The concepts of flexibility, instant gratification, and convenience have crept into every facet of our lives as consumers. We can buy anything online thanks to services like Amazon, Walmart, and other major big-box retailers. Now, contrary to what many may…

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1 COMMENT

  1. As someone who runs a photography business solely dedicated to outdoor, onsite website photos, I find it _extremely_ difficult to sell dealers on quality photos. It astounds me that, they’ll spend millions on a nice facility instead of a pole barn, they’ll spend thousands of dollars on a website instead of hiring a 16 year old in his/her parent’s basement. However…when it comes to that singular moment, when the customer’s “first impression” is formed, when they view a vehicle they’re interested in, what do they get? Snapshots. Just snapshots. Period. The dealer will throw a dusty, Walmart point-and-shoot “camera” or cellphone “camera” at the lowest ranking salesperson and tell them “go shoot some pictures”. And that’s what they get…snapshots. Some will fall prey to companies who promise “above average” or “industry standard” plus “professionally edited” and, at best, they’re just average. Nothing more. I recently spoke with the COO of such a company. He told me that his photographers take about 50 seconds to edit the 20-some photos they take of each vehicle. I’ve used Photoshop for 22 years, doing color correction on vehicles and it takes me about 10 _minutes_ to edit my 26-28 photos/vehicle. 50 seconds Vs. 10 minutes. (And I used a Nikon D5300 DSLR for a few years before just upgrading to a Pentax K-1. I don’t keep upgrading my equipment to impress anyone but I upgrade because my dedication and skills as a photographer allow me to move up.)
    I’ve worked in auto advertising since ’93 and was lead in going all digital photos for a regional used car magazine in ’96. In 2012, amazed at the poor quality of 99.9% of the dealer’s website photos I’d seen, I launched my own company. I was sure that, #1:Dealers found taking photos a real pain and #2:Once they saw how good their vehicles looked, taken by someone who “gets it” about the “first impression”, it would be a no-brainer.
    Incredibly, it’s a given, among auto dealers, that their photos suck but the website is a hook to get them on the lot.
    I’ve looked at Carvana’s website. Their photos are awful! Colors are washed out, interiors are dark. Even light colored interiors are dark. The nature of the 360 cameras used for interior photos, naturally distorts the view, giving you a “fish eye” view. That’s completely inexcusable in my world!
    Why…why are dealer’s set on snapshot pictures? I compete with a 300 person company, based in New Jersey. I have yet to see any of their photographers touch my work. I am completely committed to shooting and editing my work, to easily allow the customer to imagine themselves inside. My colors are dead on, my photos are sharp and corrected for any lens distortion.
    I “get it” that _I_ am the “first salesperson” the viewer will encounter when they go to one of my customer’s websites. _I_ am the first one to show a customer all around their next vehicle. That’s partly why I’m appalled at the lack of quality in dealer’s website photos. My work forms the “first impression”. And, if a buyer should visit my customer’s lot and decide they want to go home and think it over, I get that they might look at my photos and, dang it!!!!, my photos dang well better look exactly like what they saw in person!
    I keep on my phone, a quote by business guru Tom Peters that reads, “Success is about executing what you are doing today with unquestionable, breathtaking excellence!”. That’s what I aim for.
    Yes, there are photographers out there, who have the luxury of placing vehicle in a picturesque setting, lit with perfect lighting who do much better work than I but, for onsite, year round (sunny, cloudy, misting) outdoor photography, I humbly and sincerely have yet to see anyone match, much less excel, at what i do.
    I wouldn’t make such a claim if I didn’t have thousands of photos to back it up. I make nothing extra from you visiting my customer’s websites. (BTW, I only charge $12/vehicle. Hardly a dent in a dealer’s profit margin. I get my own lists of what needs photos from the dealer’s inventory management website, move the vehicles myself, shoot them, put them back, edit and upload the same day.)
    For examples of what I do…every…day…of…the…year, go to Thornton247.com and click on either the Dover store or the Chevy store or the York store. While my business, Krepps Specialty Images, has a Facebook page, I don’t have a website because I won’t be accused of “cherry picking” the best of the best. What I give my customers _is_ the best I can do that day.

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