Today we are going to discuss poor real estate photography. With a plethora of homes for sale, its no surprise that realtors want a quick selling and listing process, with a minimum investment of time and money. Agents both new and veteran, understand that pictures are a part of the process to complete an MLS listing but few understand the impact that images have on the buyers decision making process. Images also play a role in within the buyers agent, if the agent does not like the photography they see on MLS, they will be less likely to show their clients the property. To understand how a picture is worth $1,000 read our article, Why Real Estate Agents Need Profesional Photography. Their are many sites devoted to poor real estate photography, even a calendar and twitter page is devoted to the the subject. Instead of simply pointing the finger at poor real estate photography, we will explain how these images can be improved upon. Most poor real estate images are taken with cellphones so our image improvement tips will be given based upon cellphone and point and shoot camera technology. If you are a realtor, grab a pen, take notes and get ready for the ride.
Real Estate Photography, The Bad And The Ugly
The Leaning House
Even when built on a hill, homes do not lean. This picture makes the house seem like its smaller on one side than the other. The solution is simple, level your camera. There is an in camera option that will help you level a shot without having to carry around a tripod. This feature is called the grid. The grid is exactly what its name implies, a grid that overlays on the camera’s viewfinder or screen to help the photographer level the camera with the plane in your field of view. Simply go to you cameras settings, enable the grid and use it to help level the camera.
Exposure And Image Stitching
Exposure is the term that explains the brightness or darkness of an image or video. The image on the left is under exposed while the image on the right is more evenly exposed. To control exposure on your phone or point and shoot, simply press the area of the image you want the camera to expose for on your touchscreen and the camera will measure and alter the exposure for you. If the images is still too dark, press on a different area of the screen. Play with the exposure by pressing the dark and bright areas of the phone screen until the camera gets an even exposure. The image stitching (combining two images into one) here was an attempt to show more of the home in one image but it leaves us with a poor sense of depth in the house and it almost looks like a panoramic image (avoid using that camera mode too). Simply take a separate photo for each different room instead of stitching them together.
The Creative Fish-Eye Lens
A fish-eye lens is great for creative photography but it will only distort an interior image leaving the viewer feeling uneasy. Avoid fish-eye lenses or adapters and instead use a wide angle lens. Interchangeable lens cameras fall out of the spectrum of point and shoot and cellphone cameras. There are lens adapters that go over your phones camera but just avoid them altogether and take a standard photo. If one photo does not cover your kitchen, take two or three images to cover the room. Viewing three images is far better than viewing one extremely distorted image.
Within photography, composition is the arrangement of elements on your frame. This image is self explanatory, as half of the image is composed of the ceiling. Take time when framing your shot and think about what should be in and out of the composure. Even though this image has many other flaws, it could be more descriptive if the top of the frame started with the hanging lights. Viewers do not need to see the ceiling to know that it is there. The most important aspect of this room should be the bathroom sink, cabinets and shower. Take your time when composing your shots and don’t forget about the grid, as it always helps with your composition.
We won’t even begin to discuss any resemblance this image brings to mind but even with low vaulted ceilings, this image could have been taken from the other side of the room to hide the awkward window design. What not to compose for in the image is just as important as what to compose for.
Clean Your Camera Lens
Is it snowing in here? No the lens is just covered with dust. This improvement is the easiest yet. If you do not have a lens cloth, purchase one on Amazon for about $5 and wipe your lens clean each time before you use your camera. This applies to all cameras, even cellphone cameras which can become the dirtiest from living in your pocket most of the time.
This bad real estate photo also has a simple fix. Focus your camera before you take the shot. On a touchscreen point and shoot and cellphone camera, just touch the area of the screen that you want to be in focus. Remember that the exposure will also be affected but this photographer didn’t even bother to focus on anything.
This image would be excellent for a painting of your house, in your home, but in no way does this represent a home that a potential buyer might purchase after they view it in person. Creative styles such as excessive color saturation, sharper images and higher contrasts can add a nice finishing touch to images, but use them in small doses. When a client wants creative styled images we tend to turn up the saturation and contrast 1 notch adding small changes. Both point and shoot and cellphone cameras offer creative styles but avoid them as they are too strong and lack fine adjustments.
That’s A Wrap
If you are a real estate agent taking your own images, we hope these bad real estate photography examples will help you make better use of your camera. If you need assistance with real estate photography, contact us! If you are in the Columbus, Ohio area, we are here to help you and answer your questions starting with a free consultation and quote. Happy shooting and thanks for reading.