I’ve been a real-estate agent for over 15 years. In that time, I’ve looked through tens of thousands of real estate listings. And yet, I am always amazed to see ads featuring glaringly bad photographs.
Nice photographs were important when I first entered the business, but today, they are absolutely vital. Good photographs get you leads. The better the photos, the more leads you’re likely to get.
Here are some essential tips for taking high-quality real estate photos on your own:
Before the photoshoot:
1. No need to hire a professional
Unless you have a few hundred dollars to burn, it’s a good idea to skip out on hiring a professional photographer to take photos for your rental listing. (If you’re trying to sell your home, that’s another story.) Owners trying to save money can take perfectly adequate photos on their own.
2. Use your iPhone or any basic digital camera.
Your iPhone can take wonderful photos, as can just about any basic digital camera on the market. Beyond that, don’t worry too much about quality or pixelation.
3. Get rid of eyesores.
The best photographer in the world can’t make a messy house look appealing in a listing. Take the time to clear off all surfaces, from desks to dressers to kitchen counters. Clutter is not doing you any favors. Then, move items like dish soap, garbage cans and toiletries out of frame. Finish off by giving surfaces like your counter and refrigerator a quick wipe-down.
4. Give important rooms a pleasant, welcoming feel.
While you don’t want to put your entire china collection on display, you also don’t want your house to look completely soulless. Focus on small, simple details to give your house a warm ambiance. Place a fruit basket out on your kitchen counter, or display a pretty plant by your window.
Tips for the perfect Photoshoot
1. Allow yourself sufficient time.
Remember: These photos are doing most of the work in your ad. You can write the most detailed description in the world and it won’t say half as much as the right series of photos. So put in the time to get them right.
2. Take horizontal photos.
Horizontal images are always more pleasing to the human eye. Go with landscape photos -- no exceptions!
3. Lighting matters.
This is perhaps the most common mistake I see in amateur real-estate photos. Be sure that all of the household lights are on during your photoshoot. A bright room is simply much more inviting than a dark one. Also, use natural light to your advantage by shooting during the day. Whatever you do, don’t take a photograph while directly facing a window, as it makes the rest of the image appear very dark.
Arranging Photos in Your Ad
1. Start with the most appealing thing about your house.
For many of the renters I work with, the lakeview is the ultimate selling point. Therefore, I have them place an image of that view first in the ad. Take stock of your home and honestly assess what might be most appealing to the average tenant (the kitchen, backyard, foyer, etc.) Then, put that photo first.
2. Try to give the viewer a feeling of walking through the house.
After your first photo, arrange your images sequentially, so that they mimic the experience of walking through your house. This gives prospective tenants a more vivid idea of what your home actually feels like.
3. Be as informative as you can.
If you want to include a photograph of every room in your house, go ahead and do so. At the very least, showcase all the major rooms. Additionally, if you have a floor-plan of the house, definitely include that at the end of your ad as well.
My tips are easy to follow and the only cost is little extra time. You will see that by investing a few minutes to take better photos of your rental you will be rewarded with far more leads than average. That's the kind of ROI you cannot deny.