Real Estate Photography Rundown
This post initially written by Dan St. John for Baystate Property Solutions in December 2016 – see the original posting here .
I’m consistently amazed by the number of real estate agents ( either collaborating with home-owners or going rogue ) that decide to take on the challenge of photographing their client’s properties themselves. Browsing your local Zillow and Redfin yields inconsistent and sometimes hilarious results; there’s the guy who staged his own bedroom ( empty beer cans and all ), iPhone masterpieces of bathrooms with next to no light, and cluttered living rooms with laundry not-so-subtly shoved behind the furniture. Seasoned agents know they can’t wear every hat in their business, so why do some still do it? I’d like to offer a few reasons NOT to:
1. Attention Spans
In a world of Facebook, YouTube, and Vine it’s easy to understand why the average person’s attention span is merely a few seconds long. There’s too many options – and what do you think is going to make your prospective home-buyer stop in their tracks and purchase your listed property? I can guarantee you it won’t be your poorly-lit, grainy shot of the front of the house that neglects to show the size of the yard ( or maybe hide it’s proximity to the main road ).
2. Lighting and Angles
An experiences photographer not only knows where to add and subtract light, ( read: add in those tiny, cramped bedrooms and subtract to minimalize scuffs on the wall ) but they also know how to highlight the space in a room to make it seems even larger. It’s embarrassing how many DIY photographers neglect some of the most obvious shots ( such as those that include windows ) in favor of long, empty shots of walls on the opposite side of the room. It’s also worth noting that the tripod height can make the room seem taller or shorter depending on how it’s used.
Let’s get one thing straight; Photoshop should never be used as a crutch or to to manipulate someone into buying something that’s been digitally altered. That being said, HDR Photography allows the camera to see even more light levels ( with the assistant of post-production ) and can make enhance a drab setting with a touch of elegance. It’s even gotten to the point where we can digitally stage furniture to help prospective buyers visualize what they can do with their new space!
In 2013 Shannon O’ Brien made a great point in a Market Leader article that advocated using a professional:
“Let’s assume that you’re an average agent, working in an average market where the median sales price is the same as the national median, about $222,275, and you take one of those average listings.
If you spend just 1/10 of 1 percent of the list price to advertise the home, it would cost you $222.
Considering your commission will be $6,668 and change, $222 seems paltry, doesn’t it? Kick down just a bit more and you can hire a professional photographer.”
Given the investment, can you really afford not to?