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Digital Photography

Nothing sells a car, truck, motorcycle, powersport vehicle, or a boat like a great series of photographs. In fact, people buy vehicles on eBay Motors all the time without driving them — but not without seeing them. In fact, buyers who feel confident they're seeing the true condition of a vehicle buy more, pay more and tend to be more satisfied with their purchase.

With a digital camera, you'll create the type of virtual "walk around" of your vehicle that will build that level of confidence. Following a few basic steps, you'll put together a professional presentation in no time:
  • Prep the vehicle.
  • Follow simple but effective photographic techniques.
  • 360° Coverage – Shoot the entire vehicle, inside and out.
  • Upload and edit your photos ASAP.
Prep the Vehicle
You want the vehicle to look its best before photographing it. Wash it. Wax it. Vacuum it. Polish the chrome. Wipe down the dash, seats and other surfaces.

Photographic Techniques
Taking photos for your eBay Motors listing is simple and straightforward. Following a couple of pointers about composition and lighting will dramatically improve your shots:
  • The vehicle should fill the frame of the picture.
  • The background should make it easy to see the vehicle — dark backgrounds for light vehicles, light backgrounds for dark vehicles.
  • The background should be "un-busy," with no distracting patterns.
  • Shoot early or late in the day when the sunlight is generally best; mid-day light, when the sun is high, makes for "flat" photographs with less definition.
  • Shoot with your back to the sun and watch for shadows, including your own.
  • Shoot every exterior shot at the same time – with the same lighting – for consistent vehicle appearance and photo quality.
  • Use a flash for interior, engine and trunk shots.
The key to creating a consistent-looking listing is to get every shot you need at relatively the same time. In fact, it's wise to shoot more than you'll need, realizing you can edit your shots down when you post them.

If you're not sure if you took a good picture of a particular angle or feature, shoot it again, even a couple of times, making sure you "cover the shot."

360 Coverage
The "showcase" of your listing, the photo gallery you create of your vehicle is probably the single most-compelling sales tool you'll have. Make sure you take shots from several angles, creating a virtual "walk around" for the online customer, including:
  • Every angle of the exterior.
  • Shots of the interior, highlighting the seats and dash.
  • Odometer and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
  • Engine.
  • Trunk.
  • Any special add-ons, accessories, or features denoting trim level.
  • Close-ups of any dings, dents, stains or other damage.
  • Wheels and tires.
  • Motorcycle gas tank
  • Boat motor
  • ATV engine and suspensions

To save time, fill out a copy of the Passenger Vehicle Listing Checklist as you photograph the vehicle.

Make sure you shoot at least 12 to 15 clear, well-lit pictures, circling the vehicle for a 360° view. In addition to straight-on shots of the front, back and sides, include "3/4" shots showing the vehicle from multiple angles. Also, do the best you can to avoid showing your own reflection in the car panels, chrome or hubcaps.

We suggest you use a flash when shooting interior shots. Buyers find photos of the interior very important and insightful, but shadows and bad lighting can make pictures very difficult to see online.

Also, make sure to shoot all the vehicle-specific, interior details buyers really want to see. Especially items that help identify optional equipment, trim level and condition.

Engine Compartment

Buyers like to know that the engine has been maintained and is in stock condition. This is especially true of older and collector vehicles. Two shots of the engine compartment – one of the whole area and one close up of any details – are usually enough.


eBay Motors' Top Sellers don't try to hide problems — they fully disclose all information. Notable issues that should be disclosed include: dents, rust, interior damage, missing or inoperable parts, rips, tears, faded paint and scratches.

A considerate, helpful touch when shooting dents and dings is to place a ruler or dollar bill next to the flaw to provide perspective on the size of the damage.

Uploading and Editing
We recommend that you upload your digital photos before building your listing. This will give you an opportunity to edit them, choosing the clearest shots to create the type of detailed, accurate view of the vehicle that customers expect.

As for uploading your photos, eBay's standard Sell Your Item (SYI) Form does let you display up to 24 super-sizeable photos per listing ($2.00 fee), but many of our Top Sellers use listing software like CARad instead. In addition to dramatically reducing the time required to manage your eBay Motors listings, the CARad software allows you to:
  • Create highly-effective, professional-grade listings in minutes.
  • Upload as many as 35 photos per listing — instantly.
  • Edit out shots as you upload them.
  • Track your eBay Motors listings and manage your entire inventory easily and efficiently.
  • Manage your email and maximize communication with customers.

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Jason Rebholz, Internet Sales Manager, Bobby Rahal Motorcars, Wexford, PA.
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