A Lesson In Real Estate Photography with Carsten Arnold of Total 360 Photography

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr

Here’s a typical photo taken by a Realtor…

Here’s a professional photo taken by a photographer…

Notice the difference?

Please tell me that home sellers really do want to have the most expensive possession they will ever own marketed with blurry, crooked, dark, discoloured, or oddly composed photos showing windows that look like a nuclear explosion went off outside. And then, convince me that homebuyers really appreciate viewing these photos when searching for the most expensive possession they will ever buy. Tell me that Relators actually believe these lousy photos will entice a potential buyer into viewing their listing. With so many MLS listings being marketed using bad photos, why would I be convinced otherwise?

Consumers are used to high quality images in advertising and expect to be impressed visually. Buying a home is an emotional experience and using quality listing photos with proper lighting and composition will visually and emotionally attract buyers. Take a look at any auto or jewellery ad and you’ll see what I mean, the images are just dripping with appeal.

Photos are the first, and sometimes only chance agents get to make a good impression. Poor photography wastes an agent’s time by not giving the buyer a true representation of the layout before seeing it first hand.

Most real estate photos are taken either with a point and shoot type camera or in worse case scenarios, with a smartphone. These devices by themselves cannot capture wide enough of an angle to show the entire room nor light the scene effectively.

Professional photographers use expensive DSLR type cameras with wide-angle lenses that capture the entire scene which is ideal when showing a prospective buyer the true layout of the home. Multiple flash units are used to light the entire area, show the true colour of the space, and most important to create a mood that says, “buy me!”

This is what you want…

If you’re one of those agents that absolutely insist on taking their own photos, using a combination of technique, additional hardware and software can make a difference in the quality of your photos.

1. The best place to shoot a room, in most cases, is from the corners. Living rooms and kitchens should be photographed from several corners. Bedrooms and bathrooms are best shot from right inside the doorways, and exteriors should always be shot at an angle that includes the best view of one of the sides.

2. The height of the camera should always be at the level that the room is mostly used in. Typically this is at sitting height except in kitchens and bathrooms where you need to view the tops of the counters. Doing so will show more of the floor and less of the ceilings. This gives a more natural look to the room and is more inviting to the viewer.

3. Always use the widest possible angle that your camera is capable of taking. Some cameras will have the ability to add a wide-angle lens or adaptor such as the olloclip for the iPhone. Further enhance the image with software to give a better overall view of the room. Be sure to hold your camera perfectly level to the scene for straight verticals. An image with crooked walls will look visually wrong and disturbing to the viewer.

4. Turn off the flash on your camera. Cameras other than DSLR types do not have the ability to light more than a few feet away and the result is often very poor. The “auto everything” setting on point and shoot cameras will often give you a better image without the flash. Turn on all room lights and open up the curtains and blinds to bring as much light into the room as possible. Use a third party app for your smartphone camera to capture a far better image.

5. On the iPhone there are two must have photo apps, 1) Pro HDR which allows you to capture detail in bright windows while maintaining detail in the darkest part of the scene and 2) Perfectly Clear which allows you to adjust lighting, saturation, detail, and sharpness after the image is taken.

6. Whether you have a MAC or PC, software such as Photoshop Elements, Photoshop or the open source equivalent Gimp are good choices for final image manipulation. They can crop and resize images for uploading to the MLS, fix bad lighting, straighten vertical lines, and remove unsightly objects that were overlooked such as fridge magnets, garden hoses across the lawn, pet toys left under the sofa, or your own reflection in mirrors.

If you don’t believe you have the skills nor the equipment and software to truly give your sellers the best marketing material for their dollar then consider hiring a professional photographer to get the best results.

Carsten Arnold is the owner and principal photographer at Total 360 Photography, one of Metro Vancouver’s premier real estate photography services.

Enter to win a premium listing photography package worth $270 by liking our Facebook page at facebook.com/total360. Draw date is August 30th, 2013 and the winner’s name will be posted on our Facebook page.

One answer

  1. Ed
    7/24/2013 at 8:49 pm

    That has to be some great advice as I am used to shooting with an IPhone. No wonder I have not had too many bites on my listings. I will certainly use your professional expertise next time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.
Required fields are marked *