If you take great pride and joy in the car you own, face it, you LOVE your car! Of course you will need photos for insurance, but what’s better than getting great shots of your “baby” to share with family and friends? Why not do them both at once? Let us teach you the why’s, what’s, and how’s of taking memorable pictures of your beloved car!
Why do you need photos?
On a standard car insurance policy, the value of a car is usually based on its age not on the selling price of the vehicle. This means that if you get into an accident with your classic car, you will most likely get nothing from your insurance company. On a classic car insurance policy, you will receive an agreed value should your car be in an accident. The insurance company will ask for photos of the car and using these photos, the value of your car will be based on its condition and how cool it is!
What photos do you need?
That depends on what kind of car you have. If you have a stock car or motorcycle you will need one exterior side shot. If you have a stock pick up, one exterior side shot and one shot of the bed will be required. For all modified cars, classic car insurance companies ask for four photos. One of the exterior, one of the interior, one of the engine and one of the open truck or bed if it is a pickup.
Now that you know what pictures you need, what is the best way photograph your car? You’ve put time and energy into these cars so you want to show them in the best light.
- Research – Take a minute to go online and look through car photos so that you can see what you like and don’t like. There are several car photographers on Flickr and you can even ask the photographers questions about how they took their photos.
- Equipment – In photography, the photographer is more important than the camera. A good photographer with a bad camera can take better pictures than a bad photographer with a good camera. However, equipment can make a difference so while you don’t need to purchase a new camera just to take these pictures, you should use the best tools you have available to you. If you own a better camera or you have a tripod in your attic, pull them out. If you have a friend who is a photography nut, see if you can borrow some equipment. You use the best tools available to you when you’re working on your car so why wouldn’t you do the same when taking photos of it?
- Find a place – Think about how the location will affect the photo. You want the focus of the picture to be the car, so you should avoid locations with distracting scenery. A parking lot or a busy sidewalk in the background will distract from the car. You can even use the background to accentuate your car. A background color that contrasts with your car’s color will make it pop out and lines in the photo that lead towards your car will draw the eye to it. Finally, pay attention to the lighting in the area. How the light affects your car will depend on its color but the best lighting for most cars is just before sunrise or just after sunset. Stay away from your camera’s flash because it creates a harsh and unflattering light.
Taking your picture
Once you have done your research and found your equipment and location, you are ready to take your pictures. Take your time with this, there’s no need to rush something so important. The best way to make sure that you get a good photo is to take multiple photos from several different angles. Try both vertical and horizontal shots and take pictures from various locations. A simple photography trick called the rule of thirds can help you make your car the focal point of the photo. Imagine lines dividing your camera screen into thirds vertically and horizontally (or if you have the photo grid feature, turn it on) and adjust your position so that the car sits on one of those lines. Look at your pictures while you go so you can get an idea of which angles are better than others and shoot more from those angles. Don’t stop until you have a few photos that you love.
Sending in your photos
Most classic car insurance companies allow you to send in photos by mail or electronically. If you choose to send by mail you will have to print your photos. Using glossy photo paper will make the car look better than printer paper would so choose your favorite photos and either print them on a photo printer or have them printed at your local convenience store. Be sure to print them in color! Hardcopy photos will not be returned so if you want one to keep, print another copy for yourself. If you are sending them electronically, use the highest resolution possible. Lower resolution will make the photos blurry and after you went through the work to take good photos, you don’t want your car to look any less stunning than it does in real life!