In a previous post, I discussed some basics of choosing a camera for taking photos of your vehicles. As I mentioned before, we seem to constantly be hammering the need for proper photos for you online marketing efforts. While this is not the only important element, you won’t have much success without them. The first step to taking your own photos is getting a decent camera and that was the gist of my previous post. The next step is determining how you are going to take your photos.

There are two main factors in this – where to take the photos and what photos to take. Neither of these are terribly difficult to determine but overlooking either will sabotage your efforts quickly. As far as where to take your photos, try to find a nice clean area free of any distractions. Some common examples of distractions I have seen are people milling about, traffic going by, stains on the ground or walls, and even garbage in the background. If you have an area where you can get either the storefront, a sign, banner or other identifying element that does not detract from the car itself, this is a good idea. Even better would be a clear open area where the only point of interest is the vehicle you are promoting. Try to think like a customer – if you were looking at the photo, where are your eyes drawn?

Once you have a great location determined, you need to establish a process on what photos to take. If you follow the same process each time, you will establish consistency and will not need to over think each vehicle you photo. The first photo is the most important photo you take. This photo will be used for the main image and thumbnail on every site you market on. You should make this shot either a front ¾ view or a side view of the vehicle. Since most sites will place the photo to the left of the listing information, try making your first photo with the vehicle facing right. This will result in the vehicle facing the listing information.

After the first photo, begin taking photos in a logical order moving around the vehicle and make sure to capture any special features. Get photos of each tire including visible tread. Remember to also include any imperfections on the body of the vehicle. Your honesty in presenting these will go a long way to establish trust in the customer. Once you have a full walk around view of the exterior, move to the interior. Include shots of each seat so the customer can see there are no tears or wearing. Be sure to get a photo of the odometer and the VIN number. Remember customers want to see pictures so don’t be afraid to take as many as necessary to truly represent the vehicle.