Added: 03/06/2021 1:02 a.m.

Pictures speak louder than words and having great photos are key to selling a car online. These photos can be successfully taken with a professional camera or with your phone. Following the tips below will ensure you get the best images to help you get all the money for your RAD ride.


- Camera or Phone

- All photos should be shot in landscape (horizontal) mode.

- Use a lens polarizer if available (cuts glare and reduces reflections)

Shot horizontal with a lens polarizer in on an overcast morning


Car prep

- Clean your car. Wash the exterior of your car and clean the interior (vacuum carpets, wipe all surfaces and throw away all trash). Do not forget to clear out your trunk and make sure your engine compartment is clean and free of leaves and debris.


- Shoot outdoors in natural light. A diffused/cloudy day or during the “Golden Hours” sunrise and sunset is best. A sunny day works as well, but you should find an area with shade to shoot.

Shot during "golden hour" sunset



- The car is the star. Choose a clean uncluttered background to let the car stand out. An empty parking lot, a field or a wall, trees, or fence can all work. If shooting against an object like a wall, give the car a little distance between the wall to create separation between the objects.

Simple background. Car is placed away from the wall to create separation



- Step back. Give the car a little space to breathe in the frame and give yourself some wiggle room to crop the photos later if needed.

- Zoom in. The Human Eye is equivalent to around a 50mm lens (full-frame). Shooting pictures at 50mm or above helps flatten the image and minimizes distortion, making the car look how it looks to the human eye. A phone camera shoots anywhere from about 26mm-35mm in its standard-setting which means your image will have distortion (cool if you’re shooting a Beastie Boys video but not giving potential buyers an honest look at your rad ride). Tapping that 2X button on your iPhone will change the focal length to around 50mm, which will make the shape of the car look true to form and undistorted.

- Drop a knee. The door handle should be around eye level when taking exterior pics.

- Place the car on level ground. It looks best when cars are level with elements in the background.

- Be consistent. You should be shooting the car with the sun behind you, moving the car accordingly to get all the angles needed. A consistent background and lighting are ideal.

Car is level with all of the elements in the background



- Move around. Shoot pictures from both sides of the car, get in the back seat, sit in the driver’s/passenger seat.

- Take pictures of all the little details like switchgear, buttons, and any wear and tear.

- Get some wide shots of the interior (your phone is great for these because of the wide focal length)

Take wide shots like this and get some closer detail shots of switches, knobs, gauges, etc.


Engine compartment

- Take pictures from all sides and focus in on the details like stampings, headers, belts, hoses, etc.

Take a few wide shots of the entire engine compartment, and take a lot of detailed shots



- Using a lift to take photos of the underside of the car is ideal, but most of us don’t have access to one. You can shoot the underside of your car by laying on the ground and using a set of ramps or jack stands to give you a little better access.


- Do not over-edit the photos. Photos straight out of the camera will work great, but some light editing is always appreciated. Try not to get too artsy, but feel free to submit a handful of beauty shots that are more artistic/edited than the bulk of the photos.

This is a cool shot, but it doesn't tell the buyer much about the car. keep the artsy shots to a minimum


What to shoot?

- Print and use our Checklist to make sure you get all the pictures you need for a successful auction.

- Buyers want to see every square inch of your car, so take as many photos as possible. The more photos the better and you can never take too many. Think you’ve taken enough photos? Take 100 more just to be safe! We encourage you to send us 100+ photos.

- Show everything. Take photos of all the good, bad and ugly- every ding, dent, rock chip, rust bubble, etc. The more forthcoming you are, the more likely you'll have a good selling experience.