October 12, 2011

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Top 10 Tips for Property Photos

Something home hunters are always hungry for as they sift through online listings is a good set of photos, after all, a picture tells a thousand words.

Photos often provide the client’s first impression of a property, and can intrigue a prospective buyer as easily as they can turn a buyer off completely.

Simple as it might sound to just “point and click” there are a few things to keep in mind that will ensure photos really add to your listing.

Here are propertyadguru.com’s Top 10 Tips for Property Photos.


1. Cover the essentials. Make sure you include shots of the property’s main elements. Features that shouldn’t be left out include the front and back of the property, bedrooms, livings areas, dining room, kitchen, bathrooms, backyard and any other special attributes, such as a pool or fireplace.

2. The more photos, the better. Never be afraid to include more photos than you think you need. A floor plan is also a great inclusion if at all possible.

3. Watch for intruders. Are there items in the room that shouldn’t be there, or that send the wrong message? This photo from blog lovelylisting.com tells a rather strange story to potential buyers.

4. Watch the weather. While it’s not something you can control, photos that show an overcast sky or dreary late afternoon light are best avoided. Your camera settings can help with this, as can photoshop. But don’t overdo it.

5. Don’t leave them guessing. Photographing just one half of a room, even if you are trying to focus only on its best attributes, can make potential buyers suspicious as to what lies outside the frame.

6. Work your angles. Photographing large rooms from different angles gives the viewer a sense of perspective. By the same token, don’t be tempted to take crooked shots or to succumb to the lure of the wide-angle lens.

7. Common mistakes to avoid include using your flash in a room where lights are already on or in front of a window, and accidentally including yourself in a photo taken in front of a mirror.

8. Giving a sense of what life is like in a home is great, but don’t try too hard. Removing clutter is a great idea. Going so far as to include obviously constructed scenes, like in this example, will only create a sense of falseness.

9. Get to know your camera settings, and your tripod. If you’re going to do it yourself get a decent camera and get to know it. You need to know about aperture, shutter speed and ISO to make your photos work harder for you. Shooting interiors at a slower speed for instance, makes them look better. A garden can look better in shade, and in harsh sunlight you might want to use a flash. There are some great tips on blog sites or take a short course.

10. If in doubt, go to the pros. While it’s certainly more expensive than whipping out your trusty digital camera, hiring a professional photographer could end up being well worth the extra cost.

Just remember: Honesty is the best policy. After all, when clients eventually see the property, the difference between a picture that has gone under the Photoshop knife and the reality will become all too obvious.


Related posts:

  1. Photos are king
  2. Agent Strategies: Property Photos Still an Issue
  3. Making Photos and Videos Work Harder
  4. zillow.com: Photos Make a Dramatic Difference
  5. Top 10 Tips for Great Listing Copy
  6. Copy right: using photos on your website – legally!
  7. What Makes a Good Property Ad
  8. Nestoria’s Tips for Great Listings
  9. Top 10 Tips for Your Agency Website
  10. Top 10 Tips for Making Your Listings Stand Out


  1. Tom Jelen says:

    I agree good photos are a must it’s the most you can do for your brand and your customer besides the cost of a virtual tour and good photo’s are deductible from the sale of your property as an expense.
    Good examples are listed on my web site, a low cost web presentation can be had for practically for the cost of a realtor sitting all day long in a open house waiting for people to show up by just looking for a sign and be linked to many search engines.
    Direct customers to your property 24/7 on the web with a preview so your potential customers walk thru the door ready and knowing that they have an interest in the property before hand and instead of looking they come thru the door talking a sale.

  2. Alice, I agree with most of your tips, especially #10. I am an architectural photographer in the San Francisco Bay Area. 95% of my clientele is from the Real Estate Community. I have recently reconsidered point #2, the “more photos the better” theory. As marketing budgets decline, so has the overall appearance of the average listing on the mls. To address both issues, I have begun offering my cash strapped clients an alternative to the standard “shoot every room” photo package. The photos presented of a listing are there to entice, or invite the potential buyer to the property. Providing every room and conceivable angle inside and out may actually have the undesired effect of replacing the physical visit. I recently did a shot of a fair-sized home. Taking 20 great photos of this property would have been easy. But I shot the front and rear exteriors and the three best rooms in the house. The impact was far greater among this agent’s competitors listings. It was a quick and professional introduction to a home that clearly offers more for the visiting buyer. Architectural Photography, as with selling Real Estate (and I did for 7 years), is best left to the professional. Thanks for the great article. Looking forward to more!

  3. I think that there is a tendency by some agents to use too many photographs. You say the more photos the better, but it is important to only show photos that are relevant.

    The important thing to remember is that the level of photos should just be enough to make the person looking at them to think, I like this property I WANT TO SEE MORE. Once a person is interested in a property then the agent can work their wonder and SELL the property.

    Also don’t be afraid to use alternative styles of photography. We specialise in low altitude aerial photography in Ireland & Northern ireland (also known as elevated photography or mast photography).

    We can provide a single photo that gracefully combines the ground and aerial perspectives. The image is not only informative but very eye catching as well.

    This SINGLE image shows the elevations of the property, the roof, the grounds and the view. An estate agent could take anywhere between 5 and 20 photographs to try and show the same, but even then they wouldn’t come near.

    Property experts say LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION is important and the low altitude aerial photo certainly showcases the property’s location - views, grounds etc. all get shown.

    One other tip - when photographing interiors try kneeling on the floor - you will be surprised the difference it makes. It gives a different perspective to what we normally see. Try it!


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