Well well well… you finally have your online marketing strategy dialed in. You’ve got your website up and running, ready to bring in some new business. You’ve got your social media accounts with growing follower counts. And now, for the moment of truth – what will you post? To bring in new clients and make your online presence truly impactful, you need to focus on creating quality content. Great content (both written and visual) is a must in real estate. The better your content, the better your SEO standing, the more chance you have of landing new clients. Your goal as an agent must always be to establish yourself as an expert in your field and increase organic traffic to your website. So what makes content great and how can you make yours stand out in this industry?
Quality photos are the best place to start. After all, we’re in the business of selling homes, which is driven primarily by imagery. Great content and specifically compelling photos encourage your clients (past and present) to visit your website. This interaction keeps your business at the top of their minds, making it more likely that yours will be the name they share when asked for a recommendation. Read on as we break down how to photograph for real estate so you can create the best content for your business!
Clean and stage
Do not overlook tasks like cleaning before the shoot when you photograph for real estate. A messy house won’t look good in photos, so make sure to clarify with your client that the home will be clean and ready to be photographed before you begin the job. Obviously, you can move a piece of furniture if needed to get the best shot, but that should be the extent of your work prepping the home.
Ensuring that the home is as visually appealing as possible also includes staging. Home staging is a service that includes redecorating a home to make it look more attractive to potential buyers. If a property owner chooses to do this, it must be done before real estate photos are taken. Many realtors already have a home stager that they enjoy working with, but if you’re in the market for one, take the time to research the best person for the job!
Make a shot list
Don’t think of real estate photography in terms of single images, but rather as a series of photographs. You will need to capture all rooms in the interior, as well as the outside of the building, the surroundings, etc. Of course, the exact number of images and what they show depends on the particular property. In any case, you should set out to take hundreds of beautiful images to choose from, all with a cohesive and objective style. When you photograph for real estate, your aim is to showcase a property in a way that attracts potential buyers, so make sure to show off the home’s best features.
One way to make sure you capture all the images you need is to make a shot list. Real estate photography has a tight budget and requires quick turnover, so it’s important to keep your shoots efficient and organized. You can create a different shot list for each type of property. Consider whether you’re shooting a house, commercial building or apartment and the number of rooms included. Of course, you should fine-tune your list according to each property. Whether you have the skills to shoot yourself, or choose to hire a professional, make sure you’re well prepared when it comes time to take those photos. Here is an example shot list for residential property:
- Outdoor shot
- Outdoor shot from the back (if there’s a garden, pool, or something to showcase)
- One shot per bedroom
- One shot of the living room
- One shot of the kitchen
- One shot of the dining room
- One shot per bathroom
When it comes to real estate photography, there’s not much flexibility regarding the shoot schedule. You will need to coordinate times with the homeowner and photographer (if you’re not shooting yourself). If possible, aim to shoot during the early morning or late afternoon. Those times of day have the best light, with soft shadows and warm tones that will work well for most any property. A cloudy day provides especially good lighting to photograph a house. While it will make for a very dull sky framing the property, that can be easily fixed in the editing process using an overlay.
Lighting a large space requires time, skills, and the right equipment. These things are not always considered in the budget, so, it’s best to get the shot using available ambient light. Here are a few ambient lighting tips to keep in mind:
- Avoid having the window directly in front or behind – position yourself where windows are to the side of you.
- Close the curtains if there’s too much contrast between the outside and the inside of a room.
- Turn the lights off whenever possible to avoid conflicting light temperatures.
- For outdoor shots, ensure the light is illuminating the front of the property.
There are certain must-have accessories when you photograph for real estate – namely a tripod. The fixed frame will allow you to properly compose your images and prevent perspective distortion. Tripods also come in handy when shooting in conditions such as low-light. The available ambient light is often not strong enough to allow for a fast shutter speed and you don’t want your images to be blurry. When shooting HDR and composites, you will need to take multiple images with the same framing, which can also only be done properly using a tripod.
It’s also important to use a wide angle lens for real estate photography. A wide angle lens can fit the most of the needed information in a single shot, which is perfect for taking photos that show the house with some context or capture the entire living room. A great focal length that works for most situations in real estate photography is a 16-35mm zoom lens. When using a full-frame camera, it’s advisable to keep the widest field of view. Of course, none of this is your concern if you’re hiring a photographer – they’ll know all the tricks :).
Are you ready to create some next level photo content? Will you be shooting yourself or hiring a pro? Let us know if you have any questions or comments in the chat below!