The Guide to Taking Pictures for Your Vehicle Listing

A picture is worth a thousand words, and it goes double for listing your car online. The pictures you take of your vehicle are often the first impression potential buyers will get when viewing your car. You car’s mileage, make, and year may have helped people find your car, but the pictures will help to sell it. Here’s how to make photograph your car to make it look its best.

Clean first, pictures second

Before you even pick up a camera, make sure your car looks the best it possibly can. Spend some time detailing your vehicle. Okay, so maybe your car isn’t as in good of shape as it was when it came off the lot, but spending some extra time making sure your car is ready for the camera will pay off in the end. This is something that you can do yourself with a little time and effort, but if you feel like you need that extra touch then find a reputable place to detail it for you.

Up your camera game

You don’t need the latest top of the line camera to photograph your car, but you won’t want to use that old Sony digital camera that uses floppy disks either (oh yeah, that existed). Many newer phones have cameras that will be just fine, but if you have a friend that has a DSLR camera or something similar then you may want to try and borrow it. Again, no need for tripods and crazy lens, but higher quality photos can catch someone’s interest and make your listing stand out among others.

Location and lighting

Carefully choose when and where you will be taking your pictures for your listing. Yeah you may have the nicer camera and spent the right amount of time on your car making it look nice, but taking pictures on an overcast day can cancel that out. And while convenient, taking pictures in your driveway with sheds, other cars, or your neighbor’s dog in the background can be distracting. Try to choose a bright, sunny day—just not too bright— to take your pictures and keep your background as clear as possible. Your car should be the only thing in your photos and everything should be bright and clear. If you are dying for a background, just make sure it’s relevant and interesting without being too distracting.

Capture your car’s good side… and all the other sides

When taking pictures, there’s really no need to try to take pictures from artistic angles. In order for potential buyers to feel like they’re getting a good view of the car, it’s best if you just take the pictures from a normal standing position. Be sure to take pictures from the front, the sides, and the back. Take shots of the dash, and the interior. The more pictures the better - some sources suggest that you should include at least 10 photographs. Even if your car has some blemishes (scratches, stains, or a bit of a lived in look), it’s a good idea to include pictures so that you don’t waste your time with potential sellers that won’t be interested once they see the vehicle in real life. When you list your car, it makes sense to list the best pictures first and the minor blemishes in later pictures so that people can see your vehicle in all of it’s great glory first - but still also see any potential imperfections.

The devil is in the details—or lack thereof

When you list your car online, it's important that you take pictures of every aspect of your vehicle. has a great list of things that you should capture, inside and out, in the many photos you should take of your vehicle. But here’s the thing: you shouldn’t just take pictures of the good. Online buyers want to know the whole story of your car, not just the bright and shiny parts. Sure they may have questions about that scuff on the bumper or the ding in the passenger door, but it is better to address those concerns before your potential buyer sees the car in person. Not only will you be saving some time by ensuring you have a truly committed buyer, but they will also appreciate the honesty and trust you more.

Don’t make the cardinal sin of vehicle listings

Please, for the love of motors, do not use a factory image of the vehicle. That’s one of the easiest ways to lose credibility. Your car probably won’t look quite as good as it did when it rolled off the lot with a brand new layer of wax but that’s okay! Authenticity and credibility are supremely important when it comes to attracting buyers.

Now that you have the tips and tricks to best portray your car, it’s time to list it! Check out Trusted Car Sale’s all-in-one platform for the way to list and sell your car.