On: December 6, 2020 In: Classic Cars Comments: 2

10 Tips for Taking Better Photos of Your Car, Car Parts and Accessories


When selling your car, car parts or accessories online, presentation is key. Great photos will help you make a sale as well as help make you more money on each sale. I have written this article as a guide to help you take professional photographs so that you can properly present your car or car products.

Let’s get started:

  1. Get a fresh start. What we mean by this is that you need to start with a car, part or product that presents well. So, start fresh and clean. Wash and dry the vehicle or part and let it shine. You may also want to consider getting your car or truck detailed because first impressions as we know are very important. Professional detailing is not a must it is just another option available to you. Note: If the vehicle is a garage find or it is being sold as a project, the dirt may actually be a selling point.

Now let’s dive in a little deeper. Remove everything from the interior that is not being sold with the car. Next, clean the seats, wipe down and treat the dash and spend time vacuuming the interior. One last thing don’t forget the windows.

Photos of parts and accessories should highlight as much as possible the important features of that particular piece or product. Often times a parts manufacturing material, its texture, paint type and stickers and decals are very important to the buyer.

  1. Think about image and persona. Yes, cars and trucks absolutely have, and communicate a persona. Move the vehicle outside. Take a few minutes to consider the overall scene, the backdrop as well as the foreground (more on this next). We want the vehicle to ultimately speak the loudest, but you can give it a little more energy and persona by considering the scene. We think and most everyone agrees that cars look better when they are photographed outside. This is not meant to be an insult to a professional photography studio, but most of us do not have a studio on hand.


  1. Create excitement. Take photos that make people eager for more. Consider what images are being created and conveyed in the viewers mind. Try to tap into their creativity, car fantasy and imagination. Another option we are seeing more and more of are videos of the car running, driving, climbing, etc. There is an extra perk to videos. Videos are something that can and often do include audio.


  1. Location, location, location. No, we are not selling real estate but like we discussed above, the scene is important. For vehicles, find a quiet, calming location, one with minimal visual distractions. Remember, we are selling your car or truck, not real estate. Find a quiet setting like a park or an empty street or open space. The goal is to minimize or eliminate visual distractions. Keeping the background uniform and not visually noisy, is also extremely import to consider when shooting parts and accessories.


Peer into the camera and look at the internal guides on the viewfinder. Look for distracting or unattractive objects behind, at the sides or above the vehicle.  If something is competing for your attention in the viewfinder, that same thing will likely be disrupting the view in the photo. This distraction will also appear in the photo which your potential customer is looking at. Change your perspective, your angle, or your view to eliminate these visual distractions.


  1. Shoot your vehicle or part and accessory while it is in uniform light, when it is overcast, or in the late afternoon when there is dusky sunlight. This helps minimize glare and hot spots (bright reflections) in a photograph which can detract from the some of the subtleties of the vehicles lines. Lighting is far more easily controlled when shooting parts and accessories. Do not use lighting in any other way but for positive information and results. I mean do not hide the bad and the ugly with deceptive lighting.


  1. Exterior angles and perspectives. The first photo that is used in most vehicle listings is a clear drivers’ side front end 3/4 view, with the front tires turned slightly to highlight the style of the wheels. It is important to photograph the whole car and all angles of the car. Remember, the photos you are taking are documentation of the exterior of the car. It is a good idea to leave room for cropping the photo on your computer.


If possible, it helps to move the car or car part versus the photographer walking around the item because we want to try to keep the lighting as constant and uniform as possible. To start, visually divide the car (and car part) into eight even pieces, kind of like a pizza. From a vehicle viewpoint, this gives you front, rear, drivers side, passengers side and then four three quarter views from each corner of the car. Try to frame the main selling points of the car or car part in the center of each photo. This is just enough to cover the basic photos buyers have to see. Next you can shoot up and down the side of the car highlighting the paint and bodywork. Then you further dissect the different perspectives available to you.


Having the vehicle or the part and accessory in focus is obviously important but this can be a little trickier when shooting parts and accessories due to depth of field. Take your time and check each photo to assure you are focusing on the selling points.


Pop the hood, photograph the engine and engine bay from as many angles as possible. Photograph the VIN, data plates and any stickers or labels. With the hood open, you may also want to photograph the corners of the car. Photograph inside the trunk, remove the spare tire and remove the liner or carpet to show the condition of the metal. Photograph the tool kit, the user manuals, extra equipment, and all the spares included.


Be willing to get a little dirty. Get down on a knee or even lay down at various places around the car. If possible, place the car on a lift, and photograph the undercarriage in detail. Work from front to back; photograph the drive train, frame, wheels, wheel wells, tires, suspension and any rust or damage. It is  important to get close ups of key features that are strong selling points all throughout the vehicle. Equally important is to be honest and document sections and parts of the car that are rusty or need a little work or repair.


  1. Interior angles and perspectives. Interior shots can prove to be a little more difficult mostly because you have far less room to work with. One idea to overcome this issue is to use a wide-angle lens if you have one.


Begin with an open door shot of the driver seat, steering wheel, and dash. The customer wants to know what their seat will look and feel like. Next, take the same photograph but this time try to fit as much of the interior as you can fit in the frame by backing up a little. Take the same open door shot for each seating position.


Now go back to the standard lens and zero in on details like the steering wheel, gauges, dash controls, pedals, center column, etc. Do not forget to shoot the headliner, carpets, door panels, arm rests, speakers, glass and other details you think the seller would appreciate seeing.


  1. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I know this was mentioned briefly above in #5 but discussing transparency and honesty bears repeating. Do not hide, blur or “photoshop” the defects or the Be honest right up front versus waiting or hoping not to get caught. Purposefully hiding, blurring, or digitally retouching the photos to hide flaws on the item is unethical.


As mentioned earlier, your photographs are documentation of the item for sale. Clearly shoot the condition of the whole product and if it is a vehicle up for sale, shoot the interior and exterior (top and bottom), trim, rubber, glass, dash, seats, carpets, etc. While you do not have to photograph every inch of the car or car part, the photos should be representative of the entire product or vehicle.


  1. Vary your perspectives and views. Like we mentioned earlier, be willing to get a little dirty. Bend, squat, kneel and get up on a ladder. Lie flat on the ground and look up at the car and look along the car from different heights and perspectives. Move way back, get really close, get creative. Something new that we are starting to see is people submitting videos from the perspective of a drone.


  1. Avoid filters or anything that creates a distorted image. Creative filters are fun to play with but when it comes to truth in advertising, we believe it is not okay for selling vehicles, parts or accessories. It is important not to be deceptive in any way shape or form.


We hope this article was informative, helpful and most of all easy to follow. Good luck. We look forward to seeing your amazing photographs on Avid Autos very soon.


    • gralion torile
    • June 09, 2022
    • Reply

    Thank you for the good writeup. It if truth be told was once a enjoyment account it. Look complicated to more introduced agreeable from you! However, how could we keep up a correspondence?

      • apnoakes@yahoo.com
      • August 15, 2022
      • Reply

      Hi, thank you for the positive encouragement and input. We are continuing to grow and look forward to more interested people like yourself visiting our site.

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