Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Army Jeep Photo Briefing

Sell your Jeep with these seven simple secrets!
By: Tom Smith

So you've got a one-of-a-kind War Jeep to sell and you're ready to place a free classified ad on WarJeeps.com. But wait - you're not a professional photographer. How are your photos going to turn out? Will potential buyers get the right idea of your Jeep's condition?

Regardless of what you say about your Jeep, photos add a level of authenticity your words just can't. Let buyers see what your Jeep has to offer with these seven quick tips for photographing your Jeep.

1. Check your camera
This angle is perfect on this '42 GPW and would be
on any Jeep.

Before you take a photo, be it with your smartphone or handheld camera, be sure to give it a once over. Although there may not be too much to go wrong, at least make sure the lens is clean. No one's gunna see how beautiful your restoration is if there's a huge thumb print over your lens.

2. Opposing corners

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then get your money's worth! Taking a photo straight on of the front, back or side of your Jeep shows that one side great, but could you show more than one side at a time?

This CJ2A would look much better
if we could see all of the front end.
(Just turn camera horizontal).
Whenever I shoot for WarJeeps.com I make sure to always get a photo from one corner of the vehicle, then the opposite corner. That way I know I have the front and one side and the back and the other side in just two photos. This will give a potential buyer a well-rounded idea of what kind of shape the body is in.

3. Composition

Before you release that shutter, take a quick second to look at more than just the center of the frame - more than just your Jeep. What's in the background? Is there a telephone pole awkwardly placed so it looks like it's coming out of your Jeep? Here's one of my pet peeves: is your finger showing in the side of the picture (and I don't mean to hide the license plate)?

Make sure all of your Jeep is in the frame! When you "cut off" a part of your truck, it makes tension in the photo. A buyer may also wonder why that portion was cut off. Whenever I take a photo I always look around the edges of the frame to be sure there is nothing that will distract a viewer from the subject I want them to see. 

4. Get low or high
This M715 looks awesome from down low.

The better your photos, the more likely your Jeep is to sell. When your audience is looking up at your Jeep from a low angle, it looks more powerful or commanding (and thus in better shape). Not only that, but they might get a better view of your beautifully restored undercarriage too.

You don't want your Jeep to look just like every other one listed for sale. At the very least, a low or high angle sets your Jeep apart from others. Try standing on a stool or (sturdy) chair to give your photos some perspective. Don't just take your photo standing next to your Jeep. Crouch down or grab a step stool to find a unique angle.

5. Interior / Engine Photos
It would be a shame if buyers didn't see the engine in this
'43 GPW.

What's inside counts. It's a shame to see a great Jeep for sale with just one photo of the exterior. What's it look like inside? How's the engine holding up? Take a moment to show your buyers what they want to know, even if you've already written it down.

A buyer needs to know what may need work in the future. Even if your engine compartment or interior isn't the cleanest, it's better for a buyer to see it before they show up. Another good idea is a plain photo of the undercarriage.

6. Location, Location, Location

Although it may not seem fair, what's behind your Jeep helps sell it. There's a reason you don't see cars in magazine ads pictured in front of an ordinary home garage: a destination adds flavor to your photo. That is to say, it helps a buyer imagine themselves in your Jeep or what they can do with it. Often you'll see Jeeps on WarJeeps.com pictured in front of a western landscape or a mountain range. Let's face it, that makes it look a lot better.

Who wouldn't want to drive this M422A1 
Mighty Mite around that landscape? 
Maybe you don't live in viewing distance of the Rockies, but any backdrop is better than none. Go to a local park or maybe a historic street to give your Jeep a more attractive setting.

7. The little things count

It wouldn't be the best idea to only photograph the things that may be wrong with your Jeep, but you also don't want to ignore them. If there's a particular dent or patch of rust, take a photo. Let the buyer see that it really isn't that bad.

This works the other way too. If there are subtleties that can help sell your Jeep be sure to show them off as well. 

At the end of the day, there's dozens of techniques pro photographers use to represent their subject in the automotive industry. But regardless of where you are and what camera you are using, these seven secrets are fast and, mostly, free. So show WarJeeps.com viewers exactly what your Jeep has to offer.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tom, I met your dad on New Jersey Transit going home from NYC one evening. It was his hat that caught my attention. Anyhow, we got into taking vehicles and he spoke volumes about your photography and sent me a link to this article. My photography passion is shooting all sorts of vehicles from concours level to the local vehicle grave yard in Morrisville PA. While I'm not shooting to sell and auto or jeep, your tips are spot on. Reminds me of the low and high and angular shots that I take. Just wanted to say hi and thanks for the tips. Brian Wagner cyclewag@gmail.com