market it properly - just like the professionals.



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