How to take better listing photos of your home

Home sellers used to count on curb appeal to make a good first impression on potential buyers. Now, with more homebuyers starting their house hunt online, a home’s “picture appeal” is taking over as the top way to impress buyers.

“Using high-quality photos in real estate listings is one of the most powerful ways to attract more leads and drive sales,” says Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett. “While hiring a professional photographer is always recommendable, it is useful for real estate agents to learn how to take professional-looking real estate pictures – if not to take the photographs themselves, then at least to know how best to direct a professional photographer to ensure that the home is captured in the most appealing way,” he explains.

To assist real estate agents and sellers alike, RE/MAX of Southern Africa shares the below tips to help you take better photographs if you are selling a property.

Schedule enough time for your shoot

One of the biggest mistakes to make is to allocate a limited amount of time and to work fast. Framing your shots properly can take time, and you never really know what state the listing is in before you show up. Giving yourself a very short window limits your chances of success.

Stage and declutter the rooms

For the most enticing listing pictures, remove personal items and declutter the room as this will make it easier for the buyer to picture themselves living there when they swipe through the photographs. Ideally, each room will be clean and uncluttered, with the right staging of furniture and decorations to make the space feel warm, inviting, lived in, and not too sparse

Use a tripod

In addition to a wide-angle lens, spend money on a sturdy tripod. Regardless of how still you think you're being, the camera will always move a little bit and these subtle motions can translate into blurry images. If your shutter speed isn't fast enough, you'll notice some motion blur in all your hand-held photos. Your camera will remain steady on a tripod, resulting in sharper images.

Get the lighting right

Natural light is always the greatest choice so be sure to open all curtains and blinds in every room. LED panels and reflectors can be used to improve the effect created by natural light. Switching on all lighting in the space will also help to ensure that the photos come out crisp and clear and bright.

Post the appropriate number of photos

Buyers may become confused about the layout if there aren't enough images; or they may ask what's not being presented. Buyers may also become disinterested if there are too many images of the same room or of irrelevant features. The amount of space and size will also play a significant role in how many pictures would be appropriate to best showcase the home. Ten images would, for example, be significantly too few for a home with five bedrooms and four bathrooms, but it may be acceptable for a one-bedroom home.

Get the right perspective

The main aim is to capture the size of the spaces realistically. For this reason, the camera is usually best placed at eye level without using odd tilting angles; but, every room is unique so getting the perspective just right will take time and practise.

Edit for the best results

No matter how good you are at taking photos, some pictures will inevitably have poor exposure, while others may have problems with harsh shadows or might require cropping. In most cases, there will have to be some editing to fix all defects and adjust photo parameters to get a professional result.

These are just a few ways to ensure that the listing photographs come out as best as possible. “For greater support in your real estate career, join the best in the business by contacting the professional real estate team at your nearest RE/MAX office,” Goslett concludes.

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