Have you ever attended a family function, a car show, or a race intending to capture all those special situations that arise through the course of the event only to realize when you got home that you missed many of the best opportunities? That same scenario can easily present itself during a restoration.
It’s understandable. You get so involved with what you’re trying to finish that you forget to take photos of the most consequential and satisfying accomplishments. Since I’ve done the same thing on projects large and small more times than I care to recall, this article is offered simply as a quick reminder for you to immortalize in pixels certain magic moments during your car’s restoration before they sneak by unnoticed.
These photos can make the album you show to family and friends or display with your finished car at shows more dynamic and cohesive, and they can do the same for the project thread you may decide to post online.Keep in mind, however, this article isn’t about listing every item you should shoot to document your restoration, such as the overall teardown and the sub-assemblies to show how they came apart, so you have a guide for putting them back together.
It’s also not covering all the photos you should also take of special markings to replicate, or the cleaning, stripping, repairing, repainting, and reinstallation of most of your project’s powertrain, chassis, body, and interior parts. Instead, these are the big moments not to be missed. The ones where you want to take a moment to really capture what’s going on
Your lead image is important as it will be the first thing viewers see when browsing Hemmings Auctions, Hemmings Classifieds, or anywhere else you might try to sell your vehicle. A search might show potential buyers the listing for your vehicle, but a subpar picture could keep them from clicking and reading more; the automotive shopping equivalent of swiping left, in modern parlance. It’s best to make your car stand out.
Selling a car on the internet means you’ll have shoppers looking from a long distance, and photography is a critically important part of any online auction or classified listing. A picture is no longer an enticement for an in-person viewing, and good photos can make the difference between a quick sale at a good price versus months of inaction and lowball offers.
We’re here to help. In the first of a seven-part series on photographing your vehicle for sale, we’re covering the steps to take before shooting, like preparing the car and finding a suitable photo location. To get the most interest and top dollar for your car, read on. For more advice, find the rest of the series on our Car Photography 101 tag page.
Do the little fixes, then clean—and clean out—your car
Make all the quick fixes the car needs
Clean your car inside and out
Don’t just stop at the interior and exterior, show some love to the engine bay and trunk
The first step to good presentation of your car is preparing it for photography. Your car should be auction ready even before you submit it, and even if you’re only posting a classified. Needs a small repair, but “it only takes a few minutes” and you already have the part? Well, spend the few minutes and get it done. Leaving those repairs for the next owner keeps potential bidders away and invites hagglers to talk down your asking price
A realistic painter as well as a photographer, Sheeler rarely failed to uncover harmonious coherence in the forms of indigenous American architecture. His series of photographs of the Ford plant near Detroit was commissioned by the automobile company through an advertising agency. Widely reproduced in Europe and America in the 1920s, this commanding image of technological utopia became a monument to the transcendent power of industrial production in the early modern age.
Ladle on a Hot Metal Car, Ford Plant 1927
Charles Rettew Sheeler Jr. was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He attended the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Art from 1900 to 1903, and then the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, where he studied under William Merritt Chase. He found early success as a painter and exhibited at the Macbeth Gallery in 1908. Most of his education was in drawing and other applied arts. He went to Italy with other students, where he was intrigued by the Italian painters of the Middle Ages, such as Giotto and Piero della Francesca. Later, he was inspired by works of Cubist artists like Picasso and Braque after a trip to Paris in 1909, when the popularity of the style was skyrocketing. Returning to the United States, he realized that he would not be able to make a living with Modernist painting. Instead, he took up commercial photography, focusing particularly on architectural subjects. He was a self-taught photographer, learning his trade on a five dollar Brownie. Early in his career, he was dramatically impacted by the death of his close friend Morton Livingston Schamberg in the influenza epidemic of 1918. Schamberg’s painting had focused heavily on machinery and technology, a theme which would come to feature prominently in Sheeler’s own work.