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What is the best looking setup/stage (floor, backdrop, lights) for taking pictures of vehicles in yo

Discussion in 'Vehicle Merchandising & Inventory Software' started by Autofair Honda, Nov 15, 2010.

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  1. Autofair Honda

    Autofair Honda
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    Sean
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    We are currently upgrading our used car photo area. Our current setup looks like this:

    Used 2006 Honda Accord 2.4 For Sale | Manchester NH

    We just put in that gray floor (you'll see some of our other cars on our site have an old black and white checkered floor), and now plan to upgrade our lighting system and our backdrop.

    The main issues with the lighting is that we need to make sure we have enough light, which we currently don't have. Plus we need something to diffuse the light (and we want day-light balanced bulbs). We don't want lights reflecting on the car's surface like they do right now (those flourescent lights reflection look horrible in my opinion). So essentially we're trying to come up with the cheapest solution. Softboxes are not cheap, and using a slightly see-through sheet is cheaper but not as effective. Plus we'd have to hang it over the floor above the car and not sure how this would work. Anybody have any good ideas for this?

    Next is the backdrop. What I want to do is put up a nice black curtain (kind of like movie theater style). I've simulated this effect in photoshop in this picture:
    http://imgur.com/KhwQ3.jpg

    I think that looks VERY classy. Black might not be the best for black cars, so we were thinking maybe a dark gray color, but we actually have more dark gray and silver cars than anything else. Plus with the proper lighting I think we'd be fine with a black background. Any comments on this?

    Anybody have any great ideas? Or examples of dealers who do a really good job with their cars? Let me know. We currently use Dealer Specialties to take our pictures and they use a decent Nikon D3000 (its a DSLR). So we have to have a setup that our DS rep can easily work with and is pretty painless. Don't want to have to constantly move lights around, etc.

    I'm sure plenty of people here have experience with this at their dealership/previous dealership. What would you do if you were in charge of this? I'm looking for any and all ideas!!!
     
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  3. Deliala

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    I like the black much better it makes it more classy.
     
  4. DrewAment

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    Lund Cadillac

    Probably one of the better set-ups I have seen. If you notice that the vehicle is on a rotating platform...so you dont have to "move" the car. Really nice.

    I have seen this similar set-up with a powered platform connected to a floor-foot switch, so you can rotate the vehicle as needed. SWEET!
     
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  5. joe.pistell

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    ty Drew, good heads up!
     
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  6. Alex Snyder

    Alex Snyder
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    They do a very nice job :thumbup:

    Just a couple of photography things of note for anyone who wants to go down this path. Look at the interior lighting - it is about 2 shades darker than your typical product-photography lighting. With a car like a Corvette this works well because it creates an drama (sorry for using that cheesy word) that appeals well to the buyer of this car. Which bring me to another point: know your audience. A Corvette buyer is not a rational buyer (nobody needs a Corvette), so setting things up for emotion is the way to go:


    • Dramatic lighting
    • Shallower depth of field
    • Creative angles

    I wouldn't take this approach for the average Camry buyer. I would apply more traditional product-photography methods here:


    • Bright lighting to show everything
    • Everything in focus (f11 to f22)
    • Square angles that are predictable

    Doesn't mean you can't have some fun with things on a car purchase that might be lesser based on emotion, but your audience isn't as easy to pinpoint on these cars.
     
  7. DrewAment

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    So you are saying that a Camry is boring? LOL All the more reason for the Dramatic lighting, Shallower depth of field, and Creative angles!! I guess Camry people are square and predictable? LOL Sorry....couldn't resist.

    On a serious side, Alex is right on, know your audience. This dealer really sells experience.

    FYI - they do have a Camry in the inventory, but it hasn't been shot yet - they charge more - and the photos tell you why. Watch the site to see what I mean.

     
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  8. Alex Snyder

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    YES!!!! Extremely boring. And the people who buy them don't like to drive - you know who you are. And to take this further off topic I have to say that Toyota was genius for recognizing that most people don't like to drive. Most people just want to get from A/B in comfort, safety, and reliability.

    The rest of us like to do it with our hair on fire and blue lights in the the rear view :devil: (just kidding). However, if it weren't for those Camry buyers, I wouldn't have my college education. So, thank you Toyota drivers....now just move to your right when you see bright LED's coming up on you too quickly :D
     
  9. dwhitemd

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    I came across a dealer that is doing it in a unique way. The shots are all taken in a white room, but they have found a way to completly remove the background - so it's just the vehicle against a solid white background. (Nothing to detract from the vehicle?). At first it almost looks like a stock photo, then you notice the dealership license plates, etc. I don't know exactly how they are able to do this. They are currently only taking 10 or 11 photos per vehicle (definitely too few - IMO), but as far as consistency and overall quality it is way above average.
    Dealership: Steven Toyota in Harrisonburg, VA
    Link to one of the cars: http://www.steventoyota.com/used/Chevrolet/2008-Chevrolet-Equinox-d4aad0e40a0a006400052c6f86a858de.htm
    (you can enlarge the photos)

    ~ Dave
     
  10. Autofair Honda

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    I imagine there must be some photoshop work on the Steven Toyota shots.... that would be WAY too much work. We do 16 pictures per car and have over 100 used vehicles in stock. But it is very unique and interesting....
     
  11. whitlock

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    Looks like they are using a vanishing wall and a large overhead lightbox. You can still see the texture in the floor as well as some fluids. Evenness of the lighting looks like it is diffused from overhead.
     

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