Real estate is an inherently visual business. With buyers 74% more likely to express interest in a home if they can browse online photos, not just the quality of the photos is critically important, so too is the “vision” they create. Great images can lure buyers. Less-than-great can prompt a buyer to move on. So how do you get your clients’ images in the “great” category?
We all admire the fantastic work of professional photographers. It’s not simply because their photos are perfectly exposed, or their white balance is spot on. There’s a simple element that separates great from not-so-great photos: a great image evokes an emotional response from the viewer. It speaks to us individually and conveys some form of attraction or connection. Whether it’s longing, awe, desire, or any one of a thousand other, a great image elicits within us a response. The ability to combine the technical (features of the home) with the creative that creates a “vision” of what home means to the viewer is what separates a great listing photo from a good one.
Specifically, add in natural light before the picture is taken. It’s a similar technique as what you would likely use during an open house. Open windows, turn on lights, and trim tree branches that block the view. The more natural looking the like, the more appealing. In rooms that need artificial light during the day, make sure you have fluorescent bulbs with white light to better simulate the natural look. However, lighting a picture has one advantage to lighting a home: you can add flash! Consider investing in a separate flash and pointing it at the ceiling as you snap the photo. The light will reflect back down, making it look like the picture is shot in direct sunlight.
Bigger is Better
In real estate, larger rooms look more appealing. This is especially true in central rooms like the living room. Because you, as the photographer, get to decide how potential buyers will be viewing the home, take the time to find the room’s best angle. This can mean shooting from all four corners, from the doorway to another room, and even from stairs. If you can find the angle that makes the room look larger, buyers will more easily be able to envision all their furniture fitting comfortably inside. One tip; shoot with a stretch of carpet in front of you rather than with a piece of furniture. It adds an extra dimension of distance.
Add and Subtract
While you don’t want clutter and distractions from the home’s beauty and features in a photo, images should create that emotional connection previously mentioned. Adding a vase of fresh flowers on a foyer table, a bowl of mouth watering fresh fruit on the island, can evoke that “at home” feeling in viewers.
What to subtract? Remove clutter from an area before photographing it. Clear counter space with the exception of a few homey touches and remove fridge magnets, children’s toys, dirty dishes and other distractions
For outside shots, put away garbage cans and remove the car from the driveway, he says. Try not to include telephone poles, wires and other homes in the scene.
Editing Is Your Friend
Even for the novice photographer, there are enough programs available online that you can edit and modify pictures easily. You can use the editing to highlight and explain great parts of the home. Use captions or quotes right on the picture. For large areas like yards, you can combine several pictures into one larger one, so the buyer gets the comprehensive view of the large space.
Use the Help Available
There are some shots you’re just not going to get. One of them is a bird’s eye view of the home. This can be a great shot to show the size of a pool or other outdoor amenity that will draw more buyers in or the expanse of nature on the home’s yard and surrounding areas. Before you give up on that picture, find your client’s home on Google Earth or other satellite imaging program. Often, you can zoom in on one particular house, getting that bird’s eye view that was previously impossible.
With a vision and some planning, you’ll soon find yourself creating someone’s dream in photos. However, if despite your best efforts, your photos fall short, hire a professional photographer; the investment will pay for itself.