We talk a lot about how much the car buying process has evolved into an online process. Car shoppers are spending more time online doing their research and scouting dealer inventories before they ever walk into a dealership. Knowing this, you need to make sure the photos of your inventory are top-notch. There’s a massive difference between an inventory photo of a car with no thought or planning behind it and a well-thought-out photo. If your inventory photos are poorly lit and framed, that could be enough to steer customers away from your website. Hence, why it’s critical that you take the time to plan and shoot your inventory photos the right way. In this article, we’re going to go over 5 tips to take great vehicle inventory photos.
Your OEM has the exact same goal as you, to sell as many cars as possible. That’s why it’s important to look at their website photos to see some of the techniques and angles they used to make their images stand out. Pay close attention to the backgrounds, the lighting and the angles they’re using. They’ve likely hired professional photographers to do their website photos so you’re in good hands if you can try to emulate their style.
One of the biggest differences between amazing photographers and mediocre photographers is their ability to use light correctly. But don’t worry, we know you’re not a professional photographer so we’ll keep our lighting tips simple. Chances are, your dealership doesn’t have a proper studio where you have full control of the interior lighting, and if you do, you probably know more about photography than us anyways! We’re going to assume you don’t have a studio, so the best thing you can do is shoot during what’s known as “golden hour”. Golden hour happens two times a day, the first hour during sunrise and the last hour during sunset. At this time, the light is soft, creating beautiful shadows that makes everything look nice. If you don’t believe it, test it for yourself. Take a picture of a car at 12 pm and then take the exact same picture at sunset. You’d be lying if you said the picture at noon looks better.
When customers are trying to narrow down their search for a car, they want to see every little detail of the vehicle. This is why it’s so important that you take enough pictures to ensure every inch of the vehicle is included in the vehicle images. Be sure to get shots of the dashboard, entertainment system, speakers, shift knob, cup holders, window controls, trunk, center console and any other accessories. For every vehicle, you should have at least 12-20 images to ensure you’re covering the ins and outs of the vehicle entirely.
While this may seem obvious, some dealerships still take major shortcuts and do not detail their vehicles before photographing them. Not only does posting photos of a dirty car hurt your chances of selling the car, it reflects extremely poorly on your dealership. If you can’t be bothered to take the time to clean the vehicles you’re trying to sell, it should be assumed that you won’t be bothered to go the extra mile to help your customers.
While the car should always be the main focus of your inventory photos, don’t underestimate the importance of having a great background. There is no one background that all dealerships should use, instead, you should scout your entire dealership and do test shots to find what looks the best. Once you’ve found one or two great background options, stick to using them for all of your inventory photos.
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