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Photography Crash Course For Realtors

By Dan Wilson - April 01, 2020

Photography Hacks for Realtors

Step 1: Prepare your sellers and make sure the house is ready- The goal here is to show the home in its best LIGHT (pun intended)! Make sure that you have physically walked through the home, verify that that as many lights are functional as possible. If not get them some bulbs (always keep some in your car) I recommend warm lights over cool lights. Get multiple sizes and styles to be extra prepared, keep them in your car for future appts. Bonus tips;

  • Think like a stager, add toilet paper to half-used rolls, fold the ends nicely in a triangle (sellers notice and it puts you on another level)
  • Consider what time of day you visit the house for photos, go on Google maps to see how the sun hits the house on maps view, is it best light when sun is high, when it’s setting?
  • Close the toilet lids, turn on all the lights, close the shower curtain unless it is a nice shower surround and remove all the toiletries.  (don’t forget oven, microwave, refrigerator, undercabinet lighting)
  • Clear the clutter (does the item add value? Remove if not), I remove even nice stainless steel garbage cans.
  • Bring in a lamp if you need more light, turn on lamp lights or accent lighting.

Step 2: Do your research and get a camera- Get a camera that will work best for you, did you know modern phones can even be better than a basic SLR camera? For instance, the wide-angle lenses on a new Iphone or Samsung are quite impressive you may find that is all you need so spend a little extra and invest in your smart phone get one with a wide angle option and large capacity memory (over 128GB).

Want tips on smartphone photography watch this Tech Tuesday video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BC0xhBugFDc)

Alternatively, they do make attachments for phones that clip over your current lens.

Phone hack- Just do a Google search for ‘smart phone wide angle lens’ and make sure it will work for your particular phone model, here is an example- https://www.amazon.com/Xenvo-iPhone-Camera-Lens-Clip/dp/B01A6D2JVI/

Ideal basic camera setup on the cheap-

As far as a do it all camera, video and photos my pick would be a Sony a6500 which retails for around $1,300 (link below). If you are considering vlogging as well as photos this is a great option.

UNDER $500! Alternatively, you can get an inexpensive setup that will do the job fantastically

  • Camera: Nikon D90 or up, or mid-range Cannon/Sony Used or highend, think about it you really don’t need any more than 12 megapixels. This can be grabbed online for around $150-200 dollars. Just remember once you chose a brand you are pretty much stuck with the lens.
    • Factor in the lens, a kit lens (one provided with the camera) will not work, they are meant for portrait to zoom. You will need a wide angle so try to find one bundled with that or just buy a body and lens separately.
  • Lens: Sigma or similar 10-20mm lens around $150 (around 300 new)- DON’T CHEAP OUT ON THE LENS this matters the most.
  • Tripod: Just about any will do but obviously depending on how high you want to get your camera it will matter. Houses up on a hill for instance you will need to compensate for. Here is a good start- https://www.amazon.com/AmazonBasics-60-Inch-Lightweight-Tripod-Bag/dp/B005KP473Q
  • Flash: I try to avoid using a flash but occasionally I just have to (dark basement etc) and basic speedlight will do, you will need an attached flash since you are using a wide angle lens.

Step 3: Take some photos, and I mean go out and take photos of everything, learn how your camera works and how light impacts your photos.

  • Put your camera in auto mode, see how the settings adjust as you gently push down the shutter button.
  • Change to a priority setting, see how it affects the shot and the settings displayed.
  • Put it in manual mode and see how changing each setting impacts an image.
    • Change the white balance, does it get warmer? Cooler?
    • Change the aperture, does it affect your focus?
    • Change the shutter speed, does it affect clarity?
    • Change the ISO, is the image getting grainy? (a high ISO will create grainy images but boost your available light)

Step 4: Frame the shot, take photos from each corner of a room, even if you think its going to be a terrible shot. I have found that shots I thought would never look good actually do from another angle. Take more than you need you can always delete or not use them.

  • On wide angle be careful of corners (light fixtures especially) the corners are often stretched also known as barrel warp. You can remove some of this effect in post-processing or oftentimes reduce it with settings on your camera.
  • A brighter photo usually is a better photo but be careful to lose detail. Avoid shooting into areas with super dark or super bright backgrounds, overexpose your shot if necessary to get the photo. (overexposure is popular these days and it’s ok to overexpose windows)
  • Crop out unnecessary or over busy rooms backgrounds, consider closing doors. Take a shot with a door open to another room and closed to another room. Does it add value to the photo?
  • Think about it from a buyers perspective, showing the master with a shot of the attached bathroom says a lot more than reading about it in a description.
  • Think of special features, focus on them. Does the house have a large walk-in closet? Is the tub jetted or does the shower have a beautiful surround?
  • Take a close-up image share it on your socials! example: Check out this 1900’s doorbell, how cool is that…?

Step 5: Edit all the photos, no matter how good you are there is always improvement that can be done in post-processing aka photo enhancing/editing. Check out Canva.com or Photopea.com each will allow these editing capabilities and export to JPG. If you are more advanced there is nothing better than Adobe Creative Suite, specifically Lightroom and Photoshop.

If you need a good batch resizing software get Faststone Photo editor for free. I believe it is only for Windows users- https://www.faststone.org/FSResizerDetail.htm

  • Optimize your size of photo size to be smaller than 1MB per image (no larger than 1920X1080 aka 2.1 megapixels)
  • Crop out distractions
  • Color correct
  • Brighten the image, remove highlights and add contrast
  • Shapen necessary detail

My favorite equipment:

Helpful photography resources:

Spokane Local resources:

 

 

 

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