Caution - this site contains the rants and raves of a Michigan photographer and coffee junkie.

Indoor Car Photo Studio

At my day job I take pictures of cars to put for sale on the Internet. As with most products, when marketing new or pre-owned vehicles via the Internet, high quality images of your cars is an important part of attracting potential customers and compelling them to act. For years we have been taking the pictures outside. This is nice but not always consistant and there are weather issues. Of course it is hard to find enough space for an indoor studio (we need to be able to fit Escalade ESV’s). The other issue is quality and amount of light.
Indoor Car Studio Bay City

We decided on high output florescent lighting. We purchased enough fixtures to be able to put out the equivalent of 4,500 watts of light. This additional lighting with the regular florescent fixtures that were already in place should allow us to shoot using a shutter speed of 1/60 with ISO200. The lights also needed to be daylight balanced. To keep price down I got 5,000 k lights. I figured this is close enough and after painting the walls with a 14% grey the auto WB in the camera should get the color very close.

 Car Photo Studio Bay City

We are about a week away from the studio being done and I can’t wait to see the first results. At this point I may need more light so we’ve also ordered some softbox lights on a stand with rollers.

Car Studio Lights Bay City

View some of David's photography at
Defoe Photography


  1. Hi, This blog has been quite helpful. I was just wondering how your project turned out. We are thinking of setting up a similar area at our dealership and it would be great to pick your brain.

    My main questions are
    1. How large is the room?
    2. How did the studio end up?


  2. It has been so long since the room was setup I can’t remember the dimensions, I’d have to measure. The room is great. However the lighting needs to be tweaked. Originally the budget was very low so we used lighting fixtures that were around the dealership. Now we need to upgrade and get some photo specific soft boxes and/or get some theater lighting and bounce off white walls or sheets.

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