Effective Real Estate Photography

Top private seller tips for photographing your property

By Graeme Daniel

First Impressions Are Important

Your online photos will provide prospective buyers with a first visual impression of the property you have for sale. This is your big chance to show off your property in the best possible light, and the better your photographs are, the greater the impact on potential buyers. The great advantage of Web-based photographs is that they are readily available to all the buyers in the market; the advantage for buyers is that they are able to compare and contrast properties across the range of their particular interest, without initially inspecting them at ground-level.

With this competition in mind, it’s clear that good photographs will enhance your chances of bringing buyers to inspect the real thing. picture your home a masterpices

Preparing the Property for Presentation

Picture your house for sale as a masterpiece in some markets, owners are able to substantially improve their selling price by evacuating the house entirely, leaving the field clear for a makeover which is much easier to achieve and maintain without the daily wear-and-tear of occupancy. While such extreme staging may be not be feasible for many owners, similar results can be achieved in Web-based presentations through careful preparation of the property.

Before any photographs are taken, you should optimise the appearance of the property with painting, landscaping, cleaning, and basic repairs. Major improvements to appearance can generally be achieved at minimal cost – resist the temptation to make major alterations, as costs may not be recoverable at sale.

Whatever steps are taken to make the property more photogenic will flow through to count towards a good impression when prospective buyers arrive to inspect.​ To optimise your property’s appearance, a minimum effort should include steps along these lines:

  • Yard, Garden and House Exterior
  • Mow lawn, trim shrubs, prune trees, weed gardens, clear leaves from roof-gutters, clean the pool.
  • Remove garden trimmings and rubbish.
  • If required, buy a few potted flowering plants to add some extra colour to the front gardens, especially in areas near the front door.
  • Touch up shabby paintwork on exterior surfaces, fences, gates, and garden accessories such as pergolas.
  • Tidy away children’s toys and other ‘casual use’ items such as bicycles and garden tools – your lived-in look may not command universal appeal.
  • Remove items that might offend people who may not share your political or religious beliefs, let alone your quirky sense of humor.
  • Clear vehicles from both curbside and driveways; close the garage doors.
  • Items that are not included in the sale should be listed and either clearly labeled as such, or removed.
  • Touch up paintwork.
  • Repair anything that should work, but doesn’t – taps, drains and toilets, electrical fittings, airconditioning, hinges and latches on doors, windows, furniture. Window screens and panes should be in good condition. Although defects may not necessarily show up in your photographs, they should be remedied before any buyers arrive to match them against the real thing.
  • Unclutter and tidy thoroughly; even remove some furniture and rugs to storage if it will help to make the house appear more spacious.
  • Clean everything – especially areas associated with food and household cleanliness – kitchen, bathroom, toilets, ensuite, laundry. Clean carpets photograph better, and make a good impression on inspection.
  • Add a few touches of colourful decor – even if it’s not your personal style, they will enhance internal photographs.

Now that all this is done, it’s time to take those photographs before anything has a chance to revert to its comfortable state of domestic chaos.

Principles of Good Photography

The basic principles essential to successful create real estate photography may be reduced to just two:

  • Focus attention on the subject
  • Keep it simple

These principles are easily applied by owners keen to sell through their photographs. In general, effective photographs will engage viewers with a simple but accurate idea of the property seen at its honest best. In order to be able to choose the best images for the purpose, it may be necessary to take a lot of pictures from different angles and under a variety of lighting conditions – fortunately, modern digital cameras make it possible to view the shots without actually printing them.

Thoughtful Composition and intelligent use of Lighting are key factors in creating an image with high visual impact. picture your home a masterpices

Composition may be defined as ‘The arrangement of picture elements and their relationship to the background in such a way as to serve the purpose of the image’. Your aim here is to compose photographs which will:

  • Get the prospective buyer’s attention
  • Deliver an attractive message about the property

To achieve good composition for our purpose, here are some practical points to consider:

To achieve good composition for our purpose, here are some practical points to consider:As part of keeping things simple, do a final temporary tidying of as many small loose objects as possible before taking photographs inside.

Show as much of the house/room as possible within the picture-space – buyers are not much interested in the state of the sky or the texture of the roadway. The square miles of beautiful background landscape should not imply ownership.

Photographs from several angles may give potential buyers a better idea of the property’s size and surroundings. Favorable angles may be used to highlight desirable features, whereas a wrong angle can obscure them completely.

To avoid strange vertical perspectives, don’t take pictures too close to the front of a building; it may be better to take the shot from across the street, and crop out the boring roadway later on.Some things look better in the vertical (i.e., portrait) format – don’t forget to occasionally turn your camera sideways to explore this option.

A photograph taken from an angle often gains visual appeal from the dramatic interplay of light and shade; it may also convey a better idea of the structure of the building. Diagonal lines are generally seen to impart a sense of liveliness to a composition.

A visual focus of interest is something in a picture that naturally draws the eye – bright colours, interesting shapes, striking textures and contrasting tones help to achieve such a focal point.

Placing the visual focus in the centre may produce a boringly formal composition; a more lively artistic approach is to try imagining a noughts-and-crosses grid on the picture-space – the best composition often places the focus of interest at one of the intersections of the gridlines. This is commonly known as ‘the rule of thirds’. Lower-impact objects placed close to a couple of the other intersections may be used to counterbalance the main focus.

Select a room’s best feature as the focal point if possible, as the entire room will certainly not be covered in any given picture.

Draw extra attention to a ‘Best Feature’ with the srategic placement of a brightly coloured or otherwise striking decorative object – a vase of flowers or a lit table lamp can make all the difference.

Rooms are most easily photographed using a wide angle lens. Coverage of a room may be maximised by shooting from a doorway or a corner; try kneeling shots, angling for a slight upward tilt. However, crooked verticals and horizontals are sometime distracting, and may be overcome by holding the camera square and steady; use a tripod if necessary. Editing software is also useful in this regard.

Lighting

Lighting refers to our ‘Exploitation and manipulation of available light and shade to enhance the presentation of points of interest within the picture-space’ ; it is a crucial element which must be carefully considered in both outdoor and indoor photography, but which generally requires closer attention in indoor work.

Lighting for outdoor photography

Although very early and very late daylight conditions flatter landscapes with dramatic shadows and warm colours, they are less than ideal for taking pictures of buildings, where details become lost in the shadows, and colours are shifted away from reality. On the other hand, photographs taken around 12 noon will tend to appear flat, washed out and lifeless; happy mediums occur in midmorning and midfternoon.

Choose a time when the entire front of the building is sunlit; avoid times when deep shadows obscure important details.

If possible, choose a time when the building is lit from an angle, to make the most of the advantages of tonal contrasts and diagonal lines.An overcast sky softens and disperses available light, and often provides the best opportunity for displaying detail; cloud shadow conditions may also be exploited to good effect, with the added advantage of leaving a more brightly lit background more or less intact.

Avoid taking pictures towards the sun or other bright sources of light, for technical reasons related to exposure issues.

A photograph taken from an angle often gains visual appeal from the dramatic interplay of light and shade; it may also convey a better idea of the structure of the building. Diagonal lines are generally seen to impart a sense of liveliness to a composition.A visual focus of interest is something in a picture that naturally draws the eye – bright colours, interesting shapes, striking textures and contrasting tones help to achieve such a focal point.

Placing the visual focus in the centre may produce a boringly formal composition; a more lively artistic approach is to try imagining a noughts-and-crosses grid on the picture-space – the best composition often places the focus of interest at one of the intersections of the gridlines. This is commonly known as ‘the rule of thirds’. Lower-impact objects placed close to a couple of the other intersections may be used to counterbalance the main focus.

Select a room’s best feature as the focal point if possible, as the entire room will certainly not be covered in any given picture.Draw extra attention to a ‘Best Feature’ with the strategic placement of a brightly coloured or otherwise striking decorative object – a vase of flowers or a lit table lamp can make all the difference.

Rooms are most easily photographed using a wide angle lens. Coverage of a room may be maximised by shooting from a doorway or a corner; try kneeling shots, angling for a slight upward tilt. However, crooked verticals and horizontals are sometime distracting, and may be overcome by holding the camera square and steady; use a tripod if necessary. Editing software is also useful in this regard.

Lighting for intdoor photography

Very bright windows can lead to exposure problems – if so, take photographs when outdoor light levels are low: very early or late in the day, or at night. Or draw the curtains.
Indoor fluorescent lights may not photograph well – turn them off if possible. On the other hand, the warm light of tungsten bulbs will impart an attractive glow to the room; this effect is further enhanced by the temporary use of a stronger light bulb. Extra lights shining from outside the picture-space may be necessary in large rooms.

If you must use a flash, be aware that a camera’s maximum flash range is generally less than five paces – check your manual for the exact detail. The flash will impart an unnatural flare to foreground objects, which may distract attention from more important elements in the composition.For the most realistic rendering of interior spaces, use your camera on a tripod, with a long exposure and a fast film e.g., ISO 800.

Digital Considerations

Most of the photographs we take can be improved to suit our purpose. Digital editing software such as the programs supplied with most scanners will help you to crop pictures for better composition, adjust tonal contrasts, colour balance and image sharpness, adjust file formats and resize for quick access at the website. If you don’t have suitable editing software, Google’s Picasa 2.0 (a free download) is an extremely user friendly program with all the functions listed above, and some very useful extra facilities – its ‘import from camera/scanner’ and ‘mail to’ functions make for a very smooth operation. Picasa 2.0 is available from Google – just click on ‘more’, and scroll down to ‘Google Tools’.

Scanning

An alternative to using a digital camera is to scan photographs taken with a traditional camera – in some cases this may even produce a superior result. However, for the image to be suitable for quick access on a webpage, the scanning resolution should be set to 72 dots/inch, or as close as the scanner allows, rather than the 300 dpi recommended for other purposes.

Basic facilities for cropping, sharpness, tone, and colour manipulation are generally included in the scanner’s operational interface, but much better results are achieved if scanning output is processed through Picasa or one of the commercially available graphics manipulation programs – Adobe Photoshop is an industry standard, but too expensive and something of an overkill for the purpose. Adobe Photoshop Elements is a more affordable and adequate alternative – this is sometimes supplied free when you buy a scanner.

Photographs taken with a digital camera are commonly delivered to your computer with resolutions in the 180 – 300 dpi range. They may be edited in whatever resolution your camera delivers; in general, if sharpening is required, it should be the final manipulation.

Resizing and scanning

After editing, make sure to reduce the resolution to 72 dpi and resize external dimensions to about 6 x 4 inches; saving such a file as a medium-setting JPG will will yield a file of 35 – 40 Kb – well within the 30 – 60 Kb size recommended for quick website viewing. Avoid further image manipulation and saving if possible, as image quality is degraded by successive saves in JPG format. Don’t forget to name files in a meaningful way, e.g. kitchen1.jpg, with a nod to sequence as well as content.

Sending your photographs

Once you have established an account with Owner.com.au, you can start adding photos through our Listing Management Desktop. If you don’t have access to a digital camera or scanner, our Scanning, Resizing and Saving Service can solve the problem – just mail them to:

Owner.com.au
26 Station Str Moorabbin Victoria 3189

Please enclose your cheque or money order for $29 (Standard Listings), payable to NAP REALTY. This price covers processing costs for up to five photographs and includes GST. Service is free for all Premier Listings.

Photographic Options

Our PhotoTour facility allows you to present a visual walkthrough of up to five captioned views of the property for sale. These may feature selected spaces in your house, aspects of your fabulous yard, or even the great view from the back deck – let your imagination be your guide. From the potential buyer’s point of view, a sequence flowing through the property in a logical way generally makes most sense.

Virtual Tours are a powerful way of simulating walking through your property. They can be achieved by the use of specialist camera (a business in your local area may offer this service) or by the use of software which ‘stitches’ a sequence of images together. If you have access to the appropriate equipment or local services, aerial views can provide unique and valuable information concerning a property’s layout and surroundings. Anyone for Kite Photography? No, seriously, this is becoming a time-consuming but rewarding hobby with the growing trend towards light inexpensive digital cameras. Just be prepared to lose a few.​

Sell my house privately></a></div>        
        </article>
        
        <!-- [WLT] FRAMRWORK // RIGHT COLUMN -->    
         
        
        </div>  <!-- end row-fluid -->
        
         
        
    </div>  
    <!-- END core_columns_wrapper --> 
    <div class=