If you’re like me and addictively browse KSL Cars, you’ve probably noticed that some listings look better than others. How is it that a listing can have thousands of hits while similar listings only have a few?
When it comes to creating a listing on KSL Cars, good photos make all the difference. Poor photos make your listing less appealing, prolong the selling process and lead to skeptical buyers — and that means less cash in your pocket.
The good news? You don't have to be a professional photographer to take your listing to the next level. In fact, it’s easy, as long as you know a few things.
To help, we’ve compiled some simple tips and tricks for taking photos that will make your car sell faster.
Clean It Up
Before you go outside on your lunch break and haphazardly take a few photos of your listing, spend some time and money to make your car look like a million bucks.
Get it washed, vacuumed, cleared of clutter and dusted. Got swirl marks? Spend some money on paint correction at a specialized detail shop like Envision Detail.
The efforts you take before you start snapping photos will go a long way toward impressing buyers. Seeing a clean car will not only instill more trust in you as a seller but will also motivate buyers to check out your car over other listings.
More Is Better
As a general rule, more is better when it comes to listing photos. Don’t just snap one or two from your driveway and call it good. Rushed and careless photos will leave potential buyers dissatisfied and distrustful of you as the seller.
Best advice? Take photos from every angle, inside and out. This will leave nothing to the imagination of potential buyers.
Location and Timing
When taking photos of your car, the location and timing are key elements to a nice-looking photo.
Midday might sound like a good idea, but the harsh lighting will make your photos look washed out and unattractive. Late evening is also not ideal, even if you are using a flash.
In photography, there is an ideal time for taking photos called the “golden hour.” This time is centered around the short window right before and after sunrise, and right before and after sunset. Photos taken at this time are more likely to look vibrant and warm, which enhances the appearance of even the most ordinary vehicles. Overcast days also are ideal for taking photos, as the light is more evenly dispersed.
The selection of your shooting location is also key to getting noticed. Rather than snapping a few photos in your driveway or the office parking lot, try to find a space that won’t be distracting. This could be an empty parking lot, or in front of a brick wall, or even somewhere in nature. Avoid having distractions in the background, such as light poles, trash cans and especially other cars.
Exterior Photo Tips
After you’ve selected a nice place to park and the lighting is good, it’s time to take some photos. Chance Hales, a professional local car photographer, had this to say about taking photos of your car's exterior:
“Take pictures from the front, rear, sides, and three-fourth angles of each corner. Hold your phone sideways (landscape style), not vertically. Then take pictures of the wheels and tires. Point out any curb rash or damage. If the car has any known dents, cracks, scratches or rock chips, be sure to point those out — do not try and hide them. This gives the buyer trust in your listing because you are being upfront about the imperfections.”
Interior Photo Tips
When it comes to interior pictures, Chance said: “Park the car in the shade. This allows the light to be even across the interior. Make sure the car is clean inside. Take the front pictures from the top rear corner of the open door so you can see the entire dash and steering wheel. If the car has back doors, simply take a photo looking across the back seats. Do this from all doors of the car. Include a picture of the odometer. Include photos of any stains, tears or other wear or damage in the interior.”
Once you have photos of the exterior and interior, be sure to include photos of the engine and trunk. Again, make sure they are clean. Engine bays and trunks are places that many sellers don’t consider cleaning for pictures, so making sure they look fresh will give you a leg up on similar listings.
Going Above and Beyond
If the car you’re selling is a sports car, a collector car, or a car that is going to draw the discerning eyes of enthusiasts, finding a shop with a lift that will let you take undercarriage photos will help that car sell faster. Take pictures from underneath of things like the suspension, differential, exhaust and any areas of concern like rust spots or corrosion.
If you are charging a premium for your listing, consider hiring a professional photographer to document your car. When commanding high prices, every aspect of your photographic representation matters in ensuring you get every dollar out of the sale.
Regardless of the asking price or condition of your car, well-composed, thorough, honest images are always the standard and will help your car sell faster than the competition.
About the author: Having owned everything from a DeLorean to an E46 M3 to a Toyota Land Cruiser, Jason Bell is a lifelong car enthusiast who loves sharing his passions as a teacher, writer, speaker and social media manager. Contact him at email@example.com for comments, questions or just to say “hi.”