Automotive Photography: Tips for Domestic Car Dealerships


American car consumers spend more than half of their search conducting research online. When it comes to converting a site visitor into a customer, the difference can be made in just a matter of seconds.

How you convey your inventory, target audience, and corporate image has a significant impact on your dealership’s ability to attract a loyal, brand-specific clientele.

Grow your domestic car dealership by revamping your online presence with these automotive photography tips.

Establish a Color Scheme

You might have a wide range of hues and styles on the lot, but your website should be cohesive and representative of your brand. Choose images that compliment or correspond with the branding on your site or feed. 

Consider cars that have neutral paint jobs as well, such as black and white, to prevent an overpowering monochromatic look. 

Play around with similar shades, and keep in mind the background of the images as well. 

Automotive Photography

Use the Best Angles

No model is exactly the same, and every vehicle has dominant traits. Consider this when you’re choosing stock automotive photography for your branding. 

Sleek sports cars might look best in primary colors, whereas larger trucks might look best with dark shades and deep shadows. If you’re looking for the right photo for a high-powered V8, consider an open-hood photo to change it up.

This also gives dimension to your listings, and can influence the way the reader interprets the product as a whole.

Don’t Overlook Auxiliary Details

Buyers usually have a specific setup in mind when they’re picturing their dream car, so it’s important to reflect this fantasy in your marketing.

Chrome fixtures, custom interiors, and even appliances are important to highlight. Choose stock images or videos that feature a specific element, such as the tires or roof.

This is especially important for sport or limited varieties, as these features are often the reason for increased prices as you go up the product line.

Automotive Photography

Use Strategic Lighting 

The time of day in the photos you use on your website and print marketing materials can greatly influence the mood and overall feel of the page

Some models, like pastel-colored compact sedans, look best in bright, airy light. On the other hand, darker and more angular vehicles look great against a colorful backdrop. Every car and photo is different, but prioritizing lighting can go a long way when you’re building your stock image library.

In most cases, you can never go wrong with “golden hour.”

Seek Out Interesting Elements

Backdrop details might seem small, but minor elements can change the overall composition of the image. Added elements, like animals or even people in the background, can help you achieve a specific emotional response with the images you choose.

If you want to create a powerful and serious image, consider photos with a large building or overpowering structure in the background. In contrast, for a warmer touch, featuring a smiling driver or a pet in the passenger’s seat can give your listing or advertisement a more conversational touch.

This creative element is subtle, but extremely effective in building a specific user experience for your consumer base.

Automotive Photography

Incorporate Unique Shots

The last thing you want is for your webpage to look like a Classified Ad in the local newspaper. Instead of using the standard straight-on photo of the car’s side doors, think outside the box when it comes to angles and aspect ratios.

Consider stock images that feature fun effects, like a fishbowl lens or extreme vantage point. These photos are eye catching, which will encourage readers to stay on the page a bit longer.

Use Location to Your Advantage

Are you going for a local, home-town feel? Or, would exotic locations like Rio and Dubai be more representative of your brand? Be sure to take the locale in mind when sourcing stock automotive photography.

Many popular locations are known for their signature landmarks, which can be helpful when it comes to framing the vehicle around your brand. Or, recognizable landscapes can be used to create a specific mood. Beaches, for example, have a calming and mellow atmosphere. Rugged canyons or bustling cityscapes, on the other hand, might give off a more energetic vibe.

Another thing to consider is the audience you want to attract, and where they might see themselves in their new purchases. Sports car drivers might dream about the open road, and owners of a new 4×4 pickup truck likely plan on driving in less forgiving environments.

Automotive Photography

Fill the Entire Frame

The screen (or page) is your real estate and you want your images to make the best possible use of that space. The best way to do that is to pack as much punch into every stock photo you select to represent your dealership

Not only should you consider the framing of the vehicle itself, but also the composition of the background. The car might be in an amazing view, but if there is too much open space in the background it can completely throw off the feel of the image. 

Corner to corner, use every pixel to attract the attention of your audience until they take their eyes off the page. Vibrant colors, interesting landscapes, and impressive lighting can go a long way when it comes to marketing your brand.

Alternate Between Different Styles

Another common photography faux pas is using the same three shots throughout the entire website. Be sure to switch it up, and alternate between different angles, backdrops, and lighting styles. 

You might be trying to convey a specific mood or style, but that doesn’t mean that you need to confine yourself to one or two different editing aesthetics. Using a variety of design elements will create a cohesive theme without making your audience bored or overwhelmed as they’re making their way through the page. 

This also applies to the models you choose to highlight. Alternate between different manufacturers to show that your dealership provides variety – while also targeting your demographic.

A good rule of thumb is adding a contrasting color or style for every third image on your webpage, email template, or social feed.
Choosing appropriate stock images for your dealership brand doesn’t have to be a headache. Use these tips to choose the best automotive photography for your domestic car dealership.

EVOX Images leads the industry in automotive imaging and offers the largest library of virtual reality and augmented reality assets available for commercial use. Contact our team or call us at 310-605-1400 to learn more about our innovative imaging solutions.