Selling your car online? Common in today’s world. Gone are the days where we put an ad in the paper and a for sale by owner sign on the car and hoped for the best. In its place is the more reliable Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and many other platforms. Here are some tips for photographing and selling online:
No vertical photos!
Vehicles are long. You cannot take photos of these vertically and expect them to come out well. If you fit the whole car in a vertical photo, you had to stand too far away. It also looks terrible on PC screens. In truth, you should be photographing/filming this way anyway (Precious memories look bad on TV when you’ve filmed them vertically) but especially so with car shots.
Use the rule of thirds
The rule of thirds is the idea that a photograph should be broken down into nine sections, and that the focus of the image should not be in the direct center but rather at one of the four points at which the nine sections intersect. This makes your photo more balanced and easier on the eye. This is a feature you can turn on and use on most iPhones and most Androids, so for a more detailed explanation of this photography method, Google how to turn this feature on with your phone and then some quick research on how this rule works (its an easy read, I promise.) All your photos, even the non-car ones, will look so much better.
Master the 3/4 Shot
The 3/4 shot is the best looking shot you can take of your car, and every OEM, dealer, advertiser and professional uses it. The 3/4 shot is one where you take a picture of the car at an angle, so this way you can see both the front fascia (or rear) and the entire side of the vehicle. Simply put, it shows the most real estate. Take two, one from the driver’s front side and one from the rear. Take these photos about six feet away, and if you’re tall, squat a bit. Lead with these photos.
If you’re going to block your license plate, just remove it.
There’s a bit of a trend going around the internet right now that when you sell your car, you block your license plate with your thumb in the picture. Despite possibly bringing the camera out of focus, it draws attention away from the vehicle itself, it blocks part of the vehicle in the picture and honestly, it looks kind of silly. Also, you aren’t exactly protecting your privacy very much because your tag is still very visible elsewhere in the real world. Blocking it online does not do much for you in terms of protecting your privacy.
If you feel you must prevent the internet from seeing your tag, just remove it for the pictures. It is likely just two to four Phillips screws.
PART II: THE SALE
It is best to communicate either with a throwaway email address or through a messaging app, be it Facebook Messenger (if you’re selling on Facebook Marketplace) or a third-party app like WhatsApp. Avoid giving out your personal phone number or an email address you care about.
If you’ve decided you’re going to make the sale, be sure to meet somewhere open. Do not meet at your house, even if the person seems nice! Being robbed of a car isn’t fun. Meet somewhere like a busy parking lot, or at a police station which has cameras at a designated selling place. If someone is hesitant to meet publicly, run.
Cars are big purchases and there are lots of scams going around with paying for them. Accept cash, certified check, or money order. Do not accept personal checks, business checks or payments via apps like Venmo or Cash App. Be wary of people who refuse to meet but offer to pay and bring a tow truck; this is a common scam where they’ll pay you, but the payment method bounces shortly after they’ve picked up the vehicle.
If the payment method isn’t something you can physically touch and immediately deposit, refuse it. It’s for your safety and the buyers too.
Any questions? Feel free to call Manchester Auto and Tire of Mint Hill, LLC at 704-545-4597, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or check us out online at manchesterautoandtire.com or on Facebook.