The boom in the real estate industry has given rise to a new genre of photography – real estate photography. Gone are those days when a large distance had to be traversed to get a good look at the dream house before taking a decision to purchase it. In the present times, search for a new home starts online. In the real estate parlance, a picture is worth a thousand words holds true. Close to 92% of buyers research homes using the internet and visit the place only after gaining sufficient information. Therefore it’s important to showcase as many images of the home as possible.
Irrespective of being a house owner, a realtor, an entrepreneur wanting to start a real estate business or anyone who is well established in this field, the key to running a successful real estate business is to be able to entice the customers with stunning visuals. The customers must be able to picture themselves living in the space and the best way to make this happen is by taking high quality professional images of the property. There are various kinds of homes with brilliant design, lighting and architecture and then there are homes which are average looking. The ultimate goal of real estate photography is to make any kind of home look appealing to the prospective buyer. The following real estate photography tips will provide insights into capturing photos that sell homes.
The following real estate photography tips will provide insights into capturing photos that sell homes:
1.Use the right Equipment
Photographing a real estate property requires some additional equipment other than a professional camera. A sturdy tripod, light stands and wide angle lens are a must.
A professional DSLR camera must be used to take stunning photographs. Two different cameras can be used, one to take still photographs and another for videos. Care must be taken to select the right lens as interior and exterior photography requires the use of different lenses.
A tripod is a must as it provides an option to place the camera at angles that normally would not be possible. Tripod with a joystick head is more favorable as the required angle can be achieved with considerable ease and moreover, the bubble level present on the mounting plate ensures that the camera is level before the shot is taken.
Light stands are quite handy during interior photography. Some areas in the house remain inadequately lit even after all the lights are switched on. It’s preferable to have small flashes on the light stand and most importantly it must fold into a small package that can be carried around from room to room with considerable ease.
Wide Angle Lens:
A wide angle lens provides better sense of depth and detail and emphasizes more on the space of the room. The full essence of big rooms can be captured in a single shot. Wide angle lens with effective focal length between 16mm and 24mm are ideal for interior photography.
2.Keep the Interiors and Exteroirs Clean
It’s essential to clean the real estate property before photographing it. Images of untidy interiors and exteriors can send out the wrong message to the prospective buyers. Some items might be added or removed as clutter gets highlighted in the photographs.
Turn Off all Electronic Appliances
All electric appliances such as television, computer screens and ceiling fans must be kept switched off as it can draw the attention of the viewer away from the room. In the bathroom, switch off any light that reflects off the mirror and in the kitchen switch on the stove lights to attract the attention of the buyer to it.
Remove Floor Rugs to Reveal Actual Flooring
Be it the living room or the bathroom the floor rugs must be removed before photographing. The true aesthetics of the house is portrayed by removing the floor rugs.
Clear out the Kitchen
All the utensils, knives, garbage cans, refrigerator magnets and anything that distracts the viewer must be cleared out from the kitchen and the countertop must be cleaned to reveal the true available space.
Give a Warm feel to the Dining Room
The dining table must be cleaned and the table top must be polished and dusted to give a vibrant look. If available, a decorative place setting can be placed on the table. The chairs must be straightened out and spaced evenly.
Clean the Bedroom
Make the bed before photographing and include decorative pillows. The bed linens and skirts must be pressed and the nightstands must be cleared of all personal items. Family photos from the walls and clutter from top of the dressers must be removed.
De-clutter the living room
The furniture in the living room must be arranged neatly. Stacks of papers, magazines and mail must be removed. The pillows on the furniture must be fluffed and arranged. Most families prefer a nice fireplace and therefore it must be cleaned and repainted if necessary.
Use Decorative Settings
Decorative settings represent a sense of luxury and must be placed wherever possible.
Keep Pets out of the Picture
Make sure that the presence of pets in the photographs is minimized. Some buyers may not like pets and may dislike the presence of pets in the photographs. Keep the pet beds, toys, food and water bowls inside the closet and remove pet hair from the furniture.
Give an Appealing Look to the Exterior
Usually the front exterior is the first photo that most buyers see. The cars must be removed from the driveway and never parked it in front of the house. The garage doors must be closed and water hoses and garbage cans kept out of sight. The plants in the garden must be adequately trimmed. The exterior walls must be cleaned or repainted if necessary. The pool should be cleaned and fountains and other water features must be turned on.
3. Use Proper Lighting:
Architects usually design houses by giving more importance to light. Natural light is the best ally of real estate photography. But to add more color variance and depth to the photos, it’s preferable to switch on all the electrical lights in the house. The lights should not show up as reflections on mirrors, windows and other reflective surfaces.
Use Strobe Lights
External lighting such as strobes can be utilized to balance out the artificial and natural lights. When lighting interiors, strobe lights provide a lot of flexibility as the desired lighting effect can be achieved with considerable ease. The strobe lights should not be placed on the camera and manual flash with remote trigger capability must be used. A bigger apparent light source can be achieved by bouncing the lights from the strobes off a wall. Refrain from bouncing light off walls which have deep, bold colors as the light will be tinted and to counteract this effect, an umbrella or reflector can come in handy.
Reflect Flash Off the Ceiling
While using off-camera portable flashes or light source, it’s recommended to aim them at the wall or ceiling as it diffuses and softens the light resulting in better photographs. Smaller rooms can look extremely bright if the light source is directly focused on it. The light source can be placed behind the camera facing the rear wall and ceiling to level out the brightness. But reflections coming off the mirrors, glass cabinets, windows or the ceiling itself must be avoided by repositioning the light source accordingly.
4. Shoot in RAW Mode
For real estate photography shooting pictures in RAW mode is a must. The raw sensor data of the camera is stored in the RAW files. During interior photography, achieving perfect interior exposure is not possible as it is tough to balance the natural light with the darker interiors. The brightness of the interiors can be increased by turning on every light inside the room and even if the brightness outside is low; the RAW file can capture the entire scene in a single frame. Another advantage of RAW file is that the data from the sensor is received directly making it easier to take post processing decisions to achieve the final desired look of the image. Changes to the photo such as white balance, exposure and modifying shadows can be easily achieved through RAW files.
5.Use Bracketed Images
Here multiple photos of the same area are taken by applying different settings for different exposure. This is done to properly expose different areas of the image as each area requires a particular setting to be exposed properly. But changing the settings each time can alter the position of the camera, thereby distorting the image. Utilize the automatic exposure bracketing (AEB) option, which is available in most DSLR cameras, to capture three photos with a single click with each photo having different exposure. Make sure to use a tripod to keep the camera in a fixed position. The desired photo can be produced during post processing of the image.
6.Create Unique Photo Compositions
It’s important to understand the goal of the photo-shoot and create appealing photo compositions accordingly. It’s highly unlikely to find a house in which everything is perfectly staged. There are going to be a few aspects such as the furniture which might require rearranging so that it looks great in the photographs. For interior of the house, shoot from the corners to portray the room as being more spacious and avoid shooting directly at the walls. Shooting from a lower angle using a wide angle lens can make the room appear bigger in size. A room must be photographed from multiple viewpoints. Objects of importance in a room which are its selling points such as its natural light or its spaciousness must be featured more prominently in the photograph. For both interior and exterior photography the camera must be kept in a perfectly horizontal position so that the vertical lines appear vertical. Converging lines would give an impression that an amateur photographer is at work.
7.Get Help if Necessary
If there is only limited time available to photograph a huge real estate property, hiring an assistant can be quite helpful in completing the task on time. For example, as the interior of the property is being photographed, the assistant can capture exterior shots and in the process even learn a thing or two about real estate photography. The assistant can also help in setting up the equipment, adjusting the lighting, changing the lens and speed up the photography process. Moreover, the presence of large number of equipment such as camera lens, light stands and tripods can make it quite difficult for a single person to handle. Be sure to hire an assistant who is smart and is quick to anticipate the needs of the client or the photographer.
The post processing of the photographs takes a lot of time and this is highly inconvenient when a large number of real estate properties have to be photographed in a short period of time and the final high quality images have to be delivered in the same time frame. Property buyers are impressed by high quality images and showcasing unprocessed images is not recommended. Outsourcing post processing to a professional real estate photo editing service provider can be quite cost effective and drastically reduces the turnaround time as a photo editing company can effectively process large number of images in a short period of time.