Real Estate Photography is a VITAL part of any listing
Almost daily I run across bad photography on the MLS. Whether the pictures are blurry or of low resolution, too poorly lit, of unhelpful composition or simply highlighting the areas of a home that might drive people away rather than convince them to book a showing, it hardly matters. Bad is bad.
The seller is paying for good representation and marketing, with the goal of selling faster and for more money. Real estate photography is crucial to making that great first impression and showcasing a home’s features – Yes, all properties have something that is valuable!
Today’s post is less about the skill of the photographer and more about the emotional intelligence and communication skills that the listing agent and/or photographer must possess in order to respect the seller or resident of the property. The photographer needs to understand the comfort level of the resident – What is important to them and why. I have come to realize that this falls into two main categories:
1. Safety and Security in Real Estate Photography
The photographer should be careful not to include items/areas in the marketing pictures that reveals information about assets and income. The photographer or listing agent should ask the seller/resident if there are objects or areas they would prefer not to be photographed, such as valuable art pieces, home offices and security systems. For the safety of children, it’s always best to avoid photographing images of them and/or their names.
2. Privacy in Real Estate Photography
The identity of the seller/resident is private until they say otherwise. It’s best to avoid including family portraits, framed certificates, the names of children (often seen spelled out on bedroom walls or doors) and the licence plates on cars. Revealing a persons identity especially when they are high profile or affluent, might disadvantage them in an upcoming negotiation or simply make information public, that was not the Realtor’s to share.
Great communication is the key. Either the Listing Agent or the photographer should do a walk through with the seller/resident in the house, prior to the photo shoot. A conversation about areas that are out of bounds, objects that shouldn’t be photographed and general staging or removing of items, is a must.
From the photographers perspective, this walk-through is when I decide what will be photographed and what won’t. What are the features that should be highlighted and what times of day to I need to be here to get the best light for different rooms/angles? Quite often I come early in the morning for the front and later again in the afternoon for the back yard, or vice versa. I will make that decision based on the orientation of the home, the views, traffic patterns and season or weather.
Good photography starts with a great conversation, thorough orientation of the house with the seller or resident and only then, taking pictures. What most people don’t understand is that behind the scenes… at night, when the showings have stopped and the phone won’t interrupt me… the photo processing begins. It can take up to 2 hours with a good processing program to get the pictures that really define a home, showcase a lifestyle and capture the attention of a buyer. But it’s worth it!
First impressions count.