Photography 101 For Real Estate - Part 3

Listing courtesy of Domaine Real Estate, LLC
Welcome to the third and last blog post in our series about real estate photography! We have covered in the previous posts the three things you need in order to take great real estate photography: a good dslr camera, a tripod, and a good picture editing software. We have also presented a few important tips on taking great real estate interior pictures.

Now it is time to wrap-up our series with a few more tips on how to end up with great real estate photography at a level that helps your listings stand out from the crowd. A picture is worth a thousand words. In real estate, you can replace "words" with "dollars" and you hit the nail on the head. The first step to selling a home is to attract people's attention. Great photography does the job, not by itself, as an insulated process, of course, but this is the topic for another blog post. Listings with better photography command higher asking prices. It is still puzzling that only 15% of listings incorporate higher-end photography, even though we have to admit, for the sake of fairness, that low-end market is more sensitive to lowering the price than to increasing the quality of the pictures.

Here's the first thing to think of when it comes to the impact good photography has on potential buyers: eye movements research of subjects who looked at online real estate listings found that more than 95% of users viewed the first photo—the one that shows the exterior of the home—for a total of 20 seconds. How's that for a first impression? You have a potential buyer sitting there for 20 long seconds looking at the picture you put in front of him. That image will trigger one of two reactions: that person will either become interested and look for more info, or move along, while you have just kissed good-bye the chance of selling that home. As simple as that! For many people, the first point of contact with a house is through the Internet. Don't lose the battle before it begins by using an average image taken with a point-and-shoot camera. So here are a few tips to help you get better pictures and increase the chances of selling more homes:

  • Spend ten times as much time in choosing an exterior photo than you do the rest of the home shots, because that's the hook that will get buyers to look at the rest of the photos. Place the exterior pictures on the top-left corner since that is the point most people start with when looking at a listing.
  • Use secondary exterior shots to emphasize a home's strongest point. As a realtor you know what people are interested in and you can easily discover a strong point of that particular point to match that interest.
  • Take exterior shots at sunset, with all the interior lights turned on. These twilight shots stand out from the crowd for sure. 
  • Remove any traces of pets in your real estate photography. Don't leave cat food dishes on the counter when taking pictures. Pets might be associated by some people with bad smells, allergens and patchy yards.
  • Invest time in image post-processing. As mentioned in a previous blog post, shoot pictures in raw format. This will allow for great post-processing opportunities. It is oftentimes cheaper and less time consuming to brighten up a picture in post-process that it is to find ways to physically add more light to the scene. Here is a great video on how to brighten up interior pictures:

It is worth mentioning again that no matter how great the photography is, setting the right price is even more important. No photography in the world will ever sell a highly overpriced home. Snapping a few shots with a mobile phone or a point-and-shoot camera doesn't cut it anymore in real estate. Upgrade to DSLR and use the smart tips we have presented in our blog post series to get potential buyers into the home. Quality photography is your doorway into that home.

List of sources used to create this "Photography 101 For Real Estate" blog post series:
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  1. I truly feel evaluating white and black photography with it's film counterpart is similar to comparing apples with grapefruits. They simply are not the same in look and feel. I discussed this in detail partly 1 of this range. When speaking to professional photographer Hellen Van Meene she explain movie as possessing "secret". Now I'm not sure exactly what the techical phrase for wonder is but artistically I realize exactly what Hellen indicates.