Staging is important in improving a home’s presentation, however, quality photos are the most important thing you can do to get buyers through the front door. Why? Because 90% of home buyers begin their search online and they often use photos to decide which homes to view and which ones to skip. Here are some tips:
Find the best time of day to shoot: If the sun pours in a room in the morning, then you’ll likely want to shoot photos in the afternoon so the view outside doesn’t look like a bright glow. Overcast days or dusk are often the best time to shoot interior photos.
Use the right equipment: I recommend using a DSLR camera with a wide-angle lens (11-18 mm) and a tripod. Take it off “Auto” and put it on “Aperture-Priority.” If your camera has a Bracketing function, use it! Bracketing allows you to take multiple photos at different exposures. You then merge the photos in post-production software to get one well exposed image.
Go wide: Capturing rooms straight-on can sometimes make them look narrow and small. By standing in a corner and shooting at an angle, you’ll make the room look larger. Try to get 2 corners of the room to show it’s true depth. Note: Some of my best images have been straight-on, however, you have to know when-to and when-not-to.
Turn off the flash: Using flash can make a room feel one-dimensional. Using the Bracketing technique instead of flash will help you get the best exposure possible.
Tweak: You will need a photo-editing program to enhance your photos, but don’t cross an ethical line and change the home in any way or try to fool anyone. You can use programs such as Photoshop, Photomatix and Lightroom. They can help you capture a room in it’s best light… literally. For example, have you ever taken a photo of a bedroom and light was pouring in so much that viewers couldn’t see the views outside the window. By changing the camera’s shutter speed, you are able to capture the views outside the window, but then the rest of the room is too dark. I take 5 different exposures on a tripod. Then, using a photo-editing program, merge them together revealing the views outside the window and the bedroom inside. Presto! (click on my website below for sample photos)
Tell a story with your photos: Organize the photos so that they flow logically and in the order you would show a home to a potential buyer. Avoid redundant images or photos that don’t add value… such as a not-so-special laundry room, pantry or toilets. Are you missing photos of major rooms in the house? Buyers will assume the worst. Put buyers fears to rest and display the maximum images permitted. Also, to complete your listing’s photo story, you may want to add photos of a neighborhood sign, community pool, tennis courts or the surrounding area.
*** Tom Biondi is a Real Estate Photographer located in Toms River, NJ & services Ocean & Monmouth Counties. He regularly speaks to Real Estate Professionals about the benefits of Professional Real Estate Photography. http://tombiondi.com/re.html