It seems these days photography can sometimes tell a story better than words can. As a writer, this kind of sucks. For homeowners, seeing an image of what could potentially be their future dream home, can be the kickstarter they need to start the real estate process. Quality real estate photography is so vital to the process and it creates not only a visual representation for the consumer but also legitimacy in your business for you as the real estate professional.
Your real estate photography is obviously going to be an investment both monetarily (photography equipment is not cheap) and with your time (taking good photos takes a lot of work and effort). Let’s have a detailed look at what it takes to really utilize photography in your business
Do your research on your equipment
Having the right equipment will be one of the difference makers between shooting good and great photography. And it’s not just the camera, but let’s start with the main player in the process.
- Camera - Investing in the right camera is an important decision incorrectly utilizing photography in your business. It’s an expensive investment, so the first thing is to look at your price range and then determine what is available within that range. The top camera brands are Nikon, Canon, Sony, and FujiFilm. There are also many digital cameras available that are used, but still in great condition. (Nikon D800 paired with a Sigma 14-24MM lens shown here)
- Tripod - A relatively inexpensive but necessary item to really capture great photos. A tripod is going to allow for a completely focused, straight, and crisp photo.
- Remote trigger - Another inexpensive accessory, but one that allows you to set up your camera on a tripod, walk away, and still snap the photo. (These are also very helpful for capturing family photos during the holidays)
- Flash - An on-camera flash is an essential accessory for your camera because it provides additional light when conditions become darker. It allows you to achieve more balanced exposures in daylight conditions, helps freeze a fast-moving subject, and so much more!
- Flash trigger - Same as the remote trigger, flash triggers allow your camera to communicate with the external flash without being connected to it.
- Invest in a wide-angle lens - These have a focal length that is substantially smaller than a normal lens (less than 16MM) that allows you to capture so much more of a scene in one photo without having to move too far away from your subject. We find that 14MM is a sweet spot!
Prep each room before taking real estate photos
There are some small but important details to keep in mind when photographing the interior of a home. You want to make each room look as inviting, clean, and well-lit as possible.
- Declutter living area - Keep it minimal and crisp. Inspire viewers to imagine living there
- Remove unnecessary furniture and decor - Let the viewers imagine how they would decorate
- Clear and clean kitchen counters - we know the grit and grime that collects on these surfaces, but we don’t need to show it.
- Clear and clean bathroom sinks, tubs, and showers - people want to see how clean some of the items are that they will be using every day
- Replace burned-out bulbs - You don’t want any dark spots or clutter in your photos and an unused appliance could be seen as clutter
- Open all window treatments- bring in that natural light for a truly great photo!
- Remove floor mats and runners- no matter how clean you keep them, these are what your feet stand on and best to be removed from your photos
- Make all the beds- Think model home.
- Remove all personal photos and items- Keep it staged and not personal. Removing personal photos and items and adding stock photography will allow viewers to paint a picture of their personal items in that home
- Put all shoes and jackets in closets- Find a place for anything that doesn’t have one. Remove the clutter from all the rooms so your photos don’t feel too overwhelming.
- Clear all nightstands- Keep only the necessary items that need to be there
Remove all pet items
Remember, the people that will be viewing these photos are the ones who potentially want to be living in that home. They are going to want to see the home as if they were the owners and perhaps they aren’t pet people or they are allergic. Regardless, keep the pet items out of the photos.
Prep the outside of the house
The exterior is just as important as the interior and sometimes the first photo they will see so think of it as a first impression. There are some quick and simple tips to really capture the perfect photos of the outside of a house.
- Landscaping - Take a look at the outside and determine whether you need to plant some items or just maintain what is already there. Make sure the plants are well kept and the lawn mowed.
- Sweep porches and decks - Don’t have any debris on the porches and decks. Make them look as clean as possible for your photos.
- Clear cars from road and driveway - Don’t cover up any of the house or any of the square footage that you are trying to show off.
- Hide all garbage cans and lawn equipment - We all know these things exist, but they don’t belong in listing photos.
- Remove BBQ covers - Show off what the exterior looks like with a nice grill. Sometimes a BBQ cover can be misleading in a photograph.
- Open up patio umbrellas - Give viewers an idea of what it is like to spend time outside of the home being photographed and a closed umbrella doesn’t really serve a purpose.
It is so important to keep lighting consistent in your photos. You want to create a cohesive story for your viewers and make it effortless for them to understand every photo. Use as much natural light as you can as that will bring the most ideal polished photos. Consider the time of day and weather conditions when using natural light in your photos.
Use a tripod
No matter how steady you think your hands may be, they aren’t as solid as a tripod. Get the most guaranteed crisp and focused photo by using a tripod. They are actually one of the cheaper accessories to purchase for your camera.
Take several shots at different exposures
Exposure is the amount of light that reaches your camera sensor and is a crucial part of how light or dark your photos will appear. The goal is to capture a photo with the ideal brightness with high levels of detail in both the highlight areas and shadows. The beauty of digital cameras is you can mess around with shutter speed and your aperture settings to take a number of different photos until you find that ideal brightness! Here is a great article on the basics of this- https://photographylife.com/iso-shutter-speed-and-aperture-for-beginners
Edit photos, but not too much
Using an editing tool to clean up your photos is definitely key, but don’t overdo it. You want your photos to feel as realistic as possible so avoid any unnecessary filters or over-saturation. Just clean them up a little bit. If you don't have a photo editor try www.photopea.com
Another dynamic to your real estate photography and one that allows for incredible birds-eye-view shots is drone photography. With the world going more and more virtual every day, drone photography and videography gives potential buyers the ability to see homes in a way they never could before, not even in person! Check out this article on drone photography & videography to learn more. https://www.realtyonegroup.com/blog/drone-real-estate-photography
Virtual tours are not even the future, they are the present. With the everlasting effects of the pandemic, more and more parts of your business have gone virtual, including touring homes. Check out our article on building a virtual tour and stay tuned for a full article on how to take your home tours virtual!
This article was originally written by Joshua Katz for Realty One Group