Photography tips for your real estate

The purpose of photos of your home is to put your best foot forward, but professional photographers can charge hundreds of dollars to come out and make your home look beautiful.

Is it worth the investment? Here to give us the inside scoop is real estate expert, John Adams.

Question: John, what do we need to know about pictures to sell our home?

Adams: It’s more important now than it was even ten years ago. That’s because today’s buyers are used to high-quality photo layouts all over the web, and if your home looks out-of-focus or just plain drab compared to the competition, you’ve put your house at a real disadvantage.

We’re talking about a first impression here:  it’s critical that you make a big first impression, and pictures are the best (and maybe only) opportunity that you will have to do that.

Q: So, what can we do?

A: If you plan to take your own pictures, make sure the house actually looks neat and clean before you start. Once you are there, here are some tips:

  1. Always use a tripod.  Even though your cell phone may be the best quality camera you own, you can still use a tripod with a cell-phone mount. They are very inexpensive and work to steady your camera for a crystal clear shot.
  2. And it’s important to use the CAMERA DELAY feature on your smartphone to delay the shot until after you remove your finger. Even the slightest movement can result in a blurry shot that is not pleasing to the eye.
  3. Shoot your photos from a level of about 36 to 48 inches off the floor. It gives the viewer a different perspective and one that is pleasing to the eye. Shoot straight ahead, not pointed up or down.
  4. Let sunlight be your friend. And NEVER take pictures on a cloudy day - wait for lots of sunshine! Exterior shots, in particular, are much more dramatic at dawn and at dusk. Somehow, the light hitting your subject almost horizontally looks much more dramatic than other times of the day.  Also, try to emphasize that the interior is bright and cheerful, even if it’s not. Avoid using a flash if possible - natural light is most pleasing. Open the blinds and curtains as much as possible!
  5. Use a wide-angle lens, 14 to 24 mm is best, to show more of your room and make the room appear larger. But don’t use a fisheye lens, because the distortion is too extreme. A wide variety of clip on lenses is available inexpensively online and they work very well.
  6. Shoot mirrors at an angle, and keep yourself out of the picture. Arranged properly, the mirror makes the room look larger, and keeps YOU from being a distraction in the picture.
  7. Take a LOT of photos. That way you can pick and choose which pictures look the best. Today’s digital cameras don’t use film: there are no printing costs involved, so click away!
  8. Use your home computer to crop and improve the balance of each photo your select for the final cut. There is nothing wrong with putting your best foot forward!
  9. If you own a drone, consider aerial shots to add drama. And consider hiring a drone photographer, especially on higher priced property. Professional drone photographers can achieve remarkable results.

THE BOTTOM LINE:  Almost all home buyers begin their search for a new home online, and they expect to see lots of pictures, inside and out. Give them what they want, and your home will sell faster and for a higher price.

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