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RV Dealers and RV Industry

Why Better RV Ad Photographs Sell More RVs …

Posted by Shawn Friesen on Aug 26, 2013

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, can the photos you use in your RV ads be worth thousands of dollars as well?  Perhaps.

In online RV merchandising, we already know ads that use 16 to 30 photos get you 280% more leads than ads that don’t use a photo at all.  (See the research here.)  photographer

Along those same lines, people will spend more time looking at ads with better quality photos than ads with photos that look like they were taken by a four-year-old playing with Dad’s camera-phone!  In fact, “time spent on VDPs” (Vehicle Detail Pages) is one of the biggest indicators of a sale.

Why Would Shoppers Want BOTH Quality AND Quantity When It Comes to Photos?

Because the photos used with your RV classifieds give your potential customer …

  • A 1st impression about the RV – and –
  • About you as the dealer selling it.

Photos that are of poor quality or that have distracting backgrounds reflect negatively on the RV and on how they feel about doing business with you.  And, attracting (not repelling) prospective buyers is what it’s all about, isn’t it?

DISCLAIMER:  You don’t have to be famous Photographer Ansel Adams to create a brilliant RV ad with great photos, but taking a little extra time and remembering the following tips can be the difference between someone contacting you or having them click away to an ad with better photographs.

1.  Beware the Sun’s Glare!  When photographing RVs it can be tough to get a consistent exposure across its entire surface, especially if the RV is shiny or 1 solid color.  You can avoid having half of your RV hidden by sun reflection by taking photos early in the day or later in the afternoon, when the sun is not at its brightest.  A polarizing filter on your camera will also cut down on the surface reflections.

2.  Find the Good Side.  Just like people have a more photogenic side, your RV will also have a “good side” too.

Sound crazy?  Walk around the RV and look at it from different perspectives.  An RV design engineer spent a lot of time rendering drawings of that RV at various angles and there are angles at which the RV will look sleeker and more attractive.

Of course, you aren’t trying to hide flaws — but pictures that show the RV at its best should definitely be in your ad.

3.  Edit.  Your photo editing program has a lot of cool features … it’s time for you to start using them!  Don’t just upload your pics to your computer and post them.  Open them in a photo editor and use the enhance and cropping features.

Try things like …

  • Center the image to the picture.
  • Cut out out distractions in the background.
  • Adjust brightness and contrast

Editing can improve the quality of your ads tremendously.  More time on VDPs, more leads, more sales.

4.  His & Hers Shots

He wants to see the guts and the specs.  For him …

  • Take time and focus your camera!
  • Do not rush close up / detail shots.
  • Zoom in on the control panels (make them legible, not blurry or a huge flash shot.)
  • Shoot the generator, the motor, storage compartments, any exposed plumbing and HVAC, the tires, hitches, window stickers and all the controls you can play with from the driver’s seat.

He Likes the Nitty Gritty Shots.  She’s Different.  And, She Calls the Shots!

She wants to see how the rooms fit together.  A straight on shot of the dinette doesn’t tell her much if she doesn’t know where it fits in the room.

  • Give her clear shots of the floor plan and layout.
  • Colors, patterns – consider close-ups of the drapes and furniture, even color swatches if you have them.
  • Kitchen, bathroom(s) & bedroom(s)

Designer style shots will appeal to the “better half” of the family that’s also shopping, clicking, rolling through your photos, helping decide if they should give you a call – or not.

A Good Example of Decent RV Photography …

Check this ad out:  1991 Prevost, Redding, CA

What I Like:

  • Lots of photos (60).  (We have dealers that insist on NO FEWER than 80 pics.  Gone are the days when 8 photos is “good enough.”)
  • Great guy shots!  Motor, mechanicals, tires, storage spaces.  Awesome!
  • Shows the expanse of the living space.  You can see how the room fits together.
  • What do you like about the way this Prevost is photographed?  (Comments welcome below.)


  • More interior shots.  More shots that show the entire space.
  • Turn the lights on!
  • How would you improve the photography on this unit?  (Comments welcome.  See below.)

We’ll explore more photographic tips in upcoming weeks.  And you (really) don’t want to forget about VIDEO, check out these articles.  Videos Generate Lots More RV Shopper Leads and 1 Game-Changer Tactic that Few RV Dealers Are Onto.


Give this article to whichever team member is charged with the responsibility of making your RVs (and your dealership) look great!

Begin immediately with just these 4 suggestions.  I’m sure you’ll find that your photographer’s eye will start to develop and you’ll discover that presenting an RV properly through excellent photography is a fun (and profitable!) part of the process.

Author: Shawn Friesen


  1. Tom Trimble

    Hi Chris,
    The big stores like Camping World, LaMesa, Lazy Days, take the fewest and poorest photos and give the least amount of info in their ads than anyone but they sell tons more than any of us independents. This contradicts all you have written the paste few years. they continue to grow exponentially and add locations with this “flawed” method. I agree with you but how do they do it?

    Thank You,
    Tom Trimble
    Fountain Hills RV

  2. Chris Mapson

    Hi Tom:

    Thanks for the feedback. Much appreciated.

    I took a look at your ads and it looks like you’re doing a fabulous job with them. Kudos to you and your team. Lots of quality pics, listing all the specs on all your units so you get found in searches, good descriptions with character and personality showing through plus some decent calls-to-action. Bravo!

    I hear what you’re saying, though, about the big stores selling more units than smaller independent guys. So I looked at a few of the bigger stores’ stats as well. You’re right, their ads have fewer, lower quality pics, sometimes incomplete info and descriptions that can be lacking and even completely MIA (missing in action.) Sad, really.

    That got me wondering about leads though. Because generating leads is really where the rubber meets the road, isn’t it? How many leads are your ads getting per unit? Vs. How many leads are their ads getting per unit?

    Turns out your ads (even though you have far fewer units in stock) are actually pulling leads at more than double the rate their ads pull leads at. On a per unit basis, because your ads are so well created, put together and presented, you are actually – to put it mildly – killing them. Awesome!

    Now in terms of sales, (and I’m sure you are all over this one, Tom), lots will depend on how thoroughly and how effectively you follow up your leads and stay in touch with (or “own”) them through the entire buying cycle. Something to keep very tight control of, for sure.

    One opportunity I see in your vast region (that the bigger stores do not seem to be onto yet) … is video. If you check out the hard data from the roughly 60,000 ads we have online, you’ll likely find that adding video to all your ads, bumps your lead generation 46%. That is huge for any dealer.

    Also, our free Live Chat (which works with Skype) is reported to grab you an additional 25% more leads as well.

    Tom, you’re doing a great job online merchandising your inventory. Yes, the big stores sell more. But, your amazing lead gen numbers prove out my data driven recommendations. More pics, better pics, longer descriptions, better descriptions, calls-to-action, more time on VDP, etc. Keep up the awesome work! I’d shudder to think what would happen if the bigger stores had your merchandising skills!

    All the best,


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