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What Is Car Studio Photography And Why You Need It

CAR
STUDIO
PHOTOGRAPHY

What Is Car Studio Photography And Why You Need It

Did you know that an average online car buyer visits merely 4.2 websites in their entire car-buying journey? Just imagine – an online buyer clicks on your website, amidst millions of online car sellers jostling for their fair share on the internet. Unless you can convince them to buy from you, all your efforts are for naught. Visuals are the best way to do that, which is why you need professional images shot in a car studio.

When people browse through your VDPs, they will immediately switch over to your competitor if they come across blurry car pictures that don’t give them a good look at the vehicles. You’ll end up losing a sale!

You can avoid this situation by using high-impact images, shot by a professional car photo studio (or perhaps other means… keep reading to know more about that). Research says high-quality visuals can boost sales by 65 percent more than any textual or verbal info on the page.

This blog will run you through everything you need to know about capturing top-quality virtual showroom photography:

  1. What is a car photography studio?
  2. Why are car studios important?
  3. The art of car photography for digital car showrooms
  4. Top tips for shooting the best car dealership photos
  5. Extra tricks – shooting interiors and exteriors for the virtual car showroom
  6. What’s next? smart virtual showroom photography solutions
  7. FAQs

Let’s dive in.

What is a car photography studio?

A car photography studio is an establishment where you can shoot professional car images. In simple words, it is a studio for car photoshoots, as the name suggests. Automobile retailers and OEMs often require high-quality vehicle pictures – for advertisements, promotions, sales listings, etc. – for which they turn to car studios. Usually, these workshops are run by a seasoned photographer (or crew) specializing in automotive photoshoots.

What is car photography studio

Plenty of car retailers all around the world employ third-party studios for their photography needs. However, they need to pay a hefty fee, and photoshoots can take hours. However, larger businesses (with hundreds of cars on their lots) usually build their studios and hire photography crews, which saves them time but increases their investment considerably. Many small-scale vehicle sellers get intimidated by the costs involved and skip professional studio photography entirely.

There is a smarter solution though – using AI-powered virtual studio photography. With it, you don’t need physical studios. Just click your pictures and the software will automatically edit and place your cars in a virtual studio environment.

Why are car studios important?

In this digital era, where appearance is everything to sell a product online, showcasing your product in the best way possible is what attracts customers in the first place. Car studios allow businesses to portray their product most distinctively and easily, much easier than in-house shoots. Taking the best technologies and state-of-the-art features, you can make your online digital showroom without spending much on the in-showroom photoshoots that require a professional team of photographers and video editors.

Not only this, but we have some more reasons to make you short to these photography studios, and those are:

  • Sharpness to your virtual car showroom. Eliminating skewed and blurry images prevent your website or dealership pages from losing credibility and maintain device responsiveness.
  • Relevance to car buyers. Buyers today are more purpose-driven and have clear expectations from their buying journey. Blurry images with unprofessional backgrounds are the biggest discontinuation for buyers, derailing them from their purchase decisions.

Apart from this, here are a few more benefits of having professional & appealing photographs of your cars on your website:

  • High-quality images are a vital part of the user experience. Research says human brains can process any image in 13 milliseconds as compared to any other form. Images reflect the professionalism of your dealership/car-selling brand and help buyers form an opinion about the product.
  • Car visuals are the only way to grab buyers’ attention. Humans possess an attention span lesser than an attention span. You generally get 10-20 seconds to hold their attention. Viewers scroll within milliseconds through 30-second TikTok videos and Instagram Reels if it bores them. Your website only has enough time to impress car buyers and reserve a place in their preferences.
  • High-quality car images are vital for enhancing your website’s SEO. By reading the captions of your car visuals, SEO bots/readers can match them with the search queries and show the same at their most prestigious and high-converting spot on the SERP: the snippets sections.

You need to keep one more thing in mind here. High-impact and converting images should not reduce the site speed. High-quality visuals are often too heavy to load and take a lot of time to appear on screens, which might frustrate the buyers. Ensure that images maintain both quality and loading time.

The art of car photography for digital car showrooms

A lot of things need to be in sync when you are shooting cars for your virtual showroom of cars. You need to perform each action perfectly, from capturing vehicles at the right place with the right lenses to editing, giving the car studio effects, and publishing bulk images on online pages.

Here are a few aspects of diving into and getting a better understanding of the art of digital car showroom photography:

1. Camera for the best virtual showroom photography

Camera for virtual showroom photography

You need to choose a camera that offers the maximum megapixel count and helps amplify every single feature of the vehicle. The more pixels, the more explicit the visual becomes. Additionally, you might need fast autofocus and frame rate while conveying motions. So if you want to shoot 360-degree spinning views, you need a full-frame sensor camera. However, this might be a heavy but one-time expense.

2. Lenses for the best virtual showroom photography

The selection of lenses will depend on what type of imagery you want to produce. There are different lenses for stationery and motion shots. Ensure that you can use a circular polarizing filter while capturing vehicles. Attach the filter to your lens and adjust until you find the desired angle. You can also try different filters and put them together during post-production editing.

3. Choosing the right outdoor background

Inappropriate backgrounds are the biggest discontinuity for a buyer. Your visuals cannot have a crowd crossing a busy street or some garbage dumped across the lane. Backgrounds should be clean and bring out the features of the car.

Also, keep in mind the nature and purpose of the car. For instance, jeeps and SUVs are sturdier and can survive rough roads. So the best place to capture such heavy vehicles is mountainous terrain or a little barren and deserted land. Similarly, people use luxury or vintage cars more in urban areas as a status symbol. Giving it a corporate background will help buyers more.

4. Car photo booth turntable for indoor shooting

Car photo booth turntable for indoor shooting

If you plan to shoot rotating car views indoors, you must set up a proper car photo booth turntable. With that, you’ll be able to shoot seamless spin videos of your cars for a 360 virtual showroom. And for that, you have to park the car over the turntable, get it spinning, and roll the cameras.

5. Flashlights to shoot car interiors

Flashes will help you light up the car interiors and capture the details with finesse. But be sure to use softer flashes to get good lighting while avoiding shadows. Sharp flashlights will leave reflections and shadows on shiny leather seats.

6. Light limiters

Almost all vehicles have a shimmering body with bright paint that catches and reflects light. It becomes a significant trouble spot, especially if you shoot outdoors during the daytime. Having a neutral density filter can help you by adding sunglass effects to your lens. Alternatively, you can also use a circular polarizer to reduce glare.

7. Understand the nuances of lighting

Lighting is the biggest roadblock in car photography, which helps you win half the game. There are several phases of lighting during the day. Avoid shooting in extremely hard lights. If you can’t manage during those hours, find a cool, shady place to prevent any shimmering effects on the car body while you shoot.

Also, if you are shooting vehicles for the first time, avoid doing special effects with strobes or flashes. If you are still interested, make sure to use diffusers or softboxes.

Top Tips for shooting the best car dealership photos

Best car dealership photos shooting tips

If you are new to virtual showroom photography, these tips will be a blueprint to kick-start your car photography journey. Good car photography calls for techniques and an understanding of the coordination among lighting, lens, and background. Acing the timing of these components lets you win half the game to get the best car pictures. Here are a few pro tips:

1. Get Long Lenses

Consider using long lenses like 70-200 mm f/2.8L IS to get full-frame shots. They will help you zoom in for motion shots and capture compressed perspective for static shots. Moreover, fast apertures like f/28 make it super easy to take pin-sharp shots and maintain zoom range.

2. Macro photography for car interior

For a vehicle’s interior, you’ll need to zoom in on notable design details to highlight them. The steering wheel, dashboard, etc., often have some intricate details that are worth showing off. That said, this isn’t true for all cars, especially affordable ones.

3. The circular polarizing effect

Polarizing filters attached to your lenses are one of the most powerful tools to capture the right car images. Polarizing filters help you eliminate all unnecessary reflections from the car body and puddles. You can also make the sky complement the car by filtering out the polarizing light.

4. Make smart use of the space

Placing cars in the right place in an image makes a huge impact. For instance, if you capture side views of the car moving from right to left, the best way would be to place the car somewhere in the right corner of the frame. It helps create an active space and adds life to the vehicle. On the other hand, placing the car in the center would create dead space, making images look ugly.

5. Identify the golden hours of shooting

Golden Hours is a vital factor for good photography. Shooting in hard lights will create unnecessary reflections and shimmering on the car body, making images highly unattractive. The best time to shoot cars outdoors is during twilight, that is, either early morning or sunset. The low angle of the sunlight will help you add warmth and texture to the image while dimming lights allow you to arrange the image elements.

Extra tricks – shooting interiors and exteriors for the virtual car dealership

Shooting interiors and exteriors for the virtual car dealership

Interesting angles, backgrounds, spinning views, etc., serve more like a head-turner, forcing the buyer to stop, notice, and engage. However, buying decisions depend on the images that capture the interiors and exteriors as they help buyers understand the condition of your cars.

So, it becomes critical that you put all your efforts into producing best-in-class car-studio-like interior and exterior visuals. Consider these few tricks while shooting the interiors and exteriors of a vehicle.

Interior photography tricks for virtual car showrooms

  • Try matching the color of the car interiors with the background since you would want to cover the scenery from the windows and windscreen of the vehicle. The surroundings and interiors should complement each other. For this, set the aperture at f/4 to blur the background through the windows.
  • Make sure there’s no wear and tear inside the car. If the edge of your leather seats is ripping apart or the leather covering of the gear is showing sponges, make sure to mend them all before you shoot. You won’t want to show a car that’s an absolute mess from the inside.
  • Don’t forget to light the car interiors. If you are shooting in daylight, the sun can create high-contrast areas, causing unnecessary dark spots in the image. Using a scrim and light bar, you can diffuse the natural light to some extent and create soft spots.
  • Focus on every little feature. Do you have a cassette player in that old vintage mustang? Or a headrest on the passenger seat? It can create micro-moments for buyers, leading to an ultimate sale.
  • If you are shooting at night, ensure that dashboards are well lit-up. You can try with timed exposure, focusing on a spinning tachometer. If you sell a modern car with LED accent lights, keep them on and try to capture different exposures.

Exterior photography tips for virtual car showrooms

  • If there are unnecessary elements in the surrounding, try to go for the bokeh effect. Widen the aperture lower than f/4 and concentrate only on the vehicle.
  • Use a pair of wide-angle lenses to increase the captured area in the image. They have a smaller focal length, allowing you to insert more background portions.
  • Play with the shutter speed and ISO to get an accurate exposure. If the light is sufficient, go for a lower ISO and faster shutter speed. If it’s dim, keep the ISO higher, but not so much to include noises and grains.
  • Deciding on image composition before shooting can help create high-impact visuals while saving time. Bracketing or taking the same scene with different exposure settings works if you want to monitor and manage composition based on exposure. Or you might combine several photographs into one to make a composite image.

What’s next? smart virtual showroom photography solutions

You are shooting car visuals with different angles, backgrounds, effects, rotating views, etc. Now, what is next? It’s the post-production phase – editing. Unfortunately, this is the most tedious and tricky part of virtual showroom photography. You either need professional editors who can process them manually, or you would need to install all the Photoshop or image editing software to do it by yourself.

Either way, it’s a time-consuming, expensive, laborious, and non-skippable part of virtual showroom photography. You need to ensure that these image carousels, videos, and other visual formats comply with the marketplace requirements and are not too heavy to load.

AI apps like Spyne are the solution

AI apps solution

Well, guess what? You can make this phase a breeze and chaos-free with AI-led virtual car studio photography. AI image editing solutions like Spyne offer numerous features to shoot and edit car images in the most hassle-free way. All you have to do is:

  • Download the Spyne app and open the app camera.
  • Follow the on-screen guide and ensure that the car fits the overlay sketch. It will help maintain accurate angles.
  • Choose backgrounds from over 100 marketplace-ready templates and apply the relevant ones. You can also upload a custom background of your choice.
  • Shoot 360 spin car videos to your VDPs to increase the visual appeal and showcase your cars in an even better manner
  • Once done, click on upload and publish images on your virtual car dealerships.

Spyne also offers virtual car studio API and SDK solutions for your business, which is an added bonus!

Want to learn more about how to produce car studio photos for your digital dealership without hassles? Dive into the benefits of AI-led virtual showroom photography? Reach out to us or book a free demo today.

Conclusion

Car studios are crucial for your retail business, as you need great images to strengthen your online presence. However, the traditional means are expensive and quite slow. In comparison, AI-powered photography and editing is much quicker as well as affordable. You can capture as many as 1000 images in one go with minimal retakes and errors and process them seamlessly.

The cherry on top: by making images marketplace-ready, you start cracking deals in no time!

FAQs

What cameras do car photographers use?

Car photographers usually use high-quality, professional cameras for shooting automotive pictures. Here are the top options:

  1. Sony A7III
  2. Sony A1
  3. Canon EOS R3
  4. Canon EOS R5
  5. Fujifilm X-H2
  6. Fujifilm GFX 100S
  7. Nikon Z9
  8. Nikon D850
  9. Panasonic Lumix Gh6

However, before you run out to buy a camera, be sure to set a budget, research thoroughly for all options in the budget, and check out consumer reviews of your options.

Why are car studios so expensive?

Car photography studios are extremely expensive because the equipment required for photoshoots – cameras, lights, crew, even the studio space itself – is costly. Also, the best studios have turntable floors, to get the perfect 360-degree spin video for your digital dealership. Renting out a studio can cost you anywhere between $200 to $500 an hour! Building one yourself might help you save costs in the long run, but it’s only useful if you have a large inventory size, enough to justify the incredibly heavy investment.

That’s why AI-powered car photography is gaining popularity among car sellers – you get studio-quality images at a fraction of the cost. It is quicker too, as you don’t need to drive your cars to and fro between the lot and the studio, and the post-processing is automated.

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