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10 simple steps to photograph your car for sale

Ferrari 458 Aperta

It's time to put your best wheels forward as you show the world what makes your motor so special. But it’s not just about presenting the perfect details. It’s also about highlighting the imperfections too. And that’s what Meccanista is all about, being upfront with the truth, while celebrating the uniqueness and greatness of your motoring machine.

Below is a simple step-by-step guide to help you produce the best images for your car. You don’t need a professional photographer, and you don’t even need a fancy camera. But you do need to follow some simple steps, and Meccanista is here to help.

Ferrari 458 Aperta


Nobody wants to see the meat pie crumbs from your recent road trip. But they do want to see your car at its best. Start with a deep clean of the interior. Remove any clutter or rubbish that isn’t to do with the car, then give it a thorough vacuum and wipe down. After that focus on the exterior, with a good shampoo wash, dry and maybe even a spot of wax. We don’t expect your car to be professionally detailed, but bonus points if you do. What matters most is your car being as spick and span as possible.

Ferrari 458 Aperta


Cars look their best when photographed outside, in natural light, rather than a carpark lit by fluorescent strip lights. If it’s pouring down, you can always wait a day or two for it to clear. The outdoors will bring the right focus to your car. After all, it's their natural habitat!

Ferrari 458 Aperta


You could be forgiven for thinking the brighter the better, but unfortunately this can bleach out the colour of your paint and erases all the beautiful angles and curves of your car’s bodywork. To get the best light, try hitting the ‘golden hour’, an hour after sunrise or an hour before sunset, when the light is less harsh. If you do have to take photos in the middle of the day, try to find some shade beneath a building or perhaps some trees with good leaf coverage.

Ferrari 458 Aperta


Your car is the real hero here, so make sure the background isn’t distracting. The simpler and less busy the background, the better. Consider finding a quiet location free from unwanted distractions. An empty laneway, park or outdoor car park. All these locations can offer the opportunity to photograph your car in peace.

Ferrari 458 Aperta

Look out for those pesky electricity poles, rubbish bins, shopping trolleys or anything that might pop up in the back of the photograph. You don’t want someone looking at those when they should be admiring your car and thinking how good it will look in their driveway.

Ferrari 458 Aperta


OK, your car is clean, you’re outside, the light is good and the background is simple. So far so good! It’s time to start shooting the exterior. The best way to shoot automotive photography is horizontally. Whether it’s a photograph or video. Never vertically. Leave that for your selfies.

Ferrari 458 Aperta

First start on the driver’s side. Stand back enough so you’re capturing the entire car, and make sure you leave space for cropping the front and back. Try to position the driver’s door handle in the centre of frame, and about 1/3 of the way up from the bottom.

Ferrari 458 Aperta

Next photograph the passenger side, each of the corner angles of the car, as well as taking direct shots of the front and rear. You should now have a full 360 degree series of shots of the exterior of the car.

To try and keep the light consistent throughout, you should remain in the same position; give or take a metre here and there. When you want different angles, rather than you move, move the car instead.


There’s lots going on in a car’s interior, so it’s important to slowly capture it bit by bit. Open the driver’s door and then position yourself so you’re capturing the seats, steering wheel and dash. Focus on the detail. There’s no rule on how many shots this might take, so long as you’re leaving nothing out.

Ferrari 458 Aperta

Then move more closely into what the dash is displaying, the gauges, speedometer, kilometres done, etc. The cover of the dash is going to be highly reflective, so alternate your angle so you’re capturing less light bouncing back into the camera. Then you’ll get low and photograph the pedals. When you’re confident you’ve captured everything on the driver’s side, move over to the front passenger side. Capture the carpet, the inside of the door, the handles, the glove box, and any detail you think is relevant.

Ferrari 458 Aperta


Let’s get that bonnet open and have a look inside. Make sure it’s clean, and free from everyday debris, like leaves and twigs. We don’t want anything to detract from the engine. The first one should be from above, capturing the entire engine, and then from each side. After that you can move closer and focus on the details, similar to the interior shots. As you move in closer be sure to capture the small details like engine stamps, unique markings, bonnet stickers, and anything else you might think a potential buyer could be interested in.


Ideally, you’d put the vehicle up on a hoist and shoot the underneath, but we know this isn’t always possible. If you don’t have access to a lift, then get down as low as possible, pointing the camera upwards. This is easier said than done but try your best. Start at the front and work your way back, photographing as much detail as possible. Including the chassis, engine, transmission, sump, suspension, exhaust etc. If there’s any rust, or any damage, it’s important you capture that too. Remember this is all about honestly presenting your car’s true character, warts and all.

Ferrari 458 Aperta


As mentioned, this is about your car’s true character, the beauty, and the not-so-beautiful parts. It’s about being a straight shooter and revealing the flaws. Rip the Band-Aid off now rather than waiting for it to be discovered during the auction or even worse, afterwards. And digitally retouching photos in any way, especially to hide the truth, is unethical and is not allowed. Show what you would want to see if you were looking to buy your car. Be direct about its best and worst features.

Ferrari 458 Aperta

Don’t be shy when it comes to taking photographs, the more the merrier – we’re looking for 100+ great shots of your car. Remember to photograph the VIN, data plates and stickers and labels.


Anything relatable to your vehicle is important and needs to be photographed, including any relevant documentation. When it comes to the car’s service records, we suggest you lay them out like a sprawled deck of cards and take some photos from above looking down. If you can capture all the service stamps, this can be helpful. Make sure any personal information is blocked out before you take the photo. And capture any accessories or toolkits the car comes with, along with spare keys, manuals, etc.

Ferrari 458 Aperta

Please also photograph your registration paper and receipt of sale. It won’t be posted publicly, but we might need it for vetting purposes.

Ferrari 458 Aperta

And lastly, it’s not a race to take photos as quickly as possible. Take your time and remember these shots are to give the best and truest representation of your car. And when you’re staring into that viewfinder, look for anything that shouldn’t be there. You’re better off taking a second to get it right, by wiping off that bit of dirt or repositioning yourself to remove that electricity pylon in the background.

Happy shooting.


To help you capture all the shots you might need, use the below as an easy checklist to print or have on your phone. Then mark them off as you go. Not everything will be relevant for your car, but this will help as a good guide.

Beauty shot close-up
Beauty shot far away
Beauty shot from low angle
Beauty shot from high angle
Driver-side side view
Driver-side 3⁄4 front view
Driver-side 3⁄4 rear view
Passenger-side side view
Passenger-side 3⁄4 front view
Passenger-side 3⁄4 rear view
Head-on front view
Head-on rear view
Wheel arch exterior front/rear, left/right
Wheel arch interior front/rear, left/right
Beneath driver door
Beneath passenger door
Under car from front, back, left, right
Seams and gaps
Trim pieces
Chrome pieces
Lights off & on
Exterior and interior plastics
Wheels and tyres
Glass details & stickers
Exterior problem areas

Seats from driver-side
Seats from passenger-side
Stitching/seat details
Steering wheel
Dash overall
Dash detail
Glove box closed
Glove box open
Belts detail
Door cards, driver
Door cards, passenger
Instruments with lights on
Digital functions
Interior lights
Floor beneath carpets if removable
Trunk with carpet
Trunk without carpet, showing spare
Trunk empty, without spare
Interior problem areas

Engine, underside etc
Engine bay
Engine bay, driver-side
Engine bay, passenger-side
Engine bay details

Records & accessories:
Handbooks & manuals
Service records, service stamps
Accessories, such as, wind deflector, jack, toolkit etc
Any included heritage information
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