How to photograph your car so it will sell on Ebay :: Digital Photo Secrets

How to photograph your car so it will sell on Ebay

by David Peterson 3 comments

So, you want to sell your car on Ebay? It’s a tough market, and buyers are very skeptical, but you can make it happen with a lot of hard work. Aside from being as candid as possible about any defects or imperfections in your product, a few “glamour shots” of you car can really help to seal the deal. In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know to make your car look more appealing to otherwise wary buyers.

Change the background

Most Ebay car photos could use a lot of work. They all have one problem in common. They’re taken in front of the most distracting backgrounds imaginable. Driveways are nice for storing cars, but they’re not so good for taking pictures of them. By simply moving your car somewhere else, you can get a much better image.

Try to find natural locations without a lot of clutter in the background. If you can position your car so there are no power lines, houses, fences, or people to distract you viewer, you’ll have a winning shot.

Sometimes you don’t even need to move your car to do this. By simply changing your camera angle, you can get a different perspective that’s much less distracting. Try zooming in. Try shooting from ground level. When you’re creative, there’s bound to be an angle that shows off your car’s curves.

Shoot your car just after sunrise or right before sunset

That’s when the light is the best. During these hours, light comes from the side, and it provides a warm glow that truly brings out your car’s colors. If you’ve moved your car to a more natural location, the light will make the background much more colorful as well. Your car will be practically irresistible in front of bright orange autumn trees or a bluish-green mountain backdrop.

Fill the frame with your car

I always say this about taking portraits, and it applies to taking pictures of your car as well. The closer you get, the less distracting your background becomes, and the more you can focus on the car itself. If your digital camera has an optical zoom, zoom in a little further or walk a little closer to the car before snapping the photo.

Or don’t, but make sure your background is still interesting

You don’t always have to fill the entire frame with your car. If there’s something interesting in the background, you might want to keep it. A good example is a winding road that draws the viewer’s eye out of the photo. Have a look this one:

Notice how the front of the car is completely in focus while the road trails off into blurriness. Your eye is drawn to the car, but it’s still free to wander around the rest of the frame. A photo like this isn’t meant to show your buyer what he or she is getting. It’s window dressing to attract attention to your listing. You are showing your buyer the possibilities that come with your car. Do you know who else uses this technique? Makers of car adverts on TV. How often do you see cars touring through the forest, or racing down an interstate.

Don’t forget to address your buyer’s concerns

Most people who are considering purchasing a car off of Ebay are very concerned about scams. It’s nice to have a few good looking pictures of your car, but honesty and a willingness to communicate is much more important. If you car has any rust, dents, or other imperfections, it is your job as a salesman to communicate those problems to your buyer.

Be as thorough as possible. Leave no minor issue untouched. Open up the hood and snap a few photos, take a picture of every little rust spot, and then take a few more pictures while zoomed out to provide even more context. Your buyers will be looking at all of them.

Most cars that actually sell on Ebay have over 30 pictures in the listing. You’ve got to realize that your buyer is about to make a substantial financial commitment, and he/she wants as much information as possible. You also need to be open to having buyers inspect your vehicle, getting a carfax report, and allowing your buyers to cancel their bids if they don’t like what they see upon inspection.

I know that’s not really photography advice, but it will go a long way towards helping you make the sale. You’re not a professional used car salesman, so don’t pretend to be one. Take the nice shots, but be honest enough to reveal all of your car’s flaws.

Good luck!

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  1. jhv says:


  2. ronald says:

    very interesting methods to selll items on ebay may have to try this most cameras prefer low quality on computers

  3. Michel says:

    Hey this is very convenient as a friend of mine wants me to sell her car.

    Thank you very much!


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About David Peterson
David Peterson is the creator of Digital Photo Secrets, and the Photography Dash and loves teaching photography to fellow photographers all around the world. You can follow him on Twitter at @dphotosecrets or on Google+.