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Tips for Taking Your Own Listing Photos During the Quarantine

Written by Jaymi Naciri Posted On Tuesday, 07 April 2020 05:30

Real estate is included in the “essential services” that have been deemed necessary during the coronavirus pandemic, according to federal guidance from the Department of Homeland Security—although the final determination is being made by local governments.  

But, even in jurisdictions where real estate-related services are allowed to continue, sellers may be looking to limit the number of people who enter their home right now. That could mean trying to take your own listing photos. 

First, a disclaimer. Professional photos of your home are critical to showing it in its best light so it will sell—especially in a market that is suddenly facing some challenges. According to the Center for REALTOR® Development (CRD), “It might seem obvious—or go without saying—that good photography and videography are critical for your success as a real estate professional,” said RISMedia. “But when you dig into the numbers, just how much of an impact good visuals make borders on shocking.”

Here’s just a taste of those stats: “Homes with high quality photography sell 32 percent faster. Homes with more photos sell faster, too. A home with one photo spends an average 70 days on the market, but a home with 20 photos spends 32 days on the market. For homes in the $200,000 to $1 million range, those that include high-quality photography in their listings sell for $3,000-$11,000 more.”

If you’re ready to pick up that SmartPhone, here are a few tips to help you tske pro-quality photos.

1. Make a shot list.

Although your shot list may be slightly different, especially if there are other areas in your home like a basement, game room, or home theater, this is a good overview from Expert Photography:

• 2 wide angle shots of each bedroom, the kitchen, and the living room
• 1 photo of the bathroom, unless it’s particularly beautiful or spacious
• 1-3 photos of the backyard unless it has some unique features. And then
• 1-2 shots of the front of the home to show off the ‘curb appeal’
• 1 shot each of features such as laundry room, garage, and pantry

2. Check out other listings, especially in your area. 

This will help you see what works when the photos are done right, and what doesn’t.

3. Think like a buyer.

“Before grabbing your camera and tripod, walk around your house and imagine how it looks to people who don’t live there, Buddy Mountcastle, a real estate photographer in Fort Lauderdale, FL, told

4. Consider the time of day. 

Shoot when the sun is at its sunshiny-est to help your home look light and bright. If you must shoot your interior on a cloudy day, play with the flash and the exposure to see if you can approximate natural light. 

5. Turn on all the lights.

You’re not going to have the benefit of professional lighting, but making your home as light as possible is key to taking good listing photos. Images that are too dark are a waste of time and effort.

6. Capture that sunset.

If you’re getting ready to sell your house, put the whole family on sunset watch. That way, you can get out and take some exterior shots with a pretty sky in the background. But…you’ll want to make sure the exterior of your house is lit right and that you are including the right home-to-environment ratio, as well. 

“Just as when you’re shooting indoors, you want to create the perfect vignette of the outside of your home,” said Forbes. “Showing too much street can make the image feel cold, Carrie Wells, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Mason Morse in Aspen, CO, told them, “Preparation is the key element in achieving great listing photos. Determine the right time of day or evening for each shot. If you have beautiful outdoor lighting, don’t skip taking images at dusk. This can give potential buyers a better picture of the property and landscaping.”

7. Use a wide-angle lens.

It’s hard to get the angles right without one. Thankfully, you don’t have to buy a professional camera with an expensive lens. On iPhone, the Panorama 360 app can give you the tool you need to look like you brought in a professional. 

8. Use a tripod. 

“Most homes look much more appealing when shot in natural light,” said Home & DIY Blogger, Erin Spain, on FitSmallBusiness. “If you don’t have professional flash equipment or a very steady hand, pictures taken without a tripod in natural light can look dark and blurry. Tripods allow you to shoot at slower shutter speeds to take advantage of natural light while still keeping images sharp.”

Don’t have a tripod? Use one of these clever tricks to DIY one.

9. Clean, clean, clean. 

Any area being shot for your listing photos needs to look as clean as it would be if people were physically touring your house. Dirty carpets and smudged mirrors will show up in photos. 

The exterior of your home likely also needs some work. If you plan to show the home from the outside (And you should!), don’t forget to give the exterior a clean-up, too. You might not be able to add fresh flowers to the porch or have the trees trimmed like you would if you weren’t quarantined, but, if you can spend a little time outside, you can still make the area look nice. Rake the leaves, clean the windows, and pull the weeds so the front looks tidy and inviting in photos. 

10. Watch the reflections

You might have to alter your angle several times in order to avoid reflections from mirrors or shower doors. 

11. Pay attention to the details.

Did you put the toilet seats down before you shot pictures of your bathrooms? Are there light bulbs missing or out in any of the light fixtures? Did you overlook the overfilled laundry basket in the laundry room? The little things we miss every day in our home will stand out to someone seeing it for the first time. 

12. Make use of good photo editing tools.

Snapseed or Box Brownie can help you get the best out of your photos with features to lighten them up, enhance the images, and retouch where necessary. 

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