PHOTOGRAPHING YOUR HOME
Studies indicate that professional photography of your home can reduce the time it takes your home to sell by 32%. Can you achieve your own professional looking photographs? In this section we will show you how.
Remember, the more you prepare your home before the photo-shoot, the better the look. Thorough preparation is key ingredient to beautiful images.
Tell a story with the photography by following the path that a visitor would take when viewing the home. This makes the exterior photographs very important, as it will be the first impression buyers’ form when viewing the listing. We want to create the feel like that a prospected buyer is walking through the home just like they would at an open house or if they lived there. The order should be: the exterior, entryway, kitchen, dining room, living room, master, and then any additional bedrooms.
Photograph each room from the doorway area and let as much natural light in the room as possible.
In order to help define the purpose and size of a room create small ‘vignettes’, which are groupings of décor (usually in groupings of three) to add splashes of visual appeal. Common ideas are a colourful cushions on the couch, modern vase with fresh flowers along with two smaller similar vases, bowl of fruit in the kitchen, two wine glasses and a bottle of wine on an outdoor table. Also feel free to move furniture around to create a better layout that gives the impression lots of space . . . e.g: do not display the back of couches in a shot.
Most MLS systems can accept up to 36 photographs. Below is a suggestion as to how many photos should be uploaded for each room.
Create a feeling of flow and space in a room by opening the doors that lead to an ensuite, walk-in-robe, or outside. In most cases, leaving doors open creates depth and interest; making a room look bigger—as long as it doesn’t lead into a messy closet.
Photograph your home in the order like you are a potential buyer visiting the home.
Make sure that all vertical lines in the image are perfectly vertical. This is very important in order to achieve a professional look. You need to be sure the camera is 100% level. Lower the camera to waist or just above waist level to get the important details of the space in the frame.
Open the curtains and turn on all the lights to make a room look bright and open. Rely on the camera’s built-in flash as little as possible; it creates unattractive shadows and reflects off mirrors and windows. For interior shots, you should avoid taking photos on rainy days or at night, as this will produce gloomy photos. For exterior shots, take pictures at dusk with the all the lights on.
The best way to show off a room is to shoot from a corner or doorway to include as much of the room as possible. This provides context and makes the room look more spacious than a tight shot does. As much as possible, avoid photographing objects that obscure your home, like poles and wires.
Introducing depth of field with parts of the image in focus and others blurred out can add interest. It can also emotionally draw in the viewer, or be used to highlight something specific.
To increase depth of field, use a lens with a bigger aperture and/or longer focal length. Frame your shots so some things are close to the camera and others are far away. Having a peek of an object at the edge of the frame that is blurred out can add interest due to the depth it implies.
Recommended real estate photography settings for Digital SLR cameras:
Aperture: Between F/8 – F/11
ISO: 400 or lower
Shutter Speed: 1/60
You can easily pick up an inexpensive one on Amazon.
If you don’t have access to a digital SLR camera, then it is possible to achieve beautiful images with a modern cell phone camera by using an inexpensive wide angle lens attachment (not a fish eye lens) and a tripod . . . search Amazon for the best price.
For shots that have a lot of light and dark, try experimenting with the HDR (High Dynamic Range imaging) feature that is now common on Digital SRL cameras and cell phones.
Also utilizes head on shoots as there is a certain geometric designer flair they incapsulate.
Remember to include some detail shots of some of the unique noteworthy aspects of your home.
Experiment with lots of angles and camera settings.
After deciding on which are the best photos, you will need to adjust them. Maybe your living room looks a little too dark, or your home’s exterior has distracting telephone wires crossing the image. Free online photo editing tools like Picnik and Snipshot are easy to use and allow you to crop your pictures, adjust brightness and contrast, and correct colours.
Box Brownie is a quality done for you online photo editing site — with edits at around $2 it could be well worth it for the time it will save. If you are going to diving in to doing all the editing yourself, then a free trial of Adobe Lightroom will allow you to manually adjust just about everything . . . exposure, white balance, clarity, contrast, HSL, highlights, and shadows.