Ever wonder how those detailed photographs of the interior and exterior of every car for sale at Florida Fine Cars make it to the web site?
Meet Abantu Marshall and his team of talented car photographers, who spend eight hours a day, every day, carefully photographing the Florida Fine Cars used car inventory. The detailed pictures of everything a prospective buyer would want to see are available at the click of a mouse because of them.
“Photographing cars is hard work,” said Marshall, as he scanned through a series of interior car shots that had just been uploaded to the computer where he reviews them. “A simple car like a Nissan Altima that doesn’t have that many special features may take 20 minutes to shoot 30 pictures. But a fully-loaded Mercedes E350 might take 30 minutes and 60 pictures.”
That’s a lot of pictures.
Consider this: photographers at Florida Fine Cars’ Miami store usually photograph around 25 cars a day. If they shoot about 40 photos per car, that’s 1,000 pictures a day, which then have to be uploaded to the Florida Fine Cars website.
“That’s a lot of pictures,” Marshall conceded. “I enjoy it because I learn something new every day whether it is something about lighting or maybe about the car itself.”
Marshall’s photographers typically take eight exterior shots including the front, the back, both sides and every corner. Interior shots include doors, seats, steering wheels, controls, odometer, radio and seat controls.
It can be tedious and shots sometimes have to be redone if they are not taken on the correct angle or if they are blurry or poorly lit.
“If a shot has to be redone, it has to be redone. When it comes to pictures, we are looking for perfection,” Marshall said.
And in the case of used car buying, a picture truly is worth a 1,000 words.
On this day, photographer Willis McKnight is busy shooting a Nissan Altima. Although his subject never moves, it’s not always easy getting the right shot at the right angle. But when he gets it just perfect, he knows HIS photos truly contribute to the sale.
“When a customer comes in, they already know what they want. They have already seen the details up close (by looking at the online photos),” McKnight said. “We help bring them in!”
While McKnight photographs the Nissan, Marshall and Darrel Laidley are busy picking fuzzy dandelion seeds off the jet black ragtop of a hot white 2015 used Chevrolet convertible Camaro. The seeds apparently floated in a breeze.
“You never know who may have a big screen and these imperfections would show up,” said Marshall, as he examined the car’s convertible top for any fuzzy seeds. “It would look terrible.”
As Marshall and his crew photograph the used car inventory, they keep detailed notes on any rubs, scrapes or scratches. They mark down the imperfections and send their notes to management. Repairs are made, if deemed essential, before the cars go up for sale.
The turntable is the diciest part of their job.
To make it easier to photograph each car from different angles, Florida Fine Cars installed rotating turntables that can be operated with hand controls. The system allows the photographers to quickly and easily move the vehicle they are shooting to a different angle with the push of a button.
But a prolonged squeeze of the hand control can send the car spinning around too quickly. It’s accidentally happened in the past and the results were damaging.
“It could turn at an inappropriate time,” McKnight acknowledged. “It gets touchy.”
Maria Rivera and Marisela Briceno take most of the photos at Florida Fine Cars West Palm Beach.
The pair are all smiles when it comes to talking about their work.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Rivera said.
“We love it,” Briceno added.
McKnight said his work is rewarding.
“You feel proud. You feel good. Especially when you have a customer come in and say ‘I love the photos,’” McKnight said.
Florida Fine Cars offers nearly 1,500 quality used cars for sale priced thousands below retail at its three locations combined. Florida Fine Cars dealerships are conveniently located in West Palm Beach near Palm Beach International Airport and just off Florida’s Turnpike in Hollywood and Miami.
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