Friday, October 31, 2014

How to take good photos of your listings

Good photos are vital in attracting buyers for any type of property. On an ad, they’re the first thing that the eye would latch on to. If you don’t have the budget for a photographer, consider this a crash course on making your photos as professional-looking as possible:

Look up similar listings online and how they were prepped and photographed. Take some ideas from the ones you like, and add your own creative touch. 

Fix it up: polish up wooden surfaces; wipe glass windows clean to let natural light in. Rearrange furniture, if any, and use whatever’s readily available or affordable to decorate the place. Make sure that you don’t leave the garden or the lawn out of it, should the property have one. Curb appeal is still a factor, even in photos. 

You don’t need top-end equipment for the task, but it wouldn’t hurt to have something more than a point-and-click digital camera. Wide-angle 24mm or 35mm DSLRs work like a charm. If you’re stuck with a digicam, make sure that its settings allow for the best quality possible. Use a tripod so your movements won’t cause any blurred photos.

Shoot under the best lighting conditions. A cloudless blue sky should do wonders for the property’s appeal from the outside. Choose a time of the day that isn’t too bright for your camera. 

Exterior night time shots are best taken after the sun has just set. The sky shouldn’t look black, but a dark shade of blue. Turn on all the lights inside and outside the place. Yellow porch and lawn lights on a house will make it homey and inviting. 

Use flash when shooting indoors. Turn on all the lights in the room, or just enough to be able to see everything you want your clients to see. Keep the curtains drawn and the windows and blinds open. Use softer lighting wherever you want a cozier, more intimate atmosphere.

There should be a distinct point of interest in the photo. A “point of interest” is an object or an arrangement of objects that draw the viewer’s eye. It could be the mantelpiece, or the living room set, or the kitchen island, for instance. Points of interest should never be dead-center of a photo.

Composition is key. Imagine that a photo is divided by an even 3-by-3 grid: each intersection on this grid is an ideal place to locate your point of interest. This is a tenet in basic photography called “the rule of thirds.” Some cameras may display the grid’s intersections on their LCD screen or through the viewfinder. Use this grid as a reference point for when you’re experimenting with different angles and perspectives to shoot the space in.

Never take a picture facing a wall unless you’re showing off cupboards, bookshelves, built-in closets, and other symmetrical furniture and decorative installations like murals and paintings. You don’t want things to seem flat. You want some depth in there – you’re showing off the space, after all. Always choose long shots unless otherwise required. Shooting diagonally also makes for a more dynamic photo.

Take as many pictures as you like. Choose the best and discard the rest afterwards. Try out a couple of different shots for every part of the property, but focus on its best assets.

Use a photo-editor like Photoshop to touch up your material. Adjust brightness and contrast. Tinker with color balance or selective color settings to highlight or diffuse a particular color. There are different types of tools that can erase or edit anything that seems a little bit off. If you’re using your photos for print, set their color values according to the type of printer you’re using (or ask your printing service of choice to do this 
for you).

If you intend on uploading these photos online, make sure that your visitors can browse through them with ease on your website.

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