Volume II, Issue 1, Page 4


1/15/2007

SHOOT MY CAR – PLEASE

Hey mister, how can I get my car in your magazine?

If I had a nickel for every time I was asked that question, I’d be a plenty rich man. But the simple fact is there are some things that will get your car displayed in a magazine, either online or in print, more quickly than others. Sometimes there are factors you can’t help.  Other times it’s a matter of being in the right place at the right time. And then there’s the luck of the draw.  But after 28 years of car magazine experience, I believe I can help guide you through a few of the obvious problems and get you calling your mom to tell here that all that money you put into your car or truck was worth the investment.

On the cover of the Rollin’ Stone . . . .

COLOR ME GONE

Before we go too far, here’s a simple color selection principle that will keep your aspirations in line. If your car or truck is black, congratulations. You win. You have a terrific looking vehicle that is the awe of your buddies...but the worst color for magazine features. Unfortunately, black just doesn’t reproduce. Frankly, the age of black and white magazines is long gone. Color is in and online black just doesn’t do it like any other color (although with a creative art director and today’s great color screens, a black car can be made to stand out better than it once did in an online mag such as maxchevy). A close second is white, which is the most common of exterior paint colors but is still a harder struggle to earn page placement. Unless you have a historically significant car that was originally painted white, you may not be able to find the level of interest in your vehicle you might have hoped for.

Okay so what colors will get you the interest of fickle magazine editors and photographers? Virtually anything in the brighter color range running through attractive blues and greens. Red, orange and yellow are all great, the obvious colors for attracting folks to stop and review the car feature. But while they use to be the “required” colors to achieve publication interest, there are other factors that can help.

Execution is the greatest trump card. Today there is nothing as attractive as a well-done vehicle (nice paint, all parts in place, operational and clean). If it happens to include unique features or rare original equipment there will certainly be editors at least interested in digitally capturing your car.

HOW DO I START?

As with anything, you can’t hang out on the couch and expect folks to come to you. Start by picking the magazine, either print or online, that is of interest to you. Frankly, there are so many magazines that if you are only interested in getting your vehicle published, you have a better than average chance of attracting some interest. If you are targeting a major publication, know that they are bombarded by lots of folks just like you looking to display their vehicles. Unless you have something really special or just happen to have the vehicle they are looking for you won’t get a lot of interest. If you set your sights a bit lower, you can get your vehicle published and then use the printed article as a calling card with the larger pub.

The best way to get your car published is to take some great shots of the vehicle – digitally. Snapshots are a total waste of time, which makes your vehicle look cheap and won’t do it justice – at least not the justice you want. Worst case scenario; go lay down the $400 and buy a 4.0 mega pixel (or better) camera and take some images. Read the camera’s instructions and learn how to work the images for the best possible appearance. With the digital format you can continue to shoot until you get representative images side stepping the cost of film. That’s the true beauty of digital images.

Next, shrink the images down (file size needs to be reasonable – the smaller the better) and e-mail them to a feature editor for the magazine you have selected. Send them to several magazines. Nicely enough most magazines have now listed the e-mail addresses of the feature editors in the masthead. If not, call their editorial offices number and ask for the right guy to send your correspondence. Call a few days later and ask the person if they have received your images. If they turn you down, you know where you stand. If they ask for more info, you are at least in the game and on your way to publication. They may even like your vehicle but want a “pro shooter” to take the shots. Consider that a very positive step.
 
BE THERE

If you don’t want to go to the trouble of taking your own images or corresponding with editors, bring your car to the numerous car events staged across the country. There are plenty of places where you can visit with editors and photographers and communicate the unique qualities of your vehicle to them personally. It’s all a matter of how well you sell it – and if you’re like most enthusiasts, who better than you.  

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