It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to find someone to rent a room or if you’re trying to get the President to visit your quaint Victorian manor, good photography skills can help generate interest in your property. You want to give your audience an impression of warmth and openness. That involves having a few lenses and techniques at your disposal. I’ll show you which ones are the most important for creating a good impression.
Step 1: Prepare The House.
This Is Way More Important Than Your Photography!
Realtors are a savvy bunch. They know they can sell a house faster when it’s spotless and clutter free. I'm sure you've heard of their tricks - baking cookies in the oven while playing music that reminds us of the holidays. It’s the little things that matter, and it’s the same when you’re taking pictures. Here are few items you should check off before you get out the camera.
- Remove all clutter. Every room should be perfectly clean with no clothes, dishes, or anything that could distract your viewer. Remove anything that can be moved - like your on-bench coffee maker too.
- Remove all excess furniture. With less furniture, your rooms look more spacious. As long as you don’t go overboard with this, it will dramatically improve your photos
- Improve the lighting in all of your rooms. Consider bringing some extra lights with you when you take the pictures. There should be no dark corners.
Those are the basic things most realtors do when they prepare a house. I’ve seen lists with as much as 90 different things to consider, but most of the items are based on one simple premise. Get rid of the clutter!
What To Do When Your Home Is Ready To Get Photographed
Every room in a house has its strengths and its weaknesses. It’s up to you, as a photographer, to find them. You might want to emphasize a dining room set, you might want to comment on the spaciousness of a particular room, or the house might have a special feature like a home cinema room or pool that you'd like to highlight. Before you begin, go through every room and write down the one thing you like the most about it. Now try to capture it in a photograph.
The above image emphasizes the connectedness and spaciousness of the dining room and kitchen area. Because the photographer provided a nice big open space to the right, you naturally feel invited into the kitchen - almost as if you were there. Contrast this with a cropped version of the image that doesn’t feature the same space.
The cropped version draws more attention to the dining room table, and I’ll be the first to admit that it doesn’t really sell me on the house. Because there isn’t any open space, I feel a little crammed. If you own a home that’s wide open like the one above, you want to emphasize that. It’s a huge strength, and you need to play it up.
Keep Your Wideangle Lens Close
One big difference between professional real estate pictures and amateur ones is the wideangle lens (or lack thereof). Just by having an 18mm to 55mm lens for your camera, you can make every room look much more spacious. These types of lenses allow you to zoom out much further than the zoom on a point-and-shoot camera. With this ability, you can get more of a room into the picture.
I encourage you to avoid overdoing the wideangle effect when you’re trying to sell a house. You don’t want people to show up expecting a mansion because you tricked their depth perception. Do you think they’ll ever trust you enough to go through with the deal? Zoom out just enough to highlight a strength and no more after that. Allow your house to sell itself instead of relying on cheap tricks.
Correct And Adjust The White Balance
Most real estate photos are taken indoors, and the lighting is quite different from what you get outside. You have to tell your camera that you’re shooting under incandescent or fluorescent lighting. You can take care of this with your camera’s white balance settings.
Most cameras place their white balance settings under the main menu. Choose “incandescent” mode if you are shooting under standard lightbulbs. Pick “fluorescent” mode if you are shooting under halogen or other fluorescent light sources. If you made a mistake, and your images have a weird color tinge, don’t worry. I’ve created a tutorial on adjusting white balance that should solve your problem.
Finally, consider the time of day when taking your shots. Most photographers like to photograph at dusk with all of the lights in the house turned on. Yes, every single one. It helps to sell the house as open an inviting, particularly when taking the outside shots.
You know your house better than anyone. If it’s going to sell, it will be because you found something you love about it and managed to capture it in a photograph. As long as you’re doing more than taking pictures of rooms, you’ll get some visitors in no time.
Have you had success in selling a house you have photographed? If so, I'd love to see some of your images, Please upload them to our new Digital Photo Secrets Gallery.
I wish you the best of luck in finding someone who loves your home as much as you do!
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