Cars are the most difficult ‘products’ to photograph. Especially when there is little space around the car and your backdrop is a glass wall of your showroom. The glass functions as a see-through mirror. Through the glass you see what’s inside and on top of that, it also mirrors yourself, parts of the car, or other things behind you such as passing cars, or text on buildings on the opposite side of the street.

Last weekend it happened to me too: I was photographing a gorgeous Ferrari 458 Italia in front of a glass showroom window. So what, you might think: “it’s a Ferrari, it stands out no matter what!” Well, not in this case: this 458 was silver with a high gloss black roof. An excellent colour-combination, but in front of glass showroom window harder to picture than you might think.

Examples of annoying reflections

These reared their ugly head when i was back at home editing the photos. On my large monitor in 2D you notice other things, compared to when the car is in 3 dimensions in front of you. In some cases you use a few software tricks to lessen the reflections, but without thorough Photoshopping you won’t get them out completely.

The background itself may not be too distracting in a good (used) car picture: the worst you can have is a white car in the showroom directly behind the glass when ‘doing’ a black car in front of it. Also a white car standing behind you will appear as a reflections in the showroom window. Check the example below.

A too reflecting background is also disturbing, as the car has also reflections of objects in it’s paintwork, especially when it’s black or another dark colour. On top of that a car also has a lot of different curves, they create a lot of extra reflections and mixed together with the glass wall, it makes a confusing image. Even when the has matte paint, a reflecting background is still disturbing.

The solution

Simple: find another place to photograph your cars. Please note that your car images will be viewed by thousands of people when you publish them on the internet, so the extra 30 or even 60 minutes spend extra to create the best photo area possilble for your cars. If there is really no other place on your lot than in front of that big window: remove all white or light colored cars and in some cases it helps to place your car on an angle to the glass, so it’s not exactly parallel anymore.

What do your future customers want to see?

You don’t produce nice photos for that reason alone. Your photos must be informative, clear and attractive. They need to have a wow-effect and show the design, equipment level and the condition of the car at the same time. All attention needs to be focused on the car, so the only thought a car-shopper has, is: “I want this car, NOW!” With more online inventory than ever before, your photos are increasingly important to convert car shoppers into car buyers.

So, no what?

Should you be encouraged to look for other photo area options on your lot or forecourt. Please contact me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or email me directly at We can set-up a video call on skype, where we can discus your various options.