Great house pictures attract buyers while bad pictures repel home buyers. Make sure your next agent follows these tips to get great looking pictures to make your house stand out from the competition.
You’d be surprised how bad some MLS photos look. I have even found websites that make fun of bad real estate photos. While pictures featured on that site may be extreme examples of bad photography, many MLS pictures do not do the featured house justice. If your agent uses a pocket-sized camera with a built-in flash or worse yet, a phone camera to take pictures of your house, you are in trouble.
The biggest problem with pocket-sized cameras and phone cameras is the size and power of their built-in flash. A flash on a small camera can light up only about 6 – 10 feet of area in front of the flash. A phone’s flash is capable of even less. For a portrait of a person, this is okay, but for a large room there’s no way that’s going to be enough light. The resulting picture will make your room look dark and shadowy. That’s not a selling feature.
When I take pictures of properties for sale or rent, I use a Nikon D70 digital SLR (single lens reflex) camera with a wide angle lens, top mount strobe flash and tripod. Don’t forget the tripod. This setup produces great results.
Tricks that work…
(Note, I use film terms to describe the process. Most digital settings mimic film settings & terminology)
DEPTH OF FIELD: If you want to shoot a room and be able to get a clear view of the scenery through the window, use a higher F-stop (F-11 to F-22) or if you must use a pocket camera, use a different mode that shows both foreground and background.
TO MAKE ROOMS BRIGHTER: To make a room look brighter, turn on all lights, open all blinds and use a professional strobe flash. If your camera supports it, use a higher film speed rating like ISO 1000. Also if using a wide angle lens, don’t go wider than the flash’s light area. If you do, you can always crop the photo later.
WHEN USING WIDE-ANGLE LENSES: If you are using a wide-angle lens, use a tripod and only shoot perfectly level to the horizon. If you tilt the camera up or down, you’ll get convergence and doorways will look narrower at the top and wider at bottom.
TO MAKE HALLS LOOK DEEPER: Do not use a wide angle lens to shoot a hall. Turn off the wide-angle setting and shoot in normal mode. A wide-angle lens makes the room look wider by pulling the center background closer to foreground to create a wide effect. This works great for wide, but poorly for depth.
TO MAKE ROOMS LOOK BIGGER: I like to shoot small rooms from just outside the door. Don’t go too far outside because that would block part of the flash.
SHOOT A FEW ARTISTIC SHOTS: Your house may have a few “sizzle” features that can attract buyers. Highlight them. Shoot across a kitchen counter to show the details of granite and the designer faucet. Got stainless appliances? Shoot the reflection in an artsy way. Find a creative way to show off your fireplace too.
STAGE YOUR SHOTS: If your house is empty, put towels and a bathmat in the bathrooms, throw a set of containers and a towel on the kitchen counter. Put a few objects on a set of shelves, bar glasses at the bar, etc. Just add a few nice things for closeup shots. Crystal bar decanter set makes the bar look nicer and adds details to photographs that attract attention. Also reducing clutter helps too if you have too much furniture. Your agent can advise you on all that stuff.
NATURAL LIGHT: Be aware of when your house looks its best in natural light. If morning sun shines in one section of the house, photograph that side in the morning. Photograph the other side when the setting sun shines through. May take a day, but it’s worth it. Especially if you have hardwoods. They look beautiful in direct light.
Make sure your real estate agent takes the time to make good pictures. Very few agents do and your house brochures and MLS listing will stand out from your competition.
The pictures below are of the same house that was pictured at the top of the article. The top photo is before sprucing up and the only things change in the photo below it was a little yard clean up, brush removal and a better photography angle.A Bad House Photo