Car Dealer Secrets To Taking Great Vehicle Photos
You spent months considering every detail of your website's redesign and it's finally ready to launch. Every aspect of the site has been reviewed from from page layout to color scheme, all the way down to font size, nothing has been forgotten. Or has it? What about photos of your inventory? No big deal, just have your Lot Tech grab a camera and get to work. Don't make this mistake. Granted everyone seems to own a digital camera these days and most of us even have smartphones with them, but that doesn't mean they can actually take a great photo of your vehicle inventory. Don't fall into this trap of thinking taking photos is easy and anyone can do it. Your 13 year old Nephew designed his own website, but you wouldn't let him redesign your dealership's site, so why would you let him decide how to represent your most important product, your inventory? Here are a few things to consider before you even push the shutter button.
Let's start at the beginning. You're obviously going to need a digital camera, but which one? A DSLR? A simple point and shoot for snapshots? Keep in mind a camera with the most megapixels and longest zoom doesn't make the camera better. For most situations a full-size megazoom is a solid choice. They're a little bigger than a point and shoot so they're easier to handle and take steady shots with as well as to keep track of around the dealership. Make sure it has optical image stabilization (avoid blurry photos). They have some manually controlled settings, but tend to have auto settings that produce good photos as well. Whoever is taking your photos should study the user manual and know the camera you choose backwards and forwards. A better photo could just be a setting away.
Location, location, location! You didn't build your dealership on just any street corner, you chose the spot carefully to maximize its potential and you need to do the same with photos of your vehicles. Most dealerships don't have the luxury of building a professional photo studio. Showroom, service, and parts floor space can be at a premium not to mention dedicated lighting and ease of access. This means you're most likely going to be working outside. In an ideal situation you will want a dedicated area as your photo location. Pick a spot without any distractions preferably with your dealership in the background. Remember, you're going to need roughly 400 square feet at a minimum to photograph vehicles from every angle. Don't forget what's under the car either. Cracks in paving and oil stains as well as repairs can distract from the vehicle just as badly as the dumpster on your service lot.
Maybe the most critical part of an exceptional photo is the proper lighting. Most people assume that a beautiful sunny cloudless day is the best time to take photos. They would be correct if you just had to get that one perfect exterior photo from the driver's side. Unfortunately that leaves out all the interior shots and other exterior angles that will either be hidden in dark shadows or overexposed in reflected sunlight. It's counter-intuitive, but a partly cloudy to cloudy day is best as it produces the soft diffused light that eliminates shadows and harsh reflections. Here again a professional photo studio on your lot would solve this issue as they are designed to recreate the perfect conditions no matter the weather. This is where vehicle positioning and proper use of your camera's flash make the best of less than optimal conditions.
Developing a dealership process that addresses these basic issues can be daunting, but when it comes to marketing your inventory they should be considered carefully before presenting your inventory to the public. DRIVE Photo Services provides a turnkey service that solves these challenges as well others you may not have considered. With DRIVE photographers you'll know your vehicles are being presented in the best light possible.