Skip to content

Questions about car photos

Various people asked me for car photos as soon I started selling Excel car databases in 2012. Initially I was confused whenever I should download free photos from Wikipedia and sell a ZIP archive with hundreds of JPG images, charging some $ for the job of “collecting” photos.

In 2015 I started using web scraping software to quickly create databases extracting data from various websites. Scraping software do not extract only text (model names and specifications) but also Image URLs (link to image corresponding to each car model, usually in same resolution), I sell these databases at 1-2 cents per image. Example: UK Car Database “small database” have 2400+ car models with 1 image per model, at $48.

You can use Tab Save extension for Chrome, or Wget to download JPG files from the links provided in Excel database. If you want me to download them and send you JPG files, I can do this too and send via (images are too big to be stored on server to download them yourself like Excel database).

There are some customers, such as car rental companies, who want to purchase a small number of licensed images for the cars they own, able to pay even $10 per image. I do not understand how I can sell images with license, can someone explain me?

If you think that is a copyright violation to use images from websites, I advise you to take yourself pictures of the cars you offer for rent. If you need while background images I can connect you with a company offering photo editing services / background removal for $1 per image.

2013 idea… should I collect car photos from Wikipedia?

Few years ago I was thinking to add photos collected from Wikipedia in the book-style Car Models Encyclopedia.DOC but I was never sure if this is the right thing to do! .DOC format proved unpopular.

There are plenty of images on Wikipedia that anyone can collect himself, but numerous people asked ME for a database of car images. Probably these people are too busy to dig for images on Wikipedia, or they want all images to be cropped at same size.

OK, I want to help you! But what I should do? Do I should collect photos of every car model, resize them at same resolution, and sell them as .RAR archive? Should be linked some way with the Excel database?

I love working with fixed data, but in case of photos there are a lot of variables. On the internet you can find cars images taken from various angles, showing cars of various colors, in different places (driving / parked / showroom), what images I should collect? Then, if the car have multiple body variants, the photo should be the base variant, random variant or one photo of each version?

The Car Models & Bodies Database contains over 3000 car models body versions produced 1945-present, so theoretically I need to collect 3000+ pictures?

All these dilemmas should be decided BEFORE starting this megalithic work in wrong way… and get disappointed to not see anyone purchasing it.

During early 2013, 4 people contacted me for photo database, but only one told me something: “I dont think that will work? Unless you have a SQL database with pics linked into it.” them “thanks anyways” and quitted the chat… without telling me anything regarding format of photo itself. I hate such lazy people! How I am supposed to know what is the correct format of photo database? I am not familiarized with SQL.

In May 2013, finally one customer told me what to do: find a car website from where find and save photos (but this isn’t a copyright issue??!! I will rather choose free photos from Wikipedia), one photo for each body style, try to choose same angle and environment in all photos, then rename photos with correct car model name, then crop and resize thumbnails (I am confused about this part).

So, I created this: Car Photos Database SAMPLE
90 MB worth of photos, including all Volkswagen models since 1970s, I selected photos that are at least 1024×768, side-front angle for most cars, side-back angle for body derivations. The rest of brands will be done after getting more feedback.

Just 1 week passed and another customer told me to STOP the car images database, saying that the above sample is NOT right, the images collected are useless, and may lead to copyright troubles. He was looking to purchase licensed images, made from fixed angles, cleared background… unfortunately I do not know how I can do that. Do you?

Maybe if few customers will say that is OK to collect images from Wikipedia (although may be still copyright issue). Hope you don’t want me to go on street with photo camera to take myself one image of every distinct car model? Who does have time for that, especially hunting rare cars that are never seen in my country?

2015 idea… using web scraping software to get car photos

In 2015 I learned about data scraping from websites… initially scraping only the text data, and created American and Indian car databases as well as Motorcycle database. In 2016 I figured out that I can scrap image URL too, and because customers asked, I added image URL column for the above 3 databases.

So I am selling database of image URL, and if you want to bulk download all image files, use Tab Save extension for Chrome and copy-paste URLs from my database.

In the same way I can use web scraping software to get URL of all images from any website you want. This will save me from spending large amount of time digging for images on Wikipedia.

In December 2016 a customer asked me to scrap an used cars website, to get image URL beside Make, Model, Year. Took only FEW HOURS and I got over 100.000 car images, all in same resolution. He told me to keep it private and do not publish or resell on website. So I am telling you only the idea. If anyone wants to scrap car images in this way, let me know what website to scrap!

I am glad that I did not wasted a week collecting 3000 photos from Wikipedia since there are better methods available.

Licensed car images

If anyone know how I can sell licensed images, please leave a comment. The below person left chat without giving me more details.

(1:30:16 PM) *** Visitor has joined the chat ***
(1:30:18 PM) Teoalida (site owner): Hello visitor from United Kingdom, are you looking for a specific database? Let me know if I can help you!
(1:33:12 PM) Visitor: Hello, I’ve come across your site looking for a library of car images. Is this something you have developed yet?
(1:33:21 PM) *** Teoalida has joined the chat ***
(1:33:37 PM) Teoalida: most databases made via scraping from websites do contain images
(1:34:21 PM) Visitor: Okay, great. Are they standardised in any way? Size, etc?
(1:34:41 PM) Teoalida: most have same size
(1:34:50 PM) Teoalida: how many photos per car do you need?
(1:34:54 PM) Teoalida: and for which market of sale?
(1:35:28 PM) Visitor: I only need one photo per car, ideally all formatted the same in a similar way to the photos here…
(1:35:49 PM) Visitor: ie, same direction, white background.
(1:35:50 PM) Teoalida: in this case “small database” may help
(1:36:03 PM) Visitor: I’m in the UK so EU market
(1:36:05 PM) Teoalida: another customer wanted 1000 photos per car model for training vehicle recognition software
(1:36:19 PM) Teoalida: and in this case I offered to scrap from an used cars website
(1:37:24 PM) Visitor: They look good.
(1:37:58 PM) Visitor: Unfortunately, as they’re from Parkers website, I don’t think we’d want to use them. We need them to put on our website so copyright would be an issue.
(1:38:34 PM) Teoalida: so do you have any suggestions for other sources of photos?
(1:40:07 PM) Visitor: I found this website which is a great source of photos. If you don’t have licensed ones then I will look elsewhere but thank you very much for your time.
(1:40:28 PM) Teoalida: how I can have myself licensed photos?
(1:40:50 PM) Visitor: Sorry, I don’t know the answer to that. Good luck with the business,

(1:41:05 PM) Teoalida: also is there any minimum resolution?
(1:41:17 PM) Teoalida: I can quickly make a script to download all images from photoshelter
(1:41:22 PM) Teoalida: low resolution ones don’t have watermark
(1:41:27 PM) *** Visitor has left ***

Car photo survey

Would be OK to collect FREE photos from Wikipedia, rename file names to car model names, and sell them for MONEY as fee for the time required to sort them out?

YES, what is on Wikipedia is FREE to use, is OK to collect photos from Wikipedia and sell them, as long you charge money for collecting and sorting fee and not for photos themselves. For few thousand photos you (and we too) won’t get into copyright troubles.
NO, this is a copyright issue, don’t risk running into trouble. Moreover such car photo database would be useless even offered FREE. We are NOT going to use a “car photo database” with photos stolen from Wikipedia and run ourselves in copyright troubles.
Please Specify:

Poll Maker


What type of photos?

Photos of driving cars
Photos of parked cars
Photos in showroom
Any of them… does not matter
Please Specify:

free poll maker


How many photos per car?

One random photo, angle does not matter
One photo from side or maybe slightly oriented to front
Two photos per car, front-side and back-side
As many photos is possible from many angles (do you realize how much time takes?)
Please Specify:

Poll Maker



  1. I hate people who come… and quit without explain precisely what they wants!

    Tuesday, 23 Apr, 2013
    [16:39] Teoalida customer service (trigger): Hello from website admin! What type of database are you looking for?… if you are confused, I am glad to help you!
    [16:40] Visitor: list of all cars and models for a data base with picture of cars
    [16:40] Teoalida has joined the conversation
    [16:40] Teoalida: The photo database is a subject to discuss
    [16:40] Teoalida: I have Car Models List…. worldwide
    [16:41] Visitor: we have a data base of our own. However we dont have photo’s linked into it! Any Ideas?
    [16:41] Teoalida:
    [16:43] Teoalida: I can collect photos and give you as archive…. BUT how to link the photos?
    [16:44] Visitor: I dont think that will work? Unless you have a SQL database with pics linked into it.
    [16:45] Teoalida: XLS can be converted in MySQL but I have no idea how to link
    [16:45] Teoalida: Webdesign is not my job, can you explain me more precisely?
    [16:46] Visitor: its ok thanks anyways…
    [16:47] Teoalida: Can you at least tell me how I should choose photos?
    [16:47] Teoalida: one per model, one per body type, parked, driving, showroom, etc?
    [16:48] Teoalida: I need this as survey because I want to start photo database soon…. lots of potential customers
    [16:50] Visitor has left the conversation

  2. I am interested in the photo database. Jpegs would be best.
    Looking for photos of European models 1989 -Present.

    Can they be organized by a directory structure? like …MAKE->Mode->Year->BodyStyle.jpg
    i.e. VolkswagenGolf2001Sadan.jpg
    i.e. VolkswagenGolf2001Cabrio.jpg

    The name of the JPG not important.
    What I am looking for is a system to locate the picture based on Manufacture, Model, bodyStyle and year(s) produced.

    1. Interesting idea! Thanks for it!

      Note that Europe DO NOT use the system of Model Years used in America. Read more.
      Probably the correct solution is VolkswagenJetta_VISedan.jpg
      But the main dilemma is what the photos should contain (driving, parked, showroom, front, back, side view, random angles, etc ). Finding the BEST photos is the most time-consuming part of this job.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *