(BP MARKETING) — Photographs are a central component of marketing New York City apartments. The primary function that photos perform is to get prospective buyers to look at the property.
In today’s market where virtually all home buyers start their search online, a little thumbnail of the front of the property becomes the first reason buyers choose to look at more photos of your listing over the 50 other properties at the same price in the same area. Great interior pictures in most cases become the reason why a buyer chooses to physically come to look at your listing instead of the others.
As a real estate agent there are even more compelling reasons for using great photography to present your listing:
— Your home seller client will be pleased with how you are showing their property.
— It’s a well-established fact that great photos and marketing materials are a way to get more listings. Neighbors of the listing property put attention on how a residence is advertised. If they like what they see, most likely they will ask you to help them with their home.
— If you are competing for a listing, the commitment of professionally done photography and marketing materials can help you win the listing.
Ten essential principles that you can use to give your photos maximum effectiveness:
1. The primary purpose of a real estate photo is to present the features of the property. Make sure that each photo visually supports this purpose. Any visual distractions that divert the viewer’s attention from this purpose need to be eliminated.
2. Use a wide-angle lens to shoot interiors. Wide-angle lenses usually increase the feeling of the space. For interiors, a lens should be between 14 mm and 24 mm effective focal length.
3. Remove clutter and stage interiors for best results. It’s a well-known fact that staging homes pay off. Homes sell faster and for a higher price when they are staged. Most lived in apartments have too much clutter. Photos will look better and show more of the home if the clutter is reduced to a minimum and a professional home stager stages furniture.
4. In New York City the living room is THE most critical shot. Spend extra time, money and effort to get a “knock- out” photo because this is the photo that will be seen most by prospective home buyers. Online thumbnails of this photo must entice the buyer to look closer at the property.
5. Render interiors light and bright. Bright interiors are upbeat and make a more positive impression on the prospective buyer, so you want light and bright photos. Amateur cameras often underexpose. Special lighting equipment or photo editing techniques must be used to get interior photos to come across light and bright. Controlling window brightness is probably the most challenging aspect of real estate photography.
6. Vertical lines (walls etc.) must look perfectly straight. We live in a world where we unconsciously know that all walls are perfectly vertical. When a viewer sees a room where the walls are not parallel with the side of the photo, the viewer is visually distracted and disoriented. A voice in their head is saying, “This is not right”. Verticals that are not perfectly straight with the edge of the photo is the first indication of a non-professional interior photographer.
7. Vertical and horizontal lines must be straight. Wide-angle lenses cause lines near the edges of photos to curve so special efforts and software must be used to remove distortion.
8. Don’t let bright windows distract. Unless special lighting or photo editing software is used, interior windows will tend to look too bright, so the view out the window is not visible. It is always possible to show the view out the window if this is a crucial selling point of the property. However, particular work by the photographer may be required to make sure the exterior view is visible. Bright windows distract the viewer’s attention because the eye naturally moves to the brightest area in the photo. Sometimes the view outside is not essential, while other times being able to show the inside and the view out the window is critical.
9. Don’t let color casts distract. Strong color casts (typically an intense orange color) divert the viewer’s attention.
10. The way photos showcase online has a significant impact on the overall effectiveness of marketing a property. Real Estate photography is most effective in large formats (800 x 600 pixels) or larger. Industry websites typically do not present photos in the most effective way possible.
You can hire a photographer that uses these principles, or you can use these principles to shoot photos yourself if you are technically inclined or have support staff that shoots your photos. But either way, you are the listing agent in charge of marketing a property, so use these principles to produce, select and present your photos for maximum effectiveness.
Since these are well accepted photographic principles, most experienced real estate photographers follow them without being told, but there are some that won’t. It’s easy to think because you have a digital camera that you can be a professional. Remember, you are the marketing expert, it’s your job to make sure the marketing is effective.