There’s no substitute for beautiful professional real estate photos when you’re trying to sell your home.
When I’ve been house hunting, I flick straight past a listing if I can see the photos are really poor quality. Even though I know the photos aren’t necessarily an indicator of the home itself… it’s a subconscious reaction.
So… does that mean you have to pay for professional photography to get great photos? Not necessarily. As long as you have the right gear and an ability to shoot in manual mode, follow our tips and you can take your own beautiful real estate photos!
Using a wide angle lens of no more than 24mm enables you to squeeze a vast area of each room into one frame, which is essential for helping convey the layout of the room.
As an added bonus, wide angle lenses stretch and elongate, so it makes the space seem larger than it is in reality.
A tripod isn’t essential… but it will definitely help you take more professional photos for a few reasons:
The rule of thumb in real estate photography is to use an aperture of around f8 to f/11 to get everything in sharp focus.
Use your shutter speed and ISO to balance your exposure.
You’ll struggle to get a great exposure when shooting at these narrow apertures if you use your camera hand held, even in the most beautifully lit home. Which reinforces the need for a tripod – this way you can use very slow shutter speeds to compensate.
Decide which rooms you’re going to photograph so that you can prepare them ahead of time.
There are rooms that are essential to a list, and rooms you simply don’t need to include.
You would only include these if they’re amazing!
The kitchen is the most important room in the house to many people, so make sure you show it off from multiple angles.
Once you’ve finalised your list, decide the best feature of each room… this will be the focal point of the image.
We know that street appeal is important – it’s your home’s first impression so this shot should be amazing! Always take two wide shots of the front of the house so people can see how it looks in its entirety. Take one straight on from the street, and another from the side (decide your home’s best angle!).
As I pointed out earlier, when people are house hunting, they tend to imagine themselves having a lifestyle. And often this includes picturing themselves sitting in a beautiful outdoor area, sipping cocktails (or hot chocolate!), having conversation with loved ones around an open fire.
So if you have this already, make sure it’s spruced up and get photos of it from at least two angle – one showing the best view of the area, and one showing the view they will enjoy when sitting there (assuming it’s a good view!).
If you don’t already have an inviting outdoor living area, you should definitely consider investing a small amount of money to create one. An outdoor living area adds value to homes, without question, so any money you put into this area will be returned on sale!
It doesn’t need to cost a bomb… think outdoor armchairs, a portable fire pit, some colourful cushions and plants to soften the edges.
There’s many reasons to declutter, not least of which the fact your home will not present at its best if it’s messy!
Clutter will make rooms appear smaller, so put away anything that doesn’t need to be out and make the most of the space you have.
Clutter is distracting. So you’ve decided your beautiful arched pictured window is the best feature of your living room? If that living room is filled with bits and pieces cluttering up the room, it will be impossible to draw the eye to that feature.
Lastly, when people try to imagine themselves living in the homes they inspect, it’s made much easier when personal items are kept to a minimum. They want to imagine their personal items and furniture in your home, not yours.
Even in the kid’s bedrooms… put away everything and leave just enough items to soften edges and style the room.
Related: Clear the Clutter
All that said… you don’t want to declutter so much that the rooms feel stark and cold.
Leave just enough to help them see how great it can look, but not so much that it’s very hard to picture their own things in the same space.
When adding soft furnishings, art and decorator items, make sure they’re de-personalised. For example:
In soft furnishings, stick with classic styles that appeal to most people, or suit the house. Replace that Dora the Explore quilt with something more generic.
Replace family photos on walls with art work. That said, don’t include so much art work that the rooms feel small. Keep it simple.
Decorator items should also be non-personal.
Indoor plants and greenery are a great way to soften the hard lines of furniture and architecture, whilst adding a feeling of light and freshness.
Often we place furniture in a way that works best for us and our lifestyle. But it might not be the best placement in terms of showing off room’s best features. Or perhaps the current arrangement makes the room feel cosy… but in real estate speak, cosy = small.
Natural light is easy, and in using a tripod it enables you to use slow shutter speeds to make the most of ambient light in low light situations.
It might seem counter intuitive for natural light photographers to turn on internal lights. But in doing so, the photos will convey and inviting warmth.
When shooting indoors during the day, the outdoors will most likely be brighter than the indoors. But you can only expose for one or the other.
In this situation, take two exposures – one for the indoors, and one for the outdoors. Then layer the two images in Photoshop, and brush back to reveal a perfectly exposed view out the window.
Always shoot at around 1.5m. Why? Quite simply it provides the best view of the room – not too high not too low.
Yet another reason why using a tripod is the best way to approach real estate photography.
When setting up your shots, ensure your frame so that the vertical lines of doorways and walls are straight.
Wide angle lenses can distort vertical lines, but you can fix this in post processing.
Keep your editing simple. Resist whatever the latest trend is and instead go for a clean edit that remains true to the real life colours, with a little contrast boost for some oomph. Subtle is key here!
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