As we all know (at least I hope you all do!), you can never really have too many photos to help highlight and market your vehicles, right? Well, it isn’t just photos you need, it is good, quality photos that make your inventory “POP” and help market your vehicles effectively. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind when photographing your inventory.

The absolute best natural lighting conditions for you to photograph your cars will be early in the morning or just before sunset. If at all possible, avoid shooting in harsh, glaring mid-day sunlight, or you will end up with color-faded paint on the car’s top surfaces and murky shadows on its lower regions. Your best shooting days are those that are overcast. Keep an eye out for any separation in the clouds, as this may cast unusual and uneven reflections on your vehicles and lead to unusable pictures.

To help get some of your best images, a basic rule of thumb is to set your camera to “Forced Flash” or “Fill Flash”, not on “Auto Flash”. It is really important to use the forced flash mode in bright sunlight. I know, I know, it sounds like you should do the opposite – but you are not actually “adding” more light to the picture, you are “redistributing” the light. This will illuminate the shadowy areas of your car and reduce the glare from the bright areas allowing you to capture a much better image of the vehicle.

As far as an automobiles color is concerned, the best time to photograph your darker vehicles is in the evening or the morning, when the sun is below the horizon. Bright cars are better to photograph when there is some sunlight present, but again, not harsh, overhead, mid-day sun.

For capturing your best interior shots, a white card, like a poster board, can be used to bounce some light off of the headliner to illuminate the inside of your vehicles. To best highlight all the bells and whistles in the dash, the white card can be propped on the backseat to reflect some light on the dash and show off its features

While shooting, be aware of your surroundings and all the extra distractions near your vehicle. Signs, telephone wires, trash cans, poles and customers wandering your lot are just some of the things in the background that can take all the focus and emphasis off the car you are hoping to sell.

A really simple trick for making your shots more appealing is to wet down the area where the car will be photographed. This will darken the pavement and provide a nice “highlight” effect. Remember my previous tip, though, and make sure you don’t leave a “distracting” hose or bucket lying around!

Unfortunately, chances are you are not going to be shooting your inventory in a comfortable studio with perfect temperature and lighting conditions. Don’t let this worry you! Even if you have to shoot your “subjects” outside, there are plenty of opportunities for capturing some fantastic shots on your lot that will “WOW” your customers.