20 May 10 Ways to Win More Listings Using Professional Photography
- Most buyers start their search online. Wow them with elegant first impressions.
Most home buyers are under the age of 40; a generation has grown up with technology and is quite savvy in its use. They use their mobile devices for shopping, banking, entertainment, work and so on. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that around 80% of all home buyers begin their search online.
Most real estate agents are content with simply taking photos from their phone, and uploading them to their website and to MLS. In fact, only 15% of listings use high-quality photography. So you will gain a competitive advantage if you have professional photography for your listings. Remember that first impressions matter and in today’s market, a property’s first impression is created way before a buyer tours a home.
- Listings with professional photography sell faster and at a higher price
Research shows that listings with professional photography get from 18% to 60% more views than those without it. The more views you get, the faster you’ll sell your home. These homes also sell at a higher price than they otherwise would, because buyers assign a higher value to a house with good photography, and because you will have more people interested in the property. The more offers you get, the higher the chances you’ll sell your home closer to your original listing price.
- Create a virtual tour, video or 3d tour
Any real estate agent or home buyer can tell you that good photos will draw more attention. But if you really want to take it to the next level, you can create a virtual tour using videos, photos and 3d immersive walk through videos.
It is important to spend the money upfront to market a listing in it’s best light. One of many ways to do this is to hire a professional real estate photographer who can provide photos, video and in some cases 3d tours.
- Avoid vertical shots, and get yourself the right lens for the job
Real estate is water, vertical shots are oil; they just don’t mix. Uneven vertical lines make rooms look more narrow and less appealing to the viewer. It is important that your photographer maintains straight vertical and horizontal lines in the image.
Make sure your photographer is using a full frame camera with a wide lens. Unlike vertical shots, a wide-angle camera lens adds depth to the photo and highlights just how spacious a room is without much distortion.
Avoid using fish-eye lenses. Fish-eye lenses distort the image in an obvious way (that frankly looks cheesy). If you’ve ever viewed footage or still shots from an action camera, you’ve probably seen how the world looks circular. You want to avoid that level of distortion at all costs!
- Hire a professional photographer
Being a full-time real estate agent is time-consuming already, as you balance your prospecting duties, home showings, research and marketing efforts. Even if you yourself are a great photographer, photo sessions are time-consuming. Photo sessions can take hours, and editing the raw photos in Photoshop or Lightroom can take days. Leverage your time and let a professional photographer do what they do best.
- Depersonalize and declutter the property before you start shooting
Remove anything from the house that makes it look like it belongs to a specific person. That includes family photos, drawings on the fridge, fridge magnets, toys, pets etc. Make sure the kitchen is uncluttered, with no dish soaps, plates or sponges around. Have the countertops wiped, and the tables well arranged with a centerpiece.
Remove old towels from the bathroom, hide all toiletries and meds, and clean the mirrors and bathroom tiles. Make sure you put the toilet lid down.
- Shoot your exterior shots at sunrise or sunset if budget allows
There’s a reason why outdoor photographers put their cameras away between 9 AM to 5 PM. Sunlight at midday is very harsh and creates ugly, harsh shadows.
When you take photos at dawn or dusk the sunlight comes at a more horizontal angle and goes through more of the Earth’s atmosphere. This diffuses the light and shadows will have a softer, more appealing look. Sure, it’s a bit of a drag to get up at 4 AM or take photos after office hours, but it will significantly improve the quality of your exterior shots.
- Use natural light whenever you can, but don’t forget your tripod
Living rooms look more appealing and more spacious when there’s a lot of natural light. Take advantage of this in your photography, and shoot using only natural light.
Remember though that because you’re not using flash or artificial light, there is less overall light inside of a home, even with lots of windows. This means that your camera will need to shoot with a longer shutter speed. If you hold the camera in your hands, the photos could come out blurry, so don’t forget to use a tripod. If you’re photographer isn’t using a tripod to take your interior shots, they are taking shortcuts.
- Use drone photography…if it makes sense
Drones are capable of taking dramatic, dynamic shots of landscapes and exteriors that are impossible to take otherwise. Imagine how good it would look to fly from 300 feet up in the air, and slowly zoom into your property’s front door. Real estate agents have even used drones indoors to create seamless video tours, using cinematography that rivals Hollywood movies.
More and more professional photographers are using drones too, so chances are that if you’re hiring one, they may already be offering aerial photography. Remember that a drone is just one tool in your toolbox. Aerial shots are impressive but are unnecessary if the surrounding area takes away from the beauty of the home.
- Study the experts
One extremely effective way to improve your photography is to see what the experts are doing. Spend some time online studying showcases of amazing real estate photography from professionals such as the staff here at Charlotte Drone Company – experts in real estate and architectural photography.
Study the kinds of angles, lighting, staging, choice of colors and contrast they use, and emulate them. It’s ok to copy. Don’t forget that those artists were inspired by someone else’s style as they developed their own. See which real estate agencies they work for, and compare how their photography stacks with yours and your competition. It might be a little intimidating at first, but you’ll gain the insight you can use to improve your own brand. Your clients will love you for it.