Staging is important in improving a home’s presentation, but quality photos are important for getting buyers through the front door. Most buyers begin their home search online and they often use photos to decide which homes to view and which ones to skip, real estate pro Jennifer Ames with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Chicago told a crowd during a session at the REALTOR® Conference & Expo in Anaheim on Friday.
Ames offered up some of the following photo tips to enhance the presentation of your listings:
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, Ames said.
Have the right equipment: Ames recommends using an SLR camera with a wide-angle lens (12-18 mm) and a tripod, if you’re shooting your listing photos yourself.
Go wide: Capturing rooms straight-on can sometimes make a room look narrow and small. By standing in a corner and shooting at an angle, you’ll make the room look larger.
Turn off the flash: Ames said that turning on a flash on when you shoot your images can make a room feel one-dimensional.
Tweak: You might need a photo-editing program to enhance your photos, but don’t cross an ethical line and fundamentally change the home. Instead, use such programs to help capture a room completely. For example, Ames said that she has used Photoshop to help show off the lake views in a bedroom. When she shot the photo of the bedroom, light was pouring in so much that viewers couldn’t see the views outside the window. By changing the camera’s shutter speed, she was able to capture the views outside the window, but then the rest of the room was too dark. By using a photo-editing program, the two photographs she took could be merged together—revealing the views outside the window and the bedroom inside.
Tell a story with your photos: Organize the photos so that they flow logically, in the order you would show a home to a potential buyer. Avoid redundant images or images that don’t add value, such as four views of the same bedroom that don’t reveal anything new. Missing photos of major rooms in the house? “Buyers are going to assume something is wrong with that room,” Ames said. Put their fears to rest and display the maximum images permitted (e.g. REALTOR.com allows up to 25 images and Trulia allows 32 per listing). Also, to complete your listing’s photo story, you might also opt to add some photos of the neighborhood or street scenes to show the surrounding area.