Sell Your Car Online: Step 2, Using Pictures of Your Automobile Correctly

Sell Your Car Online: Step 2, Using Pictures of Your Automobile Correctly

Selling your car or truck online is a great way to put it in front of potential buyers. In step one of this series, titled “Sell Your Car Online: Step 1, Taking High Quality Pictures of Your Automobile“, you learned how to take great quality pictures of our vehicle.

The second step in placing an ad is selecting the pictures of the vehicle you want to use in your listing. Remember the hypothetical situation from step 1? Using multiple pictures in your listing can give the potential buyer loads of information about your vehicle before the buyer even reads the first word about it.

You must choose the correct combination of pictures to display with your listing for maximum effect. If you followed the directions in step 1, you should have at least 15 to 20 pictures to choose from. Group the pictures into categories depending on the angle (for example: front, left, rear, right, front right, rear left, under the hood, interior, etc.). Then select the best picture from each category and discard the rest.

Now you should have a group of about 7 to 10 high quality pictures. Comb through these pictures and select the ones that, if displayed together, would show the most detail about your vehicle. The goal is not to overwhelm the potential buyer with tons of photos showing the same details, but to display great photos of different areas of the vehicle that convey the overall condition of the vehicle.

A great example of photos to use is: front driver’s side, rear passenger’s side, under the hood, interior, and any after market add-ons to the car. You should use at least 4 photos with each listing, but feel free to use more.

After you select the correct photos, you need to edit them. Most auto classified web sites have a maximum file size for photos you can upload with your listings. The highest quality settings for digital cameras can be anywhere from 1 MB to 5 MB per photo and greater depending on the camera. So what do you do if the photos you take exceed that size? You have to edit or resize them. But before you do that, you need to know how images are displayed on computer monitors as opposed to print.

High quality images displayed on the web are actually low quality when printed. Computer monitors display images at 72 DPI. A good quality printing will be 300 DPI or greater. A photo displayed on a monitor at 600 pixels (8.33 inches) wide will only be 2 inches wide if printed on paper. To get a good quality 8.33 inch print on paper, the photo will need to be at least 2500 pixels wide. This is a big difference in file size (and download time).

The optimal size for photos on the internet is approximately 600 pixels wide by 400 pixels high. If your camera can’t take pictures this size, even in the lowest quality setting, you will have to manually resize them. To do this you need an image editing program. Most computers have at least a simple image editing program on them. If your computer doesn’t have one, you’ll need to download one from the internet. You can find free and low cost image editing programs by going to and searching for “image editing software.”

However, you can skip the image editing step if you find a car classifieds site, like, that automatically resizes the photos upon upload so they are the optimal size for the internet. This could eliminate the need for you to manually resize your photos before upload.

Choose the right pictures for your classified ad and viewers will set up and take notice. Look for the next installment titled “Sell Your Car Online: Step 3, Using the Right Information to Help Sell Your Automobile.“ Happy selling.

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