The Real Estate Agent’s Guide to Photographing Properties
By Colin Ryan
About Agent Basics
Photography is one of the most important aspects of a real estate listing. A property with stunning photos will generate more and better results than a property with mediocre photos. Unfortunately, most real estate agents are not professional photographers (Just check out the site “Terrible real estate agent photos” on Tumblr to see what we mean). Still, with the right equipment and some basic knowledge, even an amateur can capture stunning visuals. Here are some tips for getting the best photos of your listings.
While newer is generally better when it comes to cameras, you don’t need to buy the most expensive, top-of-the-line model. However, it is important that you invest in a wide-angle lens. Photos taken with wide-angle lenses capture more space and make viewers feel as if they are standing in the home themselves. You should also invest in a decent tripod. The added stability will greatly improve the quality of your photos.
Once you have your hardware, it’s time to consider the space you’ll be photographing. Work with your client to determine which parts of the property to highlight: rooms with unique features, large outdoor spaces, recent renovations, etc. Communicating with the client will allow you to discuss their favorite parts of the home, along with your opinion as an experienced agent.
Next, make sure the home is photo-ready by clearing out any excess furniture or junk that might take away from the property’s appeal. This may include wall items and decorations, such as cluttered bulletin boards. If the home is empty, consider bringing in a few pieces of furniture to provide viewers with a sense of scale. Use smaller decor touches (books, throw rugs, decorative bowls and baskets, etc.) to add warmth and character.
All your high-tech equipment and room preparations won’t mean much if you don’t use the proper shooting techniques. For example, to provide the best perspective possible, it’s important to take indoor photos with the camera at chest height — not eye-level. You should also take photos from the corner of the room, rather than from a back wall. This creates the impression of a larger room. Use your tripod to keep the camera straight at all times. When photographing outdoor spaces, choose a higher vantage point — a pole, a ladder, the top of a car, etc. Above all, never include yourself or your client in a photo.
Lighting can make all the difference in a photo. Natural light works best, so avoid using the flash wherever possible. Schedule your shoot for the morning, when light is best, and make sure it’s a sunny day. Cloudy or rainy days tend to result in dull, dark photos. That said, overcast days can be better for homes that are usually in shade.
Be sure to take multiple shots in every room, with different exposures — even if they are from the same vantage point. This will ensure that you have at least one photo with the perfect lighting and exposure.
Keep these tips in mind the next time you photograph a listing and you’ll be sure to get a better response from consumers. And remember: Prospective buyers are sifting through many listings, so uniqueness is essential. How will you stand out from the crowd?
Published on October 15, 2013