Getting potential buyers into the home is a imperative and one of the best ways to do it is to take great pictures. So here are some of my tips for getting great results without spending a lot of money on expensive equipment.
1. Remove the clutter!
The property should be clean and presentable. If your seller doesn't take the time to clean the kitchen counters off then do it yourself. Just move the stuff outside of the shot, take the picture and move it back. I have seen pictures of homes with piles of dirty laundry or garbage on the floors, take 5 minutes and kick it all in the corners or something...which brings me to the second tip.
2. Take your time!
Don't rush the job. You just signed a 6 or 12 month listing agreement right. Do you want to be stuck with that listing for the next 12 months then lose it to another agent because you didn't get it sold? You have to get people in the house. I typically take an hour to photograph a property and sometimes more if the property requires it.
3. Take lots of photos!
Ok, one of the reasons I take an hour to photograph a home is because I take lots and lots of pictures. I shoot every room from every angle! It's not like you are using rolls of film in this day and you can get a flash card for 20 bucks that will hold 1000 images. The secret to great photography of real estate is not to have fancy equipment or great technique but instead it's taking lots of photos so that you can choose the shots that you want to use. You can post up to 50 images on Zaggers.com and if you need to upload more just let me know....I know the owner of the company!
One of the biggest problems is that the photos are too dark. Open the blinds, turn on all the lights and use the flash. Think of it as a showing...you don't show a home with the lights off and the blinds closed do you?
5. Photos are too bright!
This does happen, so how do you fix it? First turn off the flash and try it, then maybe reduce some of the lights, I prefer to use natural light so I leave the blinds open when I can an close them only as a last resort.
6. Photographing windows
This is a tricky one. Usually when you are taking your shots and there is a window the image will come out overexposed at the window and underexposed in the rest of the room. You can usually fix this with an external flash but that can get a little pricey. The reason this happens is that your camera will take the light from the brightest part of your image and assume that the rest of the area has just as much. You can trick the camera by pointing it to one side of the window and pressing your shutter button half way down. This activates the auto focus and registers the light. Next, without releasing the button, point the camera back to where you want your picture and finish pressing the button. This will work about 90% of the time and you will get a good image with good lighting.
7. Focus, Focus, Focus
Potential buyers will just pass your property by if your pictures are out of focus. Many agents will point the camera and push the button all in one motion....the camera has auto focus right? Yes but it need a second to adjust. Point your camera then press the button half way down you will hear or feel the camera making it's adjustments then finish pressing the button when it's done.
8. Your pictures come out too blue or yellow
This is usually a white balance issue. Usually this is done automatically by the camera but many times you inadvertently take this feature off. If you are taking a picture outside on a cloudy day look through your cameras settings most newer (in the last 5 years) digital cameras have settings for sports, cloudy, incandescent, fluorescent and many other types of shooting. Take advantage of this and you will get much better results.
9. Taking photos outside
Hose down the walkways and pool decks and you will get some much better colors. I just had a waterfall installed at my home and when he was done the contractor started taking pictures. When I stopped him and hosed everything down first he was amazed at how much better the pictures came out.
10. You photos should show the home.
Tell a story with your pictures. Walk the customer through the home. Start at the front of lake or whatever the open the front door, enter the living room and tour the home. The best listings on Zaggers.com show as if the buyer was walking through the home. Throw in some emotional features, flowering bushes, fruit trees that are blooming or have fruit, be creative. Stand just behind the oranges and shoot the house with the fruit in the foreground.
If you have any specific questions don't hesitate to ask. I have taken pictures of literally 1000s of homes and would be happy to assist you.
Jerry Owens is the CEO of Zaggers.com. We developed Zaggers.com to be the premier site for agents to advertise their listings and for buyers to find the home of their dreams. We strive to work with only the best, most committed agents that go the extra mile for their clients.