Photography Tips


Pictures speak louder than words and when it comes to your adverts, good imagery can make a big difference, or in this case, maybe hundreds or even thousands of pounds. Words alone count for nothing to prospective buyers. We know that 43% of consumers immediately dismiss adverts that have fewer than 3 images, regardless of how well the car is described. Whats more, 49% of consumers want to see at least 10 images.


Perhaps most importantly though, a massive 67% of consumers will not even click on an advert if it contains poor quality images. We know buyers are searching online and visiting fewer dealerships, so make sure your digital forecourt stands out from the crowd by following these top photography tips. 

1. Have the right equipment

Avoid using a mobile phone. Though you’ll get the best results with a digital SLR (single-lens reflex) camera, you can achieve quality images with a standard camera. Using a tripod is essential to avoid shaky images and to ensure all photos are taken at a consistent height.


2. Prepare the vehicle

It might sound simple, but it’s a key point that is often neglected. Even though a customer might be buying a used car, they still want it to look like new. Before taking any photos, ensure that the vehicle is cleaned and prepared to a high standard both inside and out. Attention to detail is key. Make sure the wheels, tyres and interior are as spotless as the paintwork. If you want to take photos of the engine, ensure that’s clean too.


3. Choose a suitable background

You don’t want the backdrop to draw attention away from the car. Avoid anything distracting, including your own dealership’s branding, you don’t need to show it in every shot. Choose a neutral background that’s free of clutter to show the car in its best light. If it’s a challenge to find a great background, Auto Trader’s Image Enhancement Service can put your vehicle onto the background of your choice.


4. Get the right distance

Photos taken too close to the vehicle can make it look distorted. To get the right distance, stand next to the front of the vehicle, then take 5 large steps backwards.


5. Get the right height

Next, lower the camera so it is level with the wing mirror. This is where using a tripod will really help, as you can set the height and keep it exactly the same for all exterior images.



Which image would you click through to?

6. Zoom in

Use the zoom to fill the frame with the vehicle. There should be more space above than below the vehicle, and equal spacing either side. Activating the grid on your camera can help, while remembering to maintain the correct height and distance.


7. Shoot the exterior from different angles

For exterior images, utilise ¾ shots as well as full frontal, rear and side view. These help to display more detail of the vehicle. Be sure to maintain the correct height and distance for the camera. To keep the background consistent throughout, it’s better to move the car than the camera. This may take more time, but the end result will be worth it.


8. Show off the interior

To give potential buyers the best possible overview of the vehicle, you also need great interior shots. Always straighten the steering wheel, align the front seats and clear the car of clutter and rubbish. If there’s any technology e.g. sat nav, switch it on if you can. Don’t forget to take shots of the dashboard, backseats and boot.


9. Be consistent

Your images will look most professional and enticing to potential buyers if they are consistent. Make sure all images are taken in the same location, with the front and rear wheels positioned consistently and at the same time of day.


10. Number of images

Utilise all of your advert images. 49% of respondents would like to see 10 or more images of a vehicle for sale and 43% will skip past an advert if it has fewer than 3 images. If you are subscribed to the 20 image package, take advantage by photographing key selling features,  such as sport, leather interior, sat nav, sun roof, turbo.

Following these simple steps will ensure that your images are of high quality, are consistent and most importantly help drive more click-throughs to your full page advert views (FPAV’s). We know that FPAV’s drive faster speed of sale, so this is something that can’t be ignored. The competition are improving the quality and number of their images all the time, so make sure you’re keeping up and standing out from the crowd. 


Find out how to write great descriptions and the key selling features consumers are looking for.