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The Do’s & Don’ts Of Real Estate Photography

Published on Monday - September 15, 2014

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), nine out of 10 house hunters initiate their buying experience on the Internet. Twenty-five percent admit that online real estate photography led to the acquisition of their current house. Second only to price, quality real estate photography is the most important part of selling a home. It has never been more important to portray property in a visually aesthetic light that serves to promote its best assets. Capturing the essence of a home is not an easy task, but those who do so correctly may be rewarded with a timely and profitable transaction.

Studies indicate that quality real estate photography is more likely to generate a higher price per square foot. According to information provided by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), “listings with nicer photos gain anywhere between $935 and $116,076” more than those that neglect to implement the necessary techniques and technology. Enlisting the assistance of a professional real estate photographer, and their DSLR camera, may result in the following advantages:

  • Receive an average of 61% more views than their peers across all price tiers.
  • Have a 47% higher asking price per square foot.
  • Have an increased likelihood of selling homes priced above $300,000.
  • Stay on the market an average of 10 days less.

Having said that, there is a way to approach real estate photography – do’s and don’ts if you will.

Real Estate Photography Do’s

  • Take A Picture From The Curb: It is important to place an emphasis on curb appeal. A picture of the front of your house will resonate with viewers in whatever light you portray the property. The better the house looks, the more inclined prospective buyers will be to view the property in person. This is often the picture that will convince a buyer to come or go – make it count. Remove any distracting items like cars or trashcans and make sure to capture the house in its entirety.
  • Welcome Viewers: An attractive front door should be a focal point of any real estate photography session. It can also set the tone for the rest of the home. Consider taking a picture of the entryway with the door open, as viewers may be able to visualize themselves entering the house. It is a small, but effective, psychological trick.
  • Consider Aerial Views: The use of drones, a real estate technology taking the world by storm, has become increasingly popular in the world of real estate. Having said that, maybe it is time to take advantage of them yourself. Taking a photo from above is a great way to show of several features at once – even more so if it is located next to visually pleasing natural element.
  • Capture The Selling Points: There are certain features that prospective buyers look for in a home. Sellers are advised to highlight those areas. In particular, buyers want to see kitchens and bathrooms. Moreover, if there were any updates that should be seen, include them.
  • Stage Each Room: While a room can be staged in more ways than one, the idea is to place its best foot forward. Your listing photos should represent the best your home can look.
  • Take Advantage Of Seasons: Even if your home has sat on the market for a while, it will seem up-to-date if the photos reflect the season. If it’s summer, take a sunny photo of the backyard. If it’s winter, create a cozy feel with a fire and a warm blanket.
  • Show Off Views: If the view is one of your home’s selling points, you’ll definitely want to show it off. It’s best if you can capture it with a part of the house — such as the deck or porch — in the shot. That way, buyers can tell where the view is from and more easily picture themselves there.
  • Take The Backdrop Into Account: If a room in your home has an incredible backdrop, try to capture it in your photos. After all, the view from any room is an additional selling point. Make sure viewers know about it. If you don’t show them, who will?
  • Highlight Unique Architectural Details: Archways, nooks and crannies may be hard to photograph, but they are what give your home its character. Try to capture a few of the architectural details if you can.
  • Take Night Shots: While it’s easy to assume daytime shots are the best, a nighttime exterior shot can create the right amount of contrast to make your photos stand out. The key is to leave your home’s interior and exterior lights on while you take the photo.

Real Estate Photography Don’ts

  • Don’t Neglect Angles: A good real estate photographer will be mindful of angles. In regards to the picture taken of the front of the house, make sure the camera boarders parallel the house. In other words, make sure the shot is level. Try matching the roofline with the photo’s frame. Don’t make an eye sore out of your property before anyone even sees it in person.
  • Don’t Use A Fish-Eye Lens: There are some people who think the use of a fish-eye lens can enhance a photo, particularly from a size standpoint. However, they are getting ahead of themselves. While the room may appear bigger, it is entirely too distorted. Stick with a traditional lens for listing photos.
  • Don’t Capture Yourself In The Mirror: While adding a mirror to a room can add more light and appear to make a room larger, it is not meant to reflect the picture taker. You want buyers to picture themselves in the mirror, not you. Stay out of the listing photos.
  • Don’t Photograph Messes: If there is one absolute “no” in the world of real estate photography, it is capturing a mess. As we said before, you want to place your home’s best foot forward. Neglecting to do so will almost certainly prevent buyers from inquiring further.
  • Don’t Include Holiday Décor: Over-the-top holiday decor can be a turn-off, especially if buyers don’t celebrate that holiday. As a general rule of thumb, you want to please the most buyers as possible. Make decorations attractive, but neutral.
  • Don’t Show Off Pets: Again, you want to appeal to the broadest audience possible. Some people may be allergic to animals and be turned off by their presence in the photo. Moreover, you want to focus your attention on parts of the house that will actually be there when they move in.
  • Do Not Use Screenshots: It can be tempting to take a screenshot of an online street-view of your home, but don’t do it! Even if you don’t want to hire a professional, your own exterior photo is likely a better option for your listing. Also, screenshot quality does not translate very well.
  • Don’t Take Poorly Lit Interior Shots: When it comes to interior photos, the more light, the better. Use lamps and daytime window light to make your photos as bright as possible, while still looking natural.

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