“Second to price, quality real estate photography is the most important part of selling property.” This is what Than Meril, successful international real estate investor, believes about the importance of excellent photography.
Paul Hamberger, well-known commercial photographer and owner of Paul Hamberger.com Photography, agrees; saying that the importance of this aspect of marketing a property cannot be overstated.
“So many agents out there are snapping shots of beautiful homes with their mobile phones and calling it a job well done,” he adds. “The lighting is terrible, the quality is low and the colours are all wrong. Not to mention there’s been no thought whatsoever regarding composition and angles.”
Remember:The photos should show off the property in the best way possible, highlighting it’s best features in a flattering and visually pleasing manner. They are, after all, the first thing a potential buyer sees when looking for their dream home.
Hamberger’s top 10 tips to help you improve your real estate photography:
#1 Hire a professional photographer
This is number one for a reason. A professional photographer understands composition, lighting, angles, exposures and editing. They know how to produce high quality images that really showcase the best a property has to offer. Yes, it will cost you a little bit of money. But bad photos will cost you a LOT more.
Getting quality photos of a property will take, on average, around two hours. A lot of agents whizz around a home and spend about ten minutes getting the shots and this is a mistake. Quality takes time. Taking the time to do it right also shows both buyers and sellers that quality is something you value. A seller will know that you care about the way you present their home and this will help build trust.
#3 Use a tripod
Particularly for the interior shots; low light conditions will call for slower shutter speeds. If you’re shooting without a tripod you run the very real risk of ending up with blurry pictures.
Don’t make the mistake of leaving things lying around in the shot. Kids toys, pets toys, shoes, keys. All these little things make a space look messy and you don’t want to be shooting mess.
#5 Find the best angles
Experiment with different angles for each room. Find the ones that show the room in the most flattering way. Try setting the camera at different heights as well. Sometimes a lower angle will look better than a shot taken at eye level. Other areas may need to be shot from a higher angle to really show off the space. A little bit of experimentation can go a long way.
A room with a great view is a wonderful selling point. Who doesn’t enjoy a good view? Show your potential buyers what they can look forward to every morning. Does the patio have a great view? Why not consider shooting a panorama shot and really show it off? Shots of the views can really help convey the lifestyle aspect of a property and that is something people buy into.
#7 Make sure no one is in the picture
This may seem like a no brainer but believe me it happens. I saw a photo (of a R5mil home!) recently that had a shot with a lady poking her head around the corner to see what was going on. It ruined the shot completely! It only takes a few seconds to wait for someone to move out of the way before you take the picture. It’s a few seconds well spent. On this point, make sure you’re not in the picture yourself by check for reflections in mirrors and photo frames.
This can be tied in with tidying up. Spend some time making sure all distracting objects are put away or moved out of the frame. Clear counters of cleaning products, washed clothes and personal items. Make sure toilet lids are closed when shooting bathrooms. Remove bath products from showers. Make sure cushions are neatly arranged when shooting in the lounge. Coffee tables should be cleared of cups and especially ashtrays! Rather, strategically place a few books on the table. Make sure bed covers are smoothed and the bed is neatly made. Close cupboard doors. Take all magnets and kids drawings off the fridge. Pay attention to all the little details. They make a big difference to the finished product.
#9 Welcome the viewer
Get a shot of that amazing entrance to a home. It sets the tone for the rest of the property.
Often estate agents will only shoot the whole room. But consider offering a little more. Start with a wide shot to introduce the room and then show the viewer a few of the details. Show them what the kitchen cupboard handles look like. Does the kitchen have a beautiful, fancy stove? Show them. Is there something special about the tap fittings? Show them. Is there an incredible chandelier in the entrance hallway? Show them. You don’t have to shoot a hundred different details. Just two or three will really help the viewer get a feel for the space.
Agents, and for that matter the homeowners whose homes the agents are marketing, should remember that the photos being posted, shared, send out via e-mail marketing and used for advertising are representative of you as an individuals as well as the agency. Make them the best photos you possibly can.
This feature first appeared on Paul Hamberger.com Photography