Automakers rely heavily on all media channels to promote their products and gather a market share as large as possible. The process starts with designing an eye-appealing car and making sure people get to see it.
This is where car photos come into play, and it is more than just point and shoot.
The first official time automakers release photos of the upcoming model is either via teasers or actual 3D renderings. Teasers are generally released ahead of release for hi-performance cars or highly anticipated models. Teaser car photos offer slight glimpses of the concept or the final design. It is not unusual for car news media to speculate over what’s visible from the teasers and create a better description of what the teased model could provide.
On the other hand, car photos that include renders are actually photorealistic versions of the 3D model of the car. This means that the actual car hasn’t been photographed, but its virtual version is displayed in a background that takes it closer to reality. Most models get 3D rendering photos on brochures and commercials that are designed well ahead of the launch.
Another type of car photos is spy shots. Spy shots are taken by car enthusiasts and car journalists. Most of the time, automakers test their prototypes on the street or on private tracks. To avoid early disclosure of design, prototypes are covered in camouflage to hide various aspects. Car enthusiasts and journalists search in common testing areas, waiting for automakers to get their car on the track or road, then take pictures of it. The practice is not illegal and provides some early insights on what a car may look like, even though it may not be released for as long as two years’ time.
With the rise of social media, various photo sharing groups were formed. Car fans share photos of their own car or pictures found over the internet.