First impressions are critical when selling real estate. Buyers and their real estate agents are scouring the internet and the MLS for potential properties and they have to rely on the accuracy – and appeal – of the photos that accompany the listings online. These photos are what attract and capture the attention of the buyers and the real estate agents.
While this may seem like Real Estate 101 and a basic fundamental of marketing you wouldn’t know it from some of the photos that are online advertising listings.
Here are some tips to consider when taking photos for your listings:
- Either hire a professional photographer or learn how to correctly photograph a home. Bad photography is just not acceptable anymore in our industry.
- Present the photos on the MLS in the order that you would showcase a home if you were an agent giving a buyer a home tour.
- Make sure there are multiple sources of light when you are taking photos at different distances from the camera. Occasionally, you should light behind certain items that are away from walls (such as seating) to provide depth. You want the spaces you are photographing to appear natural and clear and lighting is essential to achieve this.
- While flash can do a good job of adding light to poorly-lit areas, it should be utilized in a way that does not cast too many shadows or increase contrast to the point where it is abrasive and creates an unattractive environment.
- If there are special features like new tile, granite countertops or highly custom built-ins, provide a close-up shot of the feature.
- Some agents only use a few exteriors photos for their entire property photo collection. Don’t be one of them! Use the maximum number of photos allowed by your MLS or enough to truly paint a picture of your listing and entice potential buyers to come and see it.
- Don’t use special editing programs to remove, add, alter or change the photos to the point where it is misleading or inaccurate.
- Don’t use old photos that the seller gives you simply because they like their own photos.
- Always use a tripod because this will help steady the camera and provide a clearer image.
- Take interior photos in the morning, sunset and twilight if possible to determine which is the most preferable light situation (a professional photographer will be able to choose the best time of day).
- If a room is empty make sure to bring in a prop such as a chair to give the room a sense of scale.
- If you are shooting outside, keep the sun behind you, shining on the face of the home. If the main entry is always in the shade (on the north face or in a treed area), shoot it on a partly cloudy day to lower the contrast.
- For empty houses capture rooms that are together like a master bedroom and master bathroom to increase the interest to the picture.
- Turn on as many lights as possible and in dark areas bring in lamps from other rooms for additional lighting sources.
- To give your rooms more light open up all blinds.
- Shoot at chest level so you are not shooting too much of the ceiling. People generally look at eye level, not ceiling level, when viewing photographs.
- Move furniture to expose architectural features.
- Do not use florescent light as the main light source. It will make your photo appear green.
- Do a scope of the room you are shooting and remove anything that is too distracting.
- Make sure everything undesirable such as dirty laundry, dirty dishes, kitty litter boxes are removed.
When possible, hiring a professional photographer can be an excellent investment in your listing. The bottom line is that if your photos do not convey the home accurately you will lose potential buyers. Loss of any potential buyer could mean the difference between a sold sign and a price reduction.