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Construction Equipment Photo and Video Best Practices

12/04/2018
Camera Shutter

The best practices have been divided into preparation, capture, and production.

Preparation

Prepare a list of photos and videos you’ll need.  For example, here is a list of shots to consider for a dozer with a tracked undercarriage:

  • Serial plate (typically you’ll start with this photo to ensure you’re capturing the correct equipment).
  • Brand and model name (e.g. CAT D6T painted on the machine’s side).
  • Four corners:  Overall front-left, front-right, rear-right, and rear-left.
  • Front attachment:  overall, connection point.
  • Rear attachment:   overall, rear attachment connection point.
  • Left track:  overall, width with tape measure, grouser with ruler, sprocket, idler, pins/bushings, and rollers.
  • Right track:  overall, width with tape measure, grouser with ruler, sprocket, idler, pins/bushings, and rollers.
  • Operator station:  overall inside, hour meter, foot controls, steering, each control panel, and seat.
  • Engine:  engine serial plate, overall from each side.
  • Hydraulic cylinders:  close up of each cylinder rod to show smoothness.
  • 2-4 minute video of the dozer moving forward, backward, turning, and moving the blade.  Also video the winch or ripper if equipped. Be sure the video includes clear audio of the machine so the viewer can get assess the engine condition while idling and revving.

Also prepare a toolkit for the field:

  • Smartphone or camera.
  • 12” metal ruler with high-contrast gradations (for showing dimensions like growser height or tread depth).
  • 25’ tape measure (for showing dimensions like track width).
  • Rags and spray bottle with cleaner (for cleaning windows, seats, control panels, etc.).
  • Arrow placards (for pointing to features or damage).  Cut a PostIt note or other sticky paper into an arrow shape at a minimum.
  • Hard hat, steel-toe boots (basic personal protection).

Capture

Ensure your safety on construction sites, equipment yards, and equipment.  Wear proper safety equipment. Remain in view of the equipment operators. Observe all the safety rules required by the equipment owner, equipment manufacturer, and relevant government entities.

  • Most shots are best in landscape (wider than tall) mode.
  • Attachments included with the equipment should be installed.  If this isn’t possible, include photos of the included attachments.
  • Clean the equipment to remove mud, dust, and other foreign material.
  • Fix visible problems with the equipment before taking photographs, such as dents, broken parts, torn seats, leaks, etc.
  • Isolate the equipment so only the equipment you intend to capture is in frame.  This makes it clear to your buyer what they will receive. This may require driving the equipment to a good spot.
  • The equipment should be fully in frame when taking overall shots.  Avoid clipping edges, tops, bottoms, and attachments like buckets and blades.
  • Adequate lighting should available. Take photographs during the day and avoid photographing at night, dusk, and dawn as well as on inclement days.  Also avoid reflections that obscure the photographs. The sun should be behind you so you avoid photographing substantial shadows.
  • The ground under the equipment should be clear and clean.  Avoid weeds, oil spots, and refuse around the equipment.
  • Background should be clear of anything that will distract from the equipment.  Avoid people and signs in the photo.
  • Avoid having your company name in the photograph.  Renters prefer equipment marked only with the brand and model.

Production Guidelines

Now that you have captured your footage, invest some time to optimize it.

For photos, use a photo editor like GIMP or PhotoShop for the following:

  • Adjust lighting.
  • Crop the image so it focuses on the equipment.
  • Blur background items that distract the viewer.

For videos, consider using staff or a freelancer with video editing experience to do the following:

  • Add some exciting music or record a narration.  Silence the overlaid audio for part of the video so the viewer can hear the machine's engine run.
  • Add an intro showing the year of manufacture, brand, model, and type of machine.
  • Add an outro showing your company logo, contact information, and a call to action.
  • Include the available video footage, which should include most of the same shots listed above as well as the machine movable parts moving, such as tracks moving and blades adjusting.
  • Edit the captured footage to a maximum time of 60 seconds.

Examples

Here are some examples of both the bad and the good from our own collection:

Notes:

  • Good - Cat logo present.
  • Good - Equipment is fairly clean.
  • Good - Equipment is presented from front-left and all extents are in frame.
  • Good - Lighting is even and overhead.
  • Good - Equipment is the only unit in the photo.
  • Good - No people, no distractions, and no company logos

Notes:

  • Good - Clearly shows the condition of the rubber.
  • Good - Ruler demonstrates the remaining tread life.

Notes:

  • Good - Volvo logo present.
  • Bad - Many other units are in frame, including equipment obscuring part of the undercarriage.
  • Bad - Top of boom and bottom of bucket are clipped.

Notes:

  • Good - Even lighting.
  • Good - Music volume decreases to hear the engine running.
  • Good - Professionally edited.

If you would like Never Idle’s assistance to market your machine, please call.  Our equipment experts can handle the entire process including sales, marketing, listings, photos, videos, negotiation, buyer qualification, and more.

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