ABC of taking great photos for your online car listing


Posted by: Joshua-Philip Okeafor

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Trying to sell your car online? Then you know taking great photos for your online car listing is half of the job. See this article for great tips on how to do that. See now!

Buying and selling everything online, cars included, is the new normal. One of the best ways to attract potential buyers to your online car listing is taking great photos for your online car listing. Always, pictures speak more than words, and it’s easier to see missing details from a picture than can be deciphered from a car description.


A great picture bring instant attention to your car listing

The thing is though, taking the perfect photo is not always as easy as pointing your smartphone at it and clicking. Like everything else, there are rules for photography.

Below are some fantastic tips to take the best possible snapshot for your car online listing. We have made a detailed list of the essential things you need to keep in mind. Here you go! 

1. Have a clean car

The number one secret touch to having a perfect car picture is to have your car cleaned before the picture session. It’s not just about randomly cleaning your car with a few swipes of a rag.

Have a professional car cleaner wash the car for you. You can still do it yourself if you chose to, provided you use a detergent or car cleanser that won’t strip the car of its natural color.  You may thus damage the different types of car paint on the car that might be expensive.

The wash also needs to touch all the hidden places inside the car.

A clean car brings out the beauty of the car and its color so that when you take a picture of it, it illuminates the qualities, making it attractive to the eye.


A clean car is a good looking car, so do the needful!

2. Good camera 

Even if you have a good looking car that is clean and shiny, a bad camera can make it look really bad. This is why we recommend that you use a high-resolution camera for taking your car pictures. You don’t have to buy a new camera for this; a good smartphone camera can do the trick.

Nowadays, phone manufacturers are producing classic phones with a quality digital camera. Therefore if you are using an old phone or an outdated phone, try to update it. If you don't, be assured that your pictures will look blurry or washed out.


Some of the best cameras these days are found right in your phone

3. Test photos

The first pictures of the car you take should not be your final picture(s). Be ready to take numerous pictures of the car before concluding on the one you will be using for your online car listing. Take experimental test snapshots to determine your best location, angle, color, and camera quality.

4. Perfect Location

There is always something different between a picture taken inside and one taken outside. Taking a picture of the car you want to sell in a garage will make the vehicle look different from what it really is. To get the perfect shot, take the car outside or to a location that looks less cluttered.

Nature has a way of enhancing any object's natural beauty; thus, you should use it to your advantage. We advise you to take your car pictures outside where there is natural light.

Also, people can sometimes fix their attention to the background objects in a picture, thus look out for location with fewer cars around your car to avoid diversion of attention.


The best location should be well lit without distracting background objects

5. Wait for the perfect time 

You know all those stunning pictures of a particular object with the setting sun as background? Well, the photographer chose his time wisely. Of course, we are not saying use the setting sun as your background for your car listing.

The best picture should be bright and well illuminated in near natural or natural lighting. However, not all-natural light is good for getting the perfect picture. Early morning or midday sunlight may brighten and can be used for sunbathing, but it can slightly change or alter your vehicle's actual color.

Therefore, it’s best to take your picture at the ‘golden time’ to avoid excess lighting. The perfect time to take pictures is before sunrise or half an hour after sunrise. This prevents glare or too-shiny appearance in your car pictures.


The best time should not have excessive sunlight or glare

6. Avoid shadowy reflections 

Shadows can give unflattering dissecting lines to the car pictures and cause an ugly background to your image. This will make it look different from the original car. Avoid shadowy reflections of either the car or any objects around the car. Also, avoid shadows on the body of the car.

7. Take several angles 

To give the buyer the best-detailed look of the car, shoot or take your pictures from as many angles as you can. Take pictures from the front, back, the sides, and each corner of the car. Also, don't forget from above and even into the engine.

A shot from headlight height gives the car an excellent view and perfectly brings out the designs. Moving closer (not too close) when taking your pictures can also show off many details. If the picture is too far, you can also crop it with your phone. 


The more your angles the better the buyer can see

8. Avoid adding a flash

Phone flashes can help enhance your picture clarity, especially if you are in a dark room or place. However, when taking car pictures outside, there is no need for flash lighting in natural settings. The flash has the potential of altering the color of the vehicle.

9. No photo filters 

No matter how tempting the photo editing app or software you have on your mobile is, never edit the pictures you take for your car listings. Filtering or editing the photos can make the picture look so unreal. So, with car pictures that look too good to be true, your buyers may take you for a fraudster.

10. Do not neglect interior images and cool features.

First of all, you should know how to keep a good, clean car interior always. That way, when you need to sell the car, it will look fresh and new.

Interested car buyers do not just focus on the exterior of the car but also on the interior. You might describe what your car's interior looks like, however, having pictures of it says more than words, how it actually looks.

Additionally, it would be best if you took pictures of the cool features of the car. Take features like the touch screen, GPS, custom leather seats, spacious trunk, and interior, or most of the higher technology features.

Sometimes, some interested buyers may not believe it when you list them out, but having a picture of it can be convincing.


Make sure your interior pictures are well lit and shown to the best advantage

11. Wheel angle

You can get a more classic view of your car by being more dramatic when taking the pictures. For instance, from the angle of the wheel-tire—the angle at which the wheel of your car stands. This can improve the car's look in the image.

Again, instead of snapping the picture of your wheel straightforward to the direction of where the camera is positioned, turn the wheel in an angled direction or move the wheel of the car away from the direction where the vehicle is pointing. Buyers want to see the look of the rim and not the rubber of the car tire.


This dramatic angle makes your car look inviting and ready to go!

The video below will give you a few more pointers:

Video: How to shoot CARS! 5 tips to better Automotive Photography!


The above makes selling used cars in Nigeria a breeze. The customer is able to see the car at its very best, leading to a sale.

Finally, taking great photos for your online car listing does not require you to be a professional photographer or even hire one. Applying the methods listed above can give you final professional pictures for your car listing online.

>>> Enjoyed this? More car buying and selling tips from

Joshua-Philip Okeafor

Joshua-Philip Okeafor

Car buying & selling

Joshua, or KK as friends call him, is a Filmmaker, Writer and Director. A Christian, Joshua is a product of Nigeria’s foremost film school, the National Film Institute, Jos, where he majored in Writing/Directing. Joshua began his writing career at age 18 when an older brother gave him a four page outline of a children novel. Joshua intends to keep writing and directing. His screen name is sometimes Joshua Kalu Ephraim (Writing), and sometimes Joshua KK (directing).

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