Perhaps you need photos of your car to attract attention to your vehicle listing on, for an online sale ad, or to simply show off your ride. Car photography is a lot more involved than just point and shoot, but we’re here to help. Here are five tricks to capturing an image that will draw the viewer’s the eye.

Time is of the essence.

Shooting in full sun can cast unwanted shadows.

All types of paint react differently depending on the time of day with different light, but most colors don’t capture well in direct sunlight. Full sun can cast distracting shadows, cause blinding reflections, lens flare, and wipe out or even oversaturate a car’s color. Sometimes shooting in direct sunlight is inevitable, but there are ways to make a great photo under the beating sun, aside from merely moving the car into a shady location and avoiding shooting directly into the sun. If the shadows are too harsh in your image, try stepping back and shooting a wider photograph. If you have a flash, use it to lighten the shadows and heavy contrast that the sunlight causes. Take advantage of the digital age and try photos with and without the flash, and from different angles, to see which turns out best.

Shooting during overcast days, or at sunrise or just before sunset make for the best natural lighting.

As another alternative, photographers use reflectors to splash more light on a subject’s shadows. Using a neutral density or circular polarizing filter will also reduce reflections and help you gain control over the colors in your photo. Such lens filters are typically seen on DSLR cameras; however, several options are also available for iPhone users.

The best time for photos is at sunrise or just before sunset. The light becomes golden or orange, which encourages a warm and inviting feel. The effect can be used to your advantage depending upon the color of the car and the mood you are trying to achieve.

Watch for reflections.

Be mindful of your reflection.

Capturing that perfect photo to realize later that you can see yourself (or others) in the car’s reflection is frustrating. As you are taking the picture, be mindful of what reflections you see. Gleaming, glossy paint and chrome finishes act as a mirror and will reflect anything, and reflections that do not belong can interrupt the car’s lines and shapes. Wearing dark clothing will help prevent unwanted reflections. Performing complex yoga moves to keep yourself out of the shot might look ridiculous to outsiders, but giving up a little dignity for that perfect photo is a small price to pay.

Follow the rule of thirds.

Try to line up your image to the grid.

The rule of thirds is a visual guide that both novices and professional photographers swear by. It’s a quick way to ensure your shot’s composition is pleasing to the eye. Apply this rule by aligning the subject with the guide lines and intersection points, by placing the horizon in the top or bottom line, or by allowing the image to flow from section to section. Most digital cameras have an option that will activate these guides in the viewfinder. For those who are working from their phone, there’s an app for that: Search for “rule of thirds.”

Take pride in your photographic eye as you move around with the car in the camera’s frame to see what angle and position compliments the vehicle. Generally, photos shot from a low angle (knee height or lower) will make the image look more dramatic. If you can, bring a ladder to capture a whole new view from above the car.

Plan ahead.

Plan ahead for what you will use for your background.

The background of an image will make or break a photograph, so it’s best to plan and have a photo location in mind. The chosen surroundings should line up with the car and the theme or feel that you are trying to portray. Avoid having things in the background that will distract the eye, such as dustbins, bits of trash, power lines, and other vehicles. Bring a broom with you if you might have to sweep debris away from your shot. A background that’s too busy can distract from a vehicle’s curvaceous lines. Simple backgrounds, such as a sunset, winding backroad, or an old barn or brick building, help call attention to the car in your photo.

Pan for motion blur.

Adjusting the shutter speed will show the motion of the wheels.

Some of the most eye-catching photos come out of motion photography. The easiest way to capture motion in your picture is by standing next to the road while another person drives by in the car. In a DSLR camera, set your shutter speed to 125th of a second, and then follow the vehicle with your lens in one smooth motion while you snap the photos. Adjusting the shutter speed will show the motion of the wheels and blur the background as you pan with the car. Phone cameras do not have as much setting adjustability, but you can still get a similar effect.

Once you captured all the eye-catching photos that your vehicle listing on can handle, upload them on to your listing and choose your favorite to be the title photo. The title photo is the first image that interested renters will see, so it should be the one that’s most likely to inspire them to click on your listing.

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