Selling Your Car? Take Great Photos!

I’m always amazed at the number of people who include terrible, poorly lit and poorly composed photos in advertisements for cars they’re trying to sell. If you’re selling your car and trying to coax someone into spending thousands of dollars – or maybe tens of thousands of dollars – surely you can make a bit of an effort to present the car in a way that’s actually going to make the person want to see more?

This is a no, despite the effort the lady might have gone to:

Porsche 928 for sale

You’re selling a 1984 Porsche 928 S!! It’s one of the most desirable years for a pre-S4 928 and you go and put the car in the shadows with a woman next to it? Are you trying to sell your car or your girlfriend?

This is a no. Get some even light so you get an even shot. An interior shot from 8 feet away is meaningless.


Wait a minute……

Instead of showing you examples of bad photography, why not just show you the photos from someone who’s done a fantastic job presenting their car in the best light?

Truth be told, I’m doing this post partly because I wanted a reason to save these photos and present them on the website. They’re that good. But I’m also a firm believer that good photos take only a little extra effort but provide a huge boost to an online car ad.

The following example is from an Ebay ad selling a Volvo P1800. What the seller has done is wait for the right time of day for the right light, and they’ve shot the car in settings that show it off nicely. They let you see the details you need to see and they’ve conveyed a spirit befitting the car’s design and presence.

These guys are obviously pros, with access to a good camera and specilised settings such as the turntable. But it doesn’t take that much effort and/or equipment to get good quality photos in your local area.

Enjoy these. Click to enlarge.

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  1. Very true, and very nice photos…. of the Volvo. She could have been in an episode of the original Batman, just saying (no offence intended) 🙂

  2. I know exactly what you mean. I was interested in a minivan for my wife but the only picture posted was of the dashboard from the second row seats. When I called to ask the guy for more photos and details, his response was humorous. “Really, I had my friend post the pictures for me. Wanna buy it?” There was no offer of more pictures or details and thus no test drive by me.

  3. Many of their other listings like the Alfa Spider Graduate, VW Bug and 1935 Ford Pickup are just as nice. Most people don’t have any idea how to sell a car and the norm seems to be hazy, grainy and poorly lighted smart phone pictures. But you also see the same with real estate where profits and commissions are much higher. Shopping for cars on Craigslist is even worse where you’re lucky to get a very brief description of the car like “runs great, needs nothing!”.

    1. Actually, seeing you mention poor descriptions, I have to give credit where credit’s due. Most American Ebay auctions I see have a LOT of photos and a LOT of detail in the description. Sometimes it reads like a bunch of sales baloney, but most times it’s relevant info that a buyer will want to know.

      I wish more Australians were so thorough.

      1. Oh, you are too quick to give us credit. An eBay listing implies that you’ve paid for the privilege. Craigslist is a whole heap o’ trouble as Wulf has pointed out.

        Having been perusing Craigslist for beaters for my son’s first car, I can’t tell you there is a third animal — the precision photographer who avoids the obvious flaws. For example, virtually no car with 150k+ miles on it has a clear photo of the driver’s seat. It just isn’t pretty!