Tips for Taking Pictures for Real Estate Professionals.
The Association of Real Estate License Law Officials estimates that there are about 2 million active real estate licensees in the United States. Additionally, over five million existing homes and 429,000 newly constructed homes were sold in 2013 according to the United States Census Bureau. With a market so large and this kind of competition, how do you make your listings stand out?
In a recent study, 9 out of 10 home buyers said that they rely heavily on the internet to find a home. If you don’t have great photos of your listings (or worse yet, no photos), prospective home buyers are likely to overlook your properties. If you have the money in your budget, you can hire a professional photographer (many specialize in real estate photography) or you can read on for tips to help you take beautiful photos that get buyers excited about your listings!
- Ditch the Cell Phone Camera
Yes, the cameras on our phones are amazing these days, but would you trust that camera for an important occasion like a wedding or the birth of a child? I didn’t think so. Buying a home is a huge moment in someone’s life, too. Help prospective buyers navigate the process by providing large, high resolution photos to really showcase your listings. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on a professional grade camera though, all you really need is a point-and-shoot digital camera with at least five megapixels. A simple search online will give you a range of options starting at $70. You’ll also want to invest in a travel tripod to ensure that your photos are sharp.
- Stage the Home
Your goal is to show off the home, not the stuff in it. First and foremost, make sure that the home is clean and free of clutter. Toys, stacks of magazines, or items on the kitchen counter will definitely present a “lived in” look, but they are also a huge distraction. Potential buyers only need to see the space. If you feel the need to add some flare, a simple vase with flowers is a nice touch.
- Use Natural Light
Typically, you will want to photograph the interior of a home on a sunny day. Open the curtains and turn on all of the lights to make each room in the home appear open and large. Ideally, you’ll want enough natural light so that you can avoid using the camera’s flash which can reflect off surfaces and create unattractive pictures.
Exterior photos of a home usually turn out better on an overcast day, as the sun is not casting shadows around the home (as pictured).
- Choose the Best Angles
The best way to showcase a room is to shoot from the corner or a doorway so that you can see as much of the room as possible.
- Don’t Waste Your Time Misleading Buyers
Sure, you could shoot every room in the home with a wide angle lens and make your listing look huge, but you’ll also be attracting buyers who aren’t really interested in the property that you are selling. Save both parties the time and frustration and make sure that your photos are an accurate representation of the home.
- Take Tons of Photos
The best thing about digital cameras is that you can easily take tons of photos to make sure that you have a great image. No waiting for photos to be developed or paying per picture–if you’re old enough to remember that!
- Touch up Photos
Closely review your photos as you may need to touch them up a little–perhaps adding a bit more light to a living room that looks dark or cropping out unattractive items like power lines. There are some great free online photo editing tools like Photoscape, Picasa etc. Both are easy to use and allow you to crop pictures, adjust brightness and contrast, and correct colors.
- Don’t Forget the Neighborhood
Buyers tend to be attracted to established neighborhoods. Include some photos that show off the neighborhood, especially features like large trees, parks, and wide streets. This is especially important for attracting buyers who are doing their search from out of state. Give them a preview of where their kids will be playing and where they’ll be driving home to each night.