How to photograph your car for resale

If you’ve ever spent a lazy Sunday afternoon going down the rabbit hole of used car websites, you’ll know that there is often a filter option for vehicles with pictures. Quite bizarrely, perhaps, some people think that selling a car based on description alone is going to do the job. One can only wonder at the type of person who ever enquires about buying such mystery vehicles. The facts are that how your car looks is half the battle. People will convince themselves that a high mileage or a questionably high number of previous owners or even an undesirable MPG is absolutely fine as long as the look of the car exceeds their expectations. 

With that in mind, let’s take a look at how to photograph your car to increase the chances of a rapid sale at as close to the full asking price as possible (and if you have any dents due to a collision, be aware that you can sue the other driver).

Saturation and exposure

Most of us are not professional photographers, meaning when we require photographs, we will likely use the built in camera on our phones. You’ll notice that modern photography apps come with a range of baffling settings, including saturation and exposure. Now, a well presented photo or two can help to speed up the sale of your vehicle by catching the eye of as many potential buyers as possible. So, pay attention.  

Exposure comes first…

This is how much light is ‘allowed’ in the image. A high exposure will drown out any details, whereas a low exposure will look dull and unattractive. For example, imagine taking a marker pen and writing your name on a high powered light bulb. When you switch the light on, you won’t really be able to see your name very well – the light will engulf most of the lettering. Now imagine doing the same with a low powered light bulb. You’ll be able to read your name, but it won’t look as well lit as it could be. 

Now let’s cover saturation…

This is how bright the colours appear. Try to achieve a saturation that is slightly brighter than real life, as this will show off the car in the kind of midday summer light that will make people look twice. If the saturation levels are too high or too low, the buyer will spot the editing and won’t believe the colour shown in the image is a true representation of what’s really on offer. 


This is a no-brainer, yet something that people get wrong all the time. People want to know that the car they are buying from you reflects their status ambitions. This means people are more likely to react to a vehicle shown outside an expensive looking spa than they are to a car parked on a curb outside a run-down corner shop with a smashed window. Simple.

Research your angles

Simple is simple for a reason. Simple gives people what they want on a plate. How many times have you viewed photos of second hand cars that were taken from experimental angles? Some are taken from upstairs windows, some are taken from the ground, some groups of photos show angles of a car that never include a side on shot showing the length of the car. Don’t be that photographer. Find the photos you like to look at and copy the angles.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *