Displaying Your Cars Today

January 4, 2010

Well.  Here we are in 2010 already.  Happy New Year to all of you.  I can feel the positive energy now that the debacle year of 2009 is over.  Time to start fresh and show everyone what we are made of.

Today I am going to give away some of my secrets about how to display your vehicles online.  OK, maybe they’re not secrets, but I really want my dealers to shine when they list their cars on the internet.  This is some of my thought process.

When you were a child and your mom told you to pick out a book at the library, what kind of book caught your eye?  Did it have a lot of big colorful pictures?  If you answered “no” to that, then you have been a geek much longer then you think, not that there’s anything wrong with that.  I was definitely more interested in the pictures than the words.  I didn’t really start getting into reading for fun until I was 43.  (by the way, I am 42)

We are no different now than we were then, when it comes to shopping.  Pictures are paramount to catching our attention.  I think you see where I am going with this.

Lets take a few minutes and shop our own website.  Better yet, let’s shop Auto Trader or Cars.com or…….[enter your preferred website here]

Customers see the pictures FIRST.  They may have some idea of what they are looking for and search for specific vehicles, or they may not have any idea and search for certain types of vehicles.  What will make you stand out in the crowd?  Your pictures.

Here are a few pointers for your vehicle photos.

When it comes to your website, consistency is important.  All your first pics or “main photos” should be the same.  A front quarter shot is what I recommend.  Some people like to start on the passenger side because the car points to the right, which is where the vehicle info is most of the time.  I like to start on the driver’s side because that is the first thing the driver sees when he/she walks up to his/her car.  Either way, you want the car look inviting.  Pull it out of its parking space and point it directly at the sun.  This way, this car is the focus of this picture.  It is OK to have other cars in the background.  You would be surprised how many people see another car in the background and go searching for it specifically.  Also, by pointing the car at the sun, you get even lighting down both sides of the car and prevent yourself from casting your shadow on it.  You can turn the wheel one rotation away from you for a little extra pizzazz.  Make sure your camera is at about the same distance from the ground as the side view mirror.  For proportion, if you have room, step back a bit and zoom in on the car.  This prevents that “fish eye” effect.  Make sure the car is centered in the frame from top to bottom and side to side.  Keep the camera level with the ground.  Don’t tilt it.  That effect is great for magazines photo shoots, but customer’s don’t like to have to tilt their heads to look at their computer screens.

 Not like this

 Like this!

From there you can be creative or do the same shots for every car with the exception of those couple shots reserved for “unique to that vehicle” equipment.  Keep in mind, being creative will cost you more time and can get sloppy if you are not disciplined with your camera.  The pressure of someone calling you away will have a definite impact on the quality of work you put out.  My advice?  Do the same pics for every car.  You will get into a rhythm after a few cars and the work will go much faster.

Here are  links to a couple of cars we have done for a dealer that I think are pretty good.  Are they perfect?  Probably not.  But are they better than their competitors?  I think so.
Lexus Coupe
Lexus Sedan

Feel free to “copy” the way we do pictures  for our dealers.  That goes for lot service companies as well as the dealership doing it themselves.  We can ALL benefit from doing it right.

If you would like more help to get this part of your process right, let me know.  I can help you.

Happy New Year!


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