The Value of a Good Photo

I took pictures of our rusty Chrysler minivan and sold it one day after advertising on Craigslist. A good picture at the right angle can make a $400 car look like $4000. Take, for instance, this 1997 SAAB 9000 Aero. This picture was taken just after going through a $5 car wash. Everything looks shiny and the trees make it look like the owner lives in a nicer neighborhood. First impressions make a big difference.

P.S. Sometimes my pictures have been too good. When the buyer arrives, his idea of the condition may be better than actual. But that’s where the description comes in. This particular car has some rust and other issues. But it sure looks good. Hopefully, the good looks of the car in good pictures will bring in the customers — which is the biggest hurdle to cross. Once they are in, half of the battle is won.

Photography 101 : Indoor Lighting for the Front of the Car?

Now that we have 6500k lighting above the car, how do we remove the shadows at the front or rear of the car? At the beginning, we used portable lamps with 500 watt daylight balanced bulbs. But those bulbs burned out rather quickly and honestly they didn’t do a whole lot for the car. We need something stronger that will light up the features of the car from a horizontal aspect without washing out the car or putting more light reflections on the car.

As I was driving back from Pennsylvania yesterday, I stopped at the Sheetz gas station in Meadville, PA. After purchasing supper, I walked back to the car and saw the same dilemma. The lights from the top lit up the top and sides of the car but not the grill. But what if there was another set of lights hung right above the front of the car? Would you they give enough light to take care of the shadows? See the pictures below for the results.

WP_001593 (2) WP_001594 (2)

The first thing I noticed was that the grill has more light than before. But does it make enough of a difference to hang an extra set of lights above the grill? In the imperfect situation at the gas station, it did take away some of the shadows but not all of them. I am wondering if hanging an extra set of lights at an angle would bounce the light off the floor and into the shadows and grill. What do you think?

light bounce

Difference in Lighting

Take a look at the following shots and see the difference floor lighting does for this Mercedes-Benz GL450. The first one was taken with the light stands turned off. The second was taken with the light stands turned on and each having a diffused 500 watt day light temperature bulb. The third was taken with the stands turned on without the diffuser. Do you notice a difference? Which looks best? What would make the picture look better?

No light stands
Light stands with daylight temperature bulbs and diffusers
Light stands with daylight temperature bulbs without diffusers