Good photographic images are still an essential element for any productive property marketing but the photographs are now needed sooner – it is no longer sufficient to just prepare printed details to handout at a property viewing – you need to get images ready and your property marketed on line – pronto!
The property search starting point is no longer at the door of the local real estate agent, most people will start researching online as soon as they even consider purchasing a new home or making an investment. Therefore any good marketing plans for selling your property will start with an online listing on a recommended property portal that will present your house, apartment or villa in the best possible light.
You also need to stand out from the sellers crowd and be able to catch a buyer’s eye at the first glance. For this to work to your best advantage attractive images of your property are absolutely key to making a successful sale in the quickest time possible.
Today your online presence is almost certainly the first impression that your property will make on a potential buyer. The images that you use will be the reason they will want to firstly investigate the listing in more detail, and then ensure that any interested party goes forward and books a viewing.
You might have time and the finances to contract a professional photographer to undertake the important photography for you. However if deadlines are short or budgets horribly tight then you could call on a friend with a good eye or take the marketing photos yourself. In this event the following advice, helpful hints, dos and don’ts will help.
Once again limited time or a lack of funds might leave you with no choice other than to create your best work with a smart phone – some of these modern mobiles have amazing internal camera apps. If so carry on reading for general advice that can be applied no matter what type of camera you use.
However you will absolutely improve results by acquiring and using the following items in addition to a suitable camera equipment:
- Tripod – to avoid shaking hands and ensure images are clear and sharp.
- Wide angle lens – to capture the best angles and every part of a room.
- Flash – so that all lighting issues can be addressed.
Get rooms and exteriors ready for the shoot!
Make sure you prepare each room and the outside or your property carefully before you start. Stand back and look at the area to be photographed with a fresh eye. Consider what additions would make the setting more engaging, or what items should be removed to improve the end result.
- Light all dark corners and badly lit areas.
- Remove furniture to create space.
- Clean and polish to the tenth degree.
- Add side lamps and flowers.
- Set dining tables for dinner and coffee tables with magazines and a tea set.
- Remove piles of clothes, children’s toys and untidy paperwork.
- Plump cushions, make up beds to hotel standards, and arrange curtains and blinds in their best positions.
- Rubbish bins and broken garden furniture should be moved out of sight for external shots.
- Your garden line should be empty of washing!
Lighting is key
With or without flash equipment or additional special lighting, there are several general tips that you can follow to ensure that a room or the exterior of your property is set in the best possible light for your photographs:
- Turn on all interior electric lights to achieve either a warm appealing setting for a room or to create an appealing effect for external shots taken pre-twilight.
- Light any dark corners with table lamps or any small additional type of lighting.
- Consider the time of day – natural light changes throughout each day and will therefore alter the way the exterior of a building will appear in a photograph.
- When taking an internal image that includes a window with an external view, make sure you consider the light both indoors and out – make a few different lighting adjustments to achieve the best lighting for both inside and outside the building.
Consider your marketing materials and how your images will be used
All real estate marketing is created and prepared to run either both online and and in a printed format, or just solely online. Printed materials can range from brochures and simple A4 handouts to extremely large signage – so it is important to make sure that your images will work on any platform that you intend to use.
Make sure you have high res versions to use if necessary and think carefully about how the end use of your images will alter the list of photographs that you will require.
A few extra tips to consider:
- Ask a friend with Photoshop who can apply gentle filters to maximise how good the images look.
- Don’t mislead people! An interested buyer will be hugely disappointed if the property in real life looks completely different to how it was shown on a website or any marketing material.
- Include as much blue within your images as possible: interior colour, fabrics, furniture or the sky. Blue appeals to the eye and will catch people’s attention online.
- Consider the composition of the images: avoid dead space at the top of a picture and include interesting features that are below hip height, so adjust your position accordingly.
- Will you need black & white versions of your photographs? Does your marketing require this option or could it be enhanced by using black & white imagery?
Walk around the room and identify the best viewpoints. Often these are aiming from one corner of the room into the other, or from a perspective which conveys space or the flow from one room into another. Always photograph a room from more than one viewpoint. This ensures you can review your images later and make a more confident decision on which perspective works best.
There are certain key rules when it comes to real-estate photography. Firstly, all your vertical lines should be vertical. This is achieved by aiming your camera perfectly horizontal. Aiming slightly up or down will result in it converging verticals – an indication that an amateur is at work. There are exceptions to this rule. For example, photographing a stairwell, or shooting from a higher level down to the room below may require tilting the camera up or down. Similarly, you may find that you have no option but to aim your camera upwards when photographing the exterior of the property. Fortunately, Photoshop and Lightroom can correct any converging verticals if required.