Photography is one of the most powerful tools in real estate marketing.
It’s often one of the first features that sparks a potential buyer or renter’s interest and it can help foster an emotional attachment early on.
On the other hand, if done poorly, it can make a house hunter completely disregard the property.
As an agent it’s important to put yourself in the buyer or renter’s shoes. Would you really take the time to visit a property advertised with only one, blurry photo? And would you be impressed if you made the effort to visit a property only to find the photos had been edited beyond recognition?
Here are some things you’ll want to avoid in your real estate photos as well as some ways to get the most from this marketing tool.
1. Misleading photography
There’s nothing more frustrating for renters than turning up to an open home and realising the agent has used misleading photography techniques to make the home look much bigger or better than it really is.
One common (but very old school and dodgy) technique is the fisheye lens, which curves and expands a space to make it appear larger. This is incredibly obvious and should be avoided at all costs.
Don’t rely on Photoshop to edit things out of a photo or make it look misleadingly nicer. It’s much better to prepare the house for marketing shots, in terms of cleaning and styling, so you have a good canvas to work with.
A few minor touch ups are okay, but it should still closely resemble the property you are trying to rent or sell.
Instead, You can consider using drones for your property listing. The video footage can really show off the home.
2. A messy house
This one may seem like common sense, but your photographs shouldn’t be filled with the current occupant’s clutter and mess.
On photo day, the space should be clean, inviting and nicely presented.
It’s a good idea to provide the occupant with a check-list prior to the day of shooting so they can prepare the property ahead of time.
3. A poorly lit house and dark photos
A poorly lit, dark space is not going to present well in photos. Many property hunters will not be enticed by the thought of living in an uninviting property.
Open the blinds and let in as much natural, warm, ambient lighting as possible. This will make the space appear larger, airier, more welcoming and will photograph much better.
On the other hand, avoid having harsh, artificial lighting which can also be off-putting in photos.
If the brightness and contrast need to be adjusted, you can also use a photo editor to do extra touch ups.
4. Not keeping it relevant
Make your photography shots count and keep them relevant.
While the property may be nicely styled, no buyer or renter really cares about seeing a close up of a Persian rug in the hallway or the owner’s stylish lounge, which won’t be there once they move in.
While these things can certainly help a home present better, they shouldn’t be the focus.
House hunters want to see the actual space they will be living in, not the items that will be moving out with the current occupant.
5. People and pets in the photograph
Generally, you shouldn’t have any people in your real estate photos.
This may include the vendor accidentally walking into the corner of a shot or your own reflection when taking photos of rooms with mirrors or other reflective surfaces.
Similarly, there should not be any pets in real estate photos. While you may think they add some cuteness to your campaign, you could be deterring potential house hunters who may not feel comfortable with an animal living at the property.
6. Personal items
Avoid personal items such as family photos on the wall, car registration plates or personalised letters on the fridge.
This is not just for privacy reasons. It may also make it harder for the prospective buyer or renter to imagine themselves living in the property, as they may feel like they’re intruding on someone else’s personal space.
7. Poor quality photos
You’re a professional and your photos should be too. Ensure your photos are the right size for the website you’re uploading them to and they’re not pixilated or taken at a crooked angle.
It’s also important to ensure they’re not blurry and the best way to do this is to invest in a tripod.
There’s also a significant difference between amateur and professional photography. If you have the budget for a professional real estate photographer, it’s a good idea to take this approach.
8. Not enough photos (or way too many)
It’s important to get the right number of photos.
While there is no ideal set number, you should take enough to show off each of the main rooms. If there’s a lack of photos, or certain key rooms have been omitted, it may leave the prospective buyer wondering what’s wrong with the rooms excluded and/or the property overall.
Equally, you should avoid having so many photos that the prospective buyer becomes bored. Unless you’re photographing a mansion, there’s no need for an excess of shots, or several shots of the same room.
This can lead to impatience and may be frustrating for the house hunter if they’re having to click back through thirty photos to find the one they want.
Put yourself in the buyers shoes and make your advertisement and photography as user friendly as possible.
Finally, the biggest no-no is not having any photos. Be sure to avoid this at all costs.