For a faster, more profitable home sale
Photographing your staged home for online real estate viewing is one of the most important steps in getting buyers to your house. Make it worth their while by posting flattering pictures of your home.
Online real estate photographs are the first thing that buyers look for when they search for a new home-- over 90% to be precise.
A recent survey found that 86% of home buyers felt that online real estate pictures were the most important and useful feature of their search, so photographing your staged home is crucial to the selling of your house.
Additionally, most buyers said they skipped right past listings that didn't have house pictures to view. It's human nature to be suspicious and wonder why pictures are missing--what are they hiding?! If you want to get your house sold, you must include visual elements of it online.
This page doesn't deal with which camera to use or camera settings, but rather with guidelines to help you set up the perfect shot for online real estate pictures.
The only thing you need is a good camera or cell phone capable of producing high-resolution photographs.
If you have a good camera, that's still preferable to using a cell phone.
I was once a camera purist, but almost changed my mind when my camera batteries died in the middle of a house photo shoot. I was miles from nowhere, so I had to finish with my cellphone.
The final result surprised me. My cell phone pictures looked pretty good!
Take some time to scroll through some online real estate pictures. There are plenty of bad examples out there.
Take note of why some look better (or worse!) than others.
Be sure that your property shows well BEFORE presenting your photos to the public. Hopefully, you will have cleaned, depersonalized and staged your home.
When photographing your staged home, present a lifestyle that home buyers are looking for. Browse through interior design magazine for ideas and current trends.
Compose your pictures. When photographing your staged home, be sure to highlight high-end details and focal points of each room. Shoot close-up pictures of interesting features like;
For more diy tips on photographing your home exterior and outdoor spaces, see six must-have online real estate photos.
Pick up after yourself. I once left a bottle of Windex on the windowsill of a home I had staged. I didn't notice it until later after the picture went live!
Take pictures from the corner of a room. This will emphasize the square footage of a space.
When taking interior pictures, try to do it using only natural light and on a sunny day. Open up all the draperies and window shades.
The best picture taking light occurs in early morning (30 minutes after sunrise) and late afternoon (one hour before sunset) when the light is softer. If lacking enough natural light, turn on some interior lights.
A well-lit interior is essential when photographing your staged home, so turn on all the lights if natural lighting isn't enough.
Avoid using a flash, if possible. A flash often creates a hard light, shadows, or an eerie quality. It will also reflect off windows and mirrors.
The feature wall in your photograph should be well lit. If lighting is insufficient, bring in a floor lamp and point it toward the subject wall. When photographing your staged home, make sure the light is behind you when you snap your pictures.
Bring in an extra floor or table lamp to fill dark corner spaces. Your goal is to balance the light so that there are no over-lit or under-lit spots in the shot.
Be aware of glare from windows, mirrors, and shiny objects in the room. Don't aim your light source directly at mirrors or windows-- the reflection will produce a harsh glare.
Avoid pointing your camera directly toward a light source. This can produce shadows that muddle most of your image.
A soft light is most desirable for shooting photographs, so take your pictures in early morning or late afternoon. I call this the "magic hour."
Make good use of the light that is available in the room. Play with the shades, open the window treatments... experiment.
If you’re relying on natural light alone, the best time to shoot depends on the placement and size of windows.
If too much light is coming in from the windows, close the drapes or window shades. Never photograph straight into the light.
Bright light in the background is better than indoor lighting. You may want to experiment at different times of the day to see which lighting you prefer.
A general rule of thumb when photographing your staged home, is that eastside rooms should be taken in the morning, and westside in the afternoon. Rooms with northern and southern exposure should be taken when the rooms are at their brightest.
Don't shoot on a rainy, dreary day. This will make your home appear dismal and uninviting.
Avoid shooting pictures when the sun is glaring in the windows. Sometimes you just have to wait for the right light.
Home exterior night photos can be a charming addition to your online listing photos. Maybe you have appealing outdoor landscape lighting or a welcoming porch you’d like to highlight?
Indoor pictures can be taken at night, but the results won't be as reliable. Turn on all the lights and use your flash. Experiment by moving extra lamps around to improve your shots.
Home exterior shots taken on a bright sunny day make cast dark shadows on your home. Exterior shots often turn out better taken on overcast days.
Fluffing - This is a real estate term for exaggerating, by using descriptions to make a home sound better than it really is. This can be done with online real estate pictures as well. Fluffing, or fluffery, is done for the sole purpose of getting home buyers in the door.
As a former realtor, I viewed it as a complete waste of time, because when buyers actually saw the house, they were so irritated, they couldn't view the home objectively!
Fraud - Avoid photoshopping too much. You could run into ethical issues if you falsely straighten up a deteriorating chimney, add wood flooring where none exists, or edit out a gravel pit next door. It’s acceptable to edit out things like your dog or a car in the driveway, or the garbage can you forgot to take in.
Take care that you don't falsely misrepresent your house by making it took too good. Buyers will only be disappointed and walk away angry.
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