• Tips & Tricks
  • Aug 02, 2022

Why Car Dealerships Need Professional Photos

Car dealerships are now investing more than ever in professional photography to bring in more leads, increase their sales prices, and build their brand. In the case of finding a future car, research has shown that 62% of shoppers use photos as their main source of information. Does that number surprise you? 

Believe it or not, you don’t need to hire an expensive professional photographer or invest in an expensive camera to take great photos. You just need the right plan of action, some simple software, and a healthy attitude.

In this article, we’ll look at why quality photos matter, how important lighting and backgrounds are when taking pictures (and some software that can help you optimize them for free), where to shoot vehicles for maximum impact on viewers’ emotions, and more!

Why do quality photos matter?

Did you know that people process images in just 13 milliseconds? That’s the timeframe you’re working with, so your photo needs to make a good impression – and quickly. 

Photos are the first thing people see when they look at a business. It’s the reason why you get excited when you see a great photo on a website, or cringe when you see something less than ideal.

A professional photograph can increase your chances of doing well in today’s competitive world. Studies show that visual information helps increase sales by 65 percent more than verbal information does.

quality photos matter

A professional photo establishes credibility for your dealership and attracts more potential customers to view it online (and hopefully buy from them). This means more visibility for your business, which is always good news for making money.

Given these benefits, you may want to consider hiring a professional photographer for your dealership. 

Professional photographers are skilled at capturing just the right angle and lighting to showcase your company’s products or services in their best light. They’ll also have advanced equipment that won’t distort or overexpose images, as consumer-grade cameras tend to do.

How important is lighting?

The lighting in your photo is one of the most important elements. The effect of natural light can be beautiful, and it will add a lot to your photos. The natural properties of light have an incredible ability to bring out color, detail, and texture in everything from clothing to skin tones.

If you’re using artificial lighting, make sure there are no shadows on faces or backgrounds – especially if you’re shooting indoors. Shadows can take away from your photos by making them appear darker than what they actually are, or they can make people appear tired or older than they really are.

When choosing where to shoot inside a dealership (or any other location), avoid harsh overhead lights as much as possible; these types of lights will create glares on people’s faces and give them an unpleasant look that can detract from the quality of their appearance.

If shooting outdoors, avoid putting your photo subjects in direct sunlight. This can cause a harsh glare on skin and clothing that will need to be edited out later. Instead, try shooting them either during the golden hours or at dusk – when the sun is low in the sky – to create a soft light that flatters everyone.

Carefully choose a great location

Now that you’ve chosen the perfect car, it’s time to get some professional photos taken. Don’t be fooled by the idea that any old backdrop will do; you want to make sure your new vehicle looks its best.

Here are a few tips on how to choose an ideal location for your photo shoot:

  • Select a well-lit space that’s clutter-free and clean
  • Place your vehicle away from any other vehicles or objects (if possible), so there is plenty of room for you and your photographer to work with
  • Make sure there isn’t anything distracting in the background of the shot
  • If you’re shooting indoors, set up your vehicle near a large window to make the most of natural light
choose a great location

Choose a professional camera

When running a car dealership, you always want to ensure that your photographs reflect well on your business. 

This means that you should never use a low-quality camera to take pictures of your cars. Instead, you should try to use a professional camera that can take high-resolution photos.

This way, customers will be able to see the cars in all their detail and glory, and they will be able to get an accurate idea of what the car looks like before they visit your dealership in person. 

In addition, taking car photos from multiple angles using different zoom levels on your lens will give customers a comprehensive idea of the car’s features, and they will appreciate the extra effort you have put into providing them with this information.

By choosing a professional camera for your dealership’s car photography needs, you will be able to take high-quality photos that reflect well on your business and provide potential customers with the information they need to decide whether they want to purchase a car from you.

Use a DSLR camera

You can get great pictures with an iPhone, but they’ll never look like those taken by professional photographers. Choose a DSLR camera with interchangeable lenses, sold by top brands like Nikon and Canon.

Use a DSLR camera
Use a tripod

Tripods make all the difference when it comes to getting crisp images of cars in motion, so be sure to use one if you want your listings to be as good as possible! If you don’t have one handy at home or work, many retailers like Home Depot sell them for relatively low prices (around $20).

Take car pictures from multiple angles

Take car pictures from multiple angles using different zoom levels on your lens so that customers can get an idea of what it looks like from any angle before visiting in person. They will appreciate this extra effort, and may feel more comfortable purchasing from someone who values quality.

Remove any distractions

A background remover tool like Slazzer can help you easily remove image backgrounds in bulk and change them to something more pleasing. This is an easy, simple way to bring image consistency to all your vehicle inventory on your website or application in just a matter of seconds.  

As you can see in the two images below, removing the background can make a considerable difference to the image’s overall appeal. An unattractive background (seen in the first image) can be quickly substituted for a sleek, branded look (seen in the second image).

Slazzer Background Remover

If you have a lot of clutter in the background of your photo, it can take away from the value of the vehicle and lead to a perceived lack of professionalism. By removing the background from your photos, you’ll be able to eliminate any distracting elements like trees, power lines, or people and solely give the customer focus on the car itself (and nothing more).

Shoot the interior and exterior of a car from multiple angles

When photographing a car, it’s important to shoot the interior and exterior of the vehicle from multiple angles. For example, you should take a picture of the car’s front corner or three-quarters view. Then, walk around to the back of the vehicle and take a picture of the rear corner or three-quarters view.

This is what shows up as the thumbnail photo on Google Search results – it’s your company’s best chance to capture someone’s attention online.

It’s also important to take close-up shots of the car’s features, such as the grille, headlights, taillights, and wheels. These close-up shots will give potential customers a better idea of the car’s features and how they look in person.

Finally, don’t forget to take a picture of the car’s interior. This is where potential customers will spend most of their time, so it’s important to give them a good idea of what the interior looks like.

Interior and Exterior

The following are examples of other photos that can be taken:

  • A photo with entry doors open showing the inside seating area; front seats in position (driver’s seat only), and dashboard visible through the windshield
  • A photo of the car’s engine
  • A photo from the backseat, looking forward through the front windshield
  • A photo of the car’s mileage

Taking various photos gives potential customers a good idea of what the car looks like and what it has to offer. This will help them to make a more informed decision when they’re ready to purchase.

Don’t skip the editing part

Editing is the key to a great photo. It’s what separates an average photo from a professional one, and since humans ‘purchase with their eyes’, photo quality can make or break your sale.

Editing is about making sure that the photo is clear and easy to see. It’s about removing any distractions from your product or service.

Your dealership’s website is a critical part of your marketing mix. Great photos will help potential customers visualize how they would look driving your vehicles, and can also help set your dealership apart from the competition.

Having high-quality, professional photos of your cars, trucks, and SUVs is essential to create a consistent look across your website for several reasons:

  • Showing off new vehicles
  • Showing off used vehicles
  • Advertising special promotions
  • Building your dealership brand

Your photos should be clear and easy to see. They should also be free of distractions, such as people or objects in the background.

Give your customers a chance to get to know your dealership

With professional photos, you will be able to give your customers a chance to get to know your dealership. Images help provide a sense of security and trustworthiness for potential buyers because they can see the inside of the business, the location, and the cars on display.

Get to know you

This is especially important if you are selling used cars. When someone goes online looking at used cars, they want to feel confident that they are dealing with an honest dealership that cares about their vehicle and wants them to drive home in a safe car, too.

If you don’t have professional photos of your dealership, creating that feeling of trust and confidence can be difficult. Your customers may feel like they are taking a risk by doing business with you.

Advertising special promotions

You’re having a sale! Great, but now what? How are people going to know about it? You could put up a sign or send out some flyers, but you want people to come in and check out what you have to offer.

This is where optimized photography can help. You can show potential customers what they can expect from your dealership by using high-quality photos in your email marketing, website, or social media campaigns that reflect your dealership’s branding.

Good branding and high-quality photos go hand in hand, so make sure that your dealership’s logo is reflected in your photos.

These photos can help you get the word out about your special promotions and bring people in to take advantage of your great deals. So don’t let your next sale be a flop – make sure to promote it with the proper images.

Provide a complete vehicle condition report

Before you buy a car, you should be provided with a complete vehicle condition report. This means that the dealer will disclose any past mechanical problems or issues with your car. The dealer should also provide accurate information about recent maintenance on your new vehicle.

If something is wrong with the car, don’t hide it from your customer! Dealers should always be transparent about any imperfections in their vehicles so that customers can make informed decisions before they buy.

A great way to ensure transparency is by using professional photography as part of your overall sales strategy – especially if you want to offer an incentive like “no haggle pricing” or “free financing”.

Provide a complete vehicle condition report

What to avoid

While you don’t need to be a professional photographer, there are some things you should avoid. Don’t take photos that are too dark or too bright. Avoid bad angles, and don’t use poor lighting (unless you’re going for a moody feel).

Don’t use irrelevant photos. This includes photos of your staff or office, random people, or things that have nothing to do with cars.

Avoid playing it safe to include only the same boring shots everyone else uses! Try at least one quirky shot that will make your dealership stand out from the rest.

You might even consider taking some kind of “selfie” with yourself in front of your business sign or storefront window, so long as it’s still professional and makes your customers feel at ease.

Final words

It’s true that today’s customers are savvy and more demanding than ever. With the growth of online reviews, viral videos, and social media in general, you need to do everything possible to earn their trust.

The right photography can help you market your business to a wider audience, convert more leads into sales, and give you a competitive advantage over other car dealerships.

In fact, if you don’t have professional photos of your vehicles, chances are that most prospective customers won’t even consider your dealership as an option to buy a car. That’s how important first impressions can be!

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