Is the best DSLR better than the best smartphone camera today? In short, yes. However what you want to consider is, would you drive your Bugatti Veyron to do your weekly grocery shopping? Probably not. Similarly when selling a car using your phone is very practical and it is able to produce a far superior quality image for 99.9% of people. We recommend using a car photo app like Autopix because then you will be guided to get the right angle, distance and lighting making it super easy to produce professional car photography. A study conducted by Cornell University and ebay.com (2012) showed a clear correlation between increased sales and the use of great photos.
Read more about the research study here: https://autopix.no/how-to-sell-more-cars-online/
Even though using a car photo app will really help you out, here are our top tips for shooting professional car photos in order of importance:
1. Get the right angle
Get down so your camera lens is at a 90 degree angle with the car. Another rule of thumb is that your camera should be in the same height as the driver’s head, that way you get a good looking angle of the car.
Most people will take a photo based on their height which means the car oftentimes will look smaller and less aggressive leading to a less attractive photo. With Autopix´s smart capture software the app guides you to get the right angles in every photo.
*Hot tip: buy a chair with wheels and no back so you can swivel around the car when taking photos. This will help you get the right angle without breaking your back 🙂
2. Clean your lens
So many people get this wrong and it produces blurry images. The good news is it only takes a few seconds to clean your lens and you can use your shirt to do it. On this note, you also want to make sure the car is clean and looking its very best.
In photography, lighting is everything. Most people think that a sunny day is perfect to shoot photos of vehicles, but typically it produces too much glare and burnout in the photos. An overcast day is much better. An overcast day produces a nice even light with no glare and burnout in your images.
We typically can’t wait for a cloudy day to shoot our car, so what do we do? Our first tip is to not shoot directly towards the light. This typically produces really bad burnout on the car and the color gets distorted. If you can, find a place with even lighting like a parking garage or similar. If you are shooting in a showroom, then make sure the light is behind you when shooting and move the car around so you never shoot against the light.
Pro Tip: Ferrari Norway’s photo rig with white LED lighting and a white semi translucent sheet for even lighting. Add black side curtains for extra depth and effect.
PRO TIP 1: If you really want to up your game then buy LED lighting that has white light and around 4-6000 kelvin (measurement for light). You can typically get these at your local DIY store and mount them to the ceiling. You will need 4-8 of these depending on size and strength of the lights. Lastly you need a semi translucent white sheet to dampen the light so you get a nice even light coming from above. (See reference image above.)
PRO TIP 2: Add black curtains or similar on the sides and in the back to get very cool looking photos. For the sides and back you can use anything from white to black depending on the effect you want.
PRO TIP 3: For interior shots get another LED light that you put high up in a 45 degree angle to light up the interior even more. Place it in the back window and shoot your interior angles.
4. Keep your distance
It’s better to stand further away from the car than too close. Most people think they have to frame the car closely, but it’s much better to capture more of the surroundings and crop the image afterwards. The main reason for standing further away is to not make the car look skewed. If you stand too close the lens will bend the car so it looks distorted, so make sure you have around 3-5 meter distance from the car.
5. Use a car photo app
In 2020 we launched our photo guide in collaboration with Toyota Norway to help dealerships capture the correct image sequence of a used car. Now we are launching Smart Capture to help users get the right angle, distance and lighting of the vehicle. Our goal has always been to allow anyone to take professional photos of a car, and with smart capture we are assisting you in doing just that. We hope you enjoy Smart Capture and as always we want to hear your feedback so we can get better and better.
There you go, now you can go off and shoot pro car pictures and feel free to try our app for free at https://autopix.no/en/apps/