Jim Valentine: Real estate photos

With the vast majority of buyers and sellers looking at property online these days good photos are more important than ever. Regardless, it is amazing how many agents continue to put forth horrendous pictures with their new listings. It takes no skill to look at a photograph and tell if it is out of focus, crooked, missing key subject matter, or exhibits just plain carelessness with the content. With that in mind, what are they thinking to put out such horrible representation of their customer’s property?

There are many easy-to-use high quality cameras on the market today. Additionally, smartphones used by most Agents to open their lockboxes have wonderful cameras. What is important for equipment is a wide angle lens due to the need to show a whole room within a single photo without doing a panoramic shot. There are wide angle lens attachments available for the phones and many wonderful wide angle lenses available for the technically marvelous digital cameras today. It isn’t easy to get a wide angle on a point and shoot but they are available. The agent must get the right equipment or hire a photographer.

Almost all of the photography today is done in a digital format. This is most helpful for a better finished product as the lighting can be manipulated on a computer to be able to minimize shadows, reduce specular highlights, and adjust low contrast to reveal more content and make it more pleasing to the eye. Some take it too far and the image makes the home as phony looking as the glamour photos that were so popular in the ’80s. A buyer wants to see what the home has to offer when they scour the photos. They aren’t looking for a cover photo for Architectural Digest. If they are, the photographs will be done professionally with professional equipment, knowledge and experience.

Aerial photos are becoming the rage but they aren’t always necessary considering the easy accessibility we now have to aerial photos from Google Earth, GIS and other systems. They can help to show perspective to a view or neighbor, but often aren’t used that way. For the right property they are valuable, but often they are just eye clutter among the many other photos. It is important that there are many photos. MLS now allows 25 pictures but some agents only put in three or four of a home. Why? There is no good reason even if you have a hoarder situation. Good exterior shots can help a buyer get the idea of the home, lot and neighborhood and attract them.

If you are wondering, your photos should be bright, sharp and have good content. The toilet lids should be down, personal effects off the counters, valuables secured and not visible, dog landmines invisible in the landscaping photos, sink clear of dishes, laundry piles moved for the picture, etc. In other words, pick up for the photos. Sometimes it is a matter of moving it — take the picture — put it back. The picture must be as debris free as possible. It is understood that you live in your home, what buyers will judge from the photos is how you live in your home. It can have a bearing on whether they want to consider buying your home.

Our advice: Understand what you are offering and adjust your photographic expectations accordingly. Pictures should be staged and taken with a purpose. What are the main selling points of the home that you want the buyer to see? Is it the view, the floorplan, the quality finish work, the workshop, etc.? Focus on those items with your primary photos, but don’t neglect the rest of the house. Different buyers are looking for different things, even in the same buying party, i.e., husband, wife, kids and dogs. Each has their area of interest so be sure to cast a wide net, not a hook, with your pictures. They will look at them for hours on the internet if they are interested. Get good pictures and plenty of them and you will have better quality showings.

If you are selling your home think of it like selling your car – you’ll wash/wax it and get the junk out before you bring somebody in for a test drive. Do the same for your home and especially for your photo session – you’ll be happy you did.

When it comes to choosing professionals to assist you with your real estate needs… Experience is Priceless! Jim Valentine, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates, 775-781-3704. dpwtigers@hotmail.com


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