6 Real Estate Photo Tips to Draw Buyers

November 7, 2008

The content of the following was written by Dana Mattioli of the Wall Street Journal and was originally posted on MSN Real Estate.

In days past, selling a home depended mainly on “curb appeal”- the first impression a buyer gets after pulling up in front of the home. Now however, attractiveness of photos posted online are of the utmost importance. Eighty percent of home buyers used the Internet last year to search for a home, and nearly 25% reported that the Internet is where they first found the property they purchased, according to a National Association of Realtors survey.

Good photographs can lure buyers, and poor ones can turn them away. The following tips will help create flattering photos of properties:

1. Lighten up. For exterior shots, shoot in the middle of the day when the sun is shining and the sky is blue, says Gregory Haberstick, who trains professional photographers for Foxtons, a real-estate company serving New York and New Jersey.

For interior shots, Bill Bayless, a real-estate photographer in Damascus, Ore., suggests turning on all the lights and using a flash. “The flash adds in all of the correct colors and fills in the shadows, making the room look brighter,” he says.

2. More is better. Home buyers want to see more than just the front of the house. Buyers also want to get a look at the living room, kitchen, dining room, family room, master bedroom/bathroom and the backyard, Bayless says. He suggests including your residence’s best features, such as a home theater or an exercise room.

For condos and apartments, include shots of amenities such as a pool, tennis court or gym, says Kevin Grolig, a real-estate agent with Llewellyn Realtors in Rockville, Md.

If your home has a spectacular view, say of a beach, lake, mountains, park or golf course, by all means post photos of it, says Ron Luxemburg, a photographer in Pasadena, Calif.

3. Get a clear shot. Remove clutter from an area before photographing it. Clear counter space and remove fridge magnets, children’s toys, dirty dishes and other distractions, says Haberstick.

“I’ve been known to spend a few hours moving things around,” says Grolig. He relocates appliances and makes beds to get the best photo.

For outside shots, put away garbage cans and remove the car from the driveway, he says. Try not to include telephone poles, wires and other homes in the scene.

4. Go pro. Hiring a professional real-estate photographer may be the way to go. Examine samples from photographers and ask about their experience before making your choice, Luxemburg says.

Photographers’ fees can range from a hundred dollars to $500, he says. Using a professional photographer will greatly increase the quality of your photographs. They have special equipment and experience.

5. Give it your best shot. Quality counts when taking photos, and cell-phone cameras don’t cut it. A camera with a wide-angle lens is ideal.

For a clear photo, place digital cameras on a tripod or something solid so the camera is steady when the shutter goes off, says Luxemburg.

Set the camera on its highest resolution. If you decide to just use the photos online, you can always decrease the resolution, Luxemburg says. Never use fewer than 72 dots per inch for online photos, Bayless says.

6. Edit. Improve a shot using basic photo-editing software. Crop out ceilings or unnecessary background, says Luxemburg, and adjust the brightness or contrast.

Although these tips are made specifically for the non-professional photographer, they are important basic ideas even for people who take photographs everyday.

UniqueHomeSites has many featured photographers, all of whom can be viewed at: http://www.uniquehomesites.com/photographers/index.php.

For more information about UniqueHomeSites and our photographers, visit uniquehomesites.com or call 1.866.9UNIQUE.