3 Tips to Get the BEST Photos of Your Listings
If you want to get the best photos of your listings, the first place to start (and one that we highly recommend) is hiring professional real estate photographer. Usually photographers cost between $75 and $150, but may go as high as $400 for luxury homes and/or aerial shots. If you aren’t planning on doing any other paid marketing for your listing, this is the one thing you should absolutely do for your client.
Assuming that you are already using a real estate photographer for your listings, what else can you do to make sure the home photos look fabulous?
#1 :: Get that blue sky in your listing photos!
Having a blue sky on the front exterior photo really makes your photo stand out from the crowd, especially when buyers are searching for homes online. If it isn’t the nicest day outside, ask your photographer to Photoshop a blue sky into the photo (usually they will!). If the photographer won’t or can’t, you can go to PicMonkey.com and overlay a blue sky into the photo. It’s not ideal, but it works.
#2 :: Add photos of the neighborhood
It’s also a big plus to give potential buyers an idea of what the community looks like, because many of today’s buyers feel that the neighborhood is just as important as the home they are buying. If there is a neighborhood park or pool, include a photo in your marketing. If there are annual events or festivals, snap a photo. Also restaurants, coffee shops and even dog parks are a great way to entice the potential buyers to get a great feeling about the neighborhood and will call to see your listing.
Quick tip: Many of the MLS systems only allow you to add 20 to 30 photos of each listing, so if you are short on space, make a photo collage of the neighborhood pictures. See how to make a photo collage (for free).
#3 :: Help the homeowners prepare the home for photos
Have you ever looked at listing photos and the car is in the driveway or trash cans are noticeable on the side of the house? What about wrinkled bedding in a luxury home or a kitchen counter that’s so full you can barely see if they have granite or quartz countertops? Here are a few tips that you can share with your clients that will help them get the home ready for the very BEST listing photos:
- Make sure all light bulbs are replaced and consistent throughout the home. A combination of eco bulbs and traditional incandescent bulbs result in color distortion in photos.
- Open all the curtains/blinds and step outside to make sure they look even / uniform. The front photo is the most important one online, so uneven blinds may take away from your home’s curb appeal (and the buyers may not even realize that they are uneven, just that something is off).
- Add pops of color. A bright colored tea pot on the stove or a new decorative pillows on the bed / couch adds the perfect pop of color in the photos, especially when you have a neutral color palette in your home.
- Clear all clutter including personal effects, trash cans, toys, pet beds and food bowls. Limit pillows and throws.
- Clear all the countertops in baths and the kitchen – even if they are things that you use daily, it’s important to remove them during the photography session. This will help the rooms look as spacious as possible.
- Remove all refrigerator magnets.
- Consider pulling up the rug(s). For example, if you have gorgeous hardwood flooring in your dining room, don’t cover it up. This your chance to highlight you home’s assets and maybe even make the room look larger!
- Double check your bedding. You’d be surprised how much a wrinkle in the bedspread or a sheet hanging out from below the comforter can stand out (not in a good way) in the photos.
- Fluff those pillows! Sagging pillows are never appealing, so fluff them up on the couches and if you are able, buy new pillows for your beds.
- Remove debris from deck, yard, driveway and roof, if selling in the Fall.
- Remove trash cans and cars from the front of house.
- If you (the seller) are home when the photographer arrives, try to stay of sight. The photographer is seeing your home for the first time and is laser-focused to determine the best angles and find the best lighting. Keeping them in their artistic “zone” will help them take the best photos of your home.
As you can see, there is a lot that goes into getting the very best photos of your listings! The primary goal is to make sure your listing looks fantastic online, especially when 95% of the potential home buyers are looking for homes on the web. When buyers are searching for homes in a certain price range in a your town, they will often see 30, 100 or even 200 homes that meet that criteria and the main photo of each home is often very small. Having that blue sky in the main photo is going to help your listing get noticed!
Not only will a well-prepared home and great photos help you sell the home faster, the neighbors often notice! Presenting your real estate listing in the best possible light and adding professionally designed flyers to the curb will attract others in the neighborhood who are thinking of selling their home.
Home Tour America Photography (Metro Atlanta)
CirclePix Real Estate Photographers (located in many Metro areas around the US)