Taking Photos that attract buyers | BuySelf.com


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Taking Photos that attract buyers

Photographs are a key link the chain from getting a buyer or agent interested enough in your property that they will set up a showing. Good photos motivate buyers to view a property in person, and the best photos create an expectation that this is the property the buyer expects to buy. During the buyers market when competition (other for sale listings) is plentiful, buyers don't want to look at every home in their price range. Buyers look at the listings that have the best photos. This is a short summary on how best to take photos that will attract buyers, with special emphasis on elements that many sellers miss.
When to take the photos
Notice and think about how sunlight effects your house. For outside shots, take the photos when the sunlight is like a spotlight on what you are shooting. For some properties, this means taking the front of the house in the morning and the back in the evening. Some photographers love the hour right before sunset and the hour right after sunrise because of the lighting. Be cautious of the bright mid-day sun as too much light will take away the color from the photo, giving it a washed out dull look without any vibrant color.
For inside photos, sunlight can really help or hurt your inside photos, depending on the room and time of day. Sunlight can add additional light to the room, or it can overpower the shot to the point where you can't see much of anything other than the sunlight pouring in the window. See the discussion of back lighting below. You always want to have all the lights on in a room and use your flash to help balance the light for a good photo.
Lighting is the key
Some rooms get so much sun it is difficult to avoid back lighting and a washed out photograph that doesn't show the room. You may want to wait until dawn or dusk, bring in more internal light, and/or set your camera to flash for every photo (this setting may be called force flash, flash always, or an icon with a lightning bolt).
You may also be able to trick your camera into compensating for all the light, as one author suggests: “First, frame your photo in your viewfinder. Then, move your camera to focus on another part of the room that’s not pointed at a window. Press your camera’s shutter button down halfway to lock the exposure in. Move your camera back into position for the original view. Press the shutter button the rest of the way down and take the picture.”
Where to take the snapshot
Using a step ladder or stool can get your picture to show more floor than ceiling, a give a more intriguing perspective. Sometimes this view will better show counter tops or other surfaces you would like the viewer to notice. Getting on the floor for an angle may be a good way to show the high ceilings, vaulted ceilings, cathedral ceilings, etc.
What should you photograph? Simply: What is best about your property? Avoid simply taking a photo of every room or bedroom in the house. Make a list about what is best about your property, and capture those items in photos. Great deck? Have multiple pictures of the deck rather than showing that hum drum third bedroom. If you have an inspiring view, show the middle of day view and the great sunrise/sunset shot. Show a closeup of the fireplace, the woodwork, the great craftsmanship. Show the tree lined street or the landscaping, or the nearby dog park (although some MLSs won't allow photos that are not of the property, such as nearby amenities).
How many shots to take
Be like a professional photographer who takes lots and lots of photos. Line up your shot, take a couple, zoom in a little, zoom out, get a little variety so you can pick the absolute best photo. If you move your camera at the wrong time and get a blurry shot you will likely have a good backup.
What to avoid
Don't take pictures with clutter, people, or animals in them. If a room seems small in the picture, would it look better with some of the furniture removed? This isn't an article on staging a home, but staging can most definitely make the subject of the picture look even better. Remember that MLS rules won't allow pictures that show a yard sign, so keep that in mind.
Agent Friendly
Agents look at property photos all the time, they know good and they have seen bad. Developing an opinion on a photo is much different from actually taking a good photo. Sadly, many high priced traditional listings have photos that are lacking. At BuySelf Realty, we invented the Agent Friendly Listing, the property that agents and all their buyers are motivated to view and purchase. We have a professional photographer option in almost every area we serve, if taking photos is something you want done for you. Good photos are just one small part of making your listing agent friendly, ask us about the other ways.