I am NOT a photographer but here are some things I have learned in my own business as a home stager and from my own experience as a potential home buyer. This is for home owners, real estate agents, home stagers and anyone else who takes photos of houses for advertising purposes. First of all, I highly recommend you hire a professional photographer. You can always tell which houses are professionally photographed and these houses will usually get the most hits. If you choose to do your own photos because of financial or other reasons, here are a few tips to help you get it right.
Over 90% of buyers today will first view a home on the MLS or other advertising platform. And they will quickly eliminate any which don’t appeal to them based on the photos. I know, I’ve done it! Today, photos are actually the first impression buyers will get of most properties. That is why it is so important to always post good quality photos.
In this day of digital photograpy, there is no reason NOT to take lots of photos…it doesn’t cost any more and you’ll have more to choose from for the advertising. Even a good quality point and shoot will often produce excellent photos if certain guidelines are followed.
- Take a photo from each corner of the room if possible, plus a straight on photo of any obvious focal point such as a fireplace, a large picture window, etc.
- Turn on all the lights in the room especially lamps. Photos look so much better when lamps are turned on.
- Try to shoot without a flash in bathrooms and any other places there are mirrors or reflective surfaces. Do not post any photos with glare from those reflections.
- Do not stand in front of a mirror and take a picture. You will get a photo of you taking a photo which looks rather silly.
- Use a camera with a wide angle lens. To my knowledge, 23-25mm are the widest you can get for the point and shoot cameras.
- For a DSLR camera, don’t use a lens that gives the room a fishbowl effect.
- Stay with simple edits such as brightness & contrast, sharpening the image. Don’t photoshop out any unsightly features unless it is something that will not be there when a buyer physically shows up to look at the property. And don’t make the grass a brighter green or the sky a bluer blue. Don’t photoshop furniture into a vacant home. It rarely looks good unless done by a professional.
- The composition of a photo is what makes or breaks a photo in my opinion. You can have beautiful quality photographs but what is the point if the presentation is poor or the subject matter is all wrong? What is the point in taking a beautiful photo if it only shows a cluttered room or a messy kitchen (presentation)? What is the point in taking great photos of a room full of taxidermy (subject matter)? Think about what YOU would like to see if you were buying the house.
- For home stagers, make sure your ‘before’ and ‘after’ shots are taken at the same angle. How can you truly compare otherwise?
- Always post more than one photo. If you don’t people often assume that there is something to hide, or the house doesn’t show very well.
- Don’t post blurry or grainy photos.
- Don’t post photos that serve no purpose, such as a photo of the ceiling/ceiling fan or of several doorways in a hallway. It’s not really conveying anything useful to the buyers.
HOMESTYLING BY CATHY