Photographic fantasy | Columns | lamonidailysun.com
As you know, I searched high and low for a new place to live. I went back and forth between rentals and houses for sale. As a former home (and duplex) owner, I really hate the idea of âârenting (i.e. paying someone else’s mortgage). And with the market seemingly coming back to earth, this fall may be a fantastic time to make a purchase. Either way, I’m delighted to finally have my own place. It has been almost a decade since I lived alone. I miss having to tiptoe in the morning the most! (My current roommate is a bit late sleeper.)
The only consistent thing that I saw in my house search is the big difference in the quality of the photography between the houses. It seems the majority of real estate professionals take high quality photos, use the correct lenses, stay aware of the lighting, and capture the entire home and property. On the other hand, the majority of people offering rental properties seem to have let their little ones take the pictures for them. They’re consistently dark, off-center, capturing part of the room, and disregarding the flow of the house or any attempt to give the potential tenant a sense of how much space is available. It’s like they don’t even try.
Today I want to throw a bone to these people âchallenged by photographyâ. We all understand that they don’t see the value of good photos. We also understand that they do not want to give their customers a fair price in the market. Maybe with a little help, they can learn to appreciate the value of a well-thought-out photo gallery and one day get their clients to be delighted with the way their property has been portrayed. Let’s go, okay?
The choice of goal is first and foremost. You know, actually, even before that, it’s the camera. You need to use a good quality camera (capable of changing lenses) to get the most out of your photoshoot. But I’ll leave that to you and a chat with the folks at the camera store. For the lens, lean sharply towards the wide-angle variety. In general, the wide angle lens will provide sharp images while capturing the whole room. When searching for a property, I cannot count the number of times I felt like I saw the house through a tunnel. Let the photos breathe and let in as much light as possible (more on this later).
And don’t confuse âwide angleâ with âfish-eyeâ. You don’t want your photoshoot to look like Missy Elliot’s The Rain video (you’ll have to search for this one if you’re under 40). I also lost track of the times I crashed into a closet or hung outside in the hallway just to get the best angle for my photos. Don’t just lazily walk around taking pictures. Move your body (and the camera!) Out of the room and reflect on your perspective. Every little detail makes a big difference. “Never lose sight of the fact that these photos are the first (and very often the ONLY) view of this home people will get,” said Badger Realty agent Mike Rogers. He continued, “If they don’t get past your photos, they won’t pick up the phone. You can count on them.”
And if you don’t hold onto the chandelier or tuck yourself into a closet, use a tripod. The tripod should be the first thing you get out of your car when you get home. The camera can be the second. Take the time to walk around the house and see where you can settle down. You really have to get past the idea of ââhaving to move the tripod around a bunch of times just to get all of your shots. Bring a friend to help you if that makes it easier. Having crisp, crisp images from the right angle, with no chance of movement or blurring, will make a big impression on those potential buyers and tenants.
One of the most surprising (and fun) discoveries I made during my research is the bewildering absence of the most basic (read: required) photos. I have looked at rental and property listings without front of house images. Others omit the pictures of the rooms. You know what these two scenarios mean, don’t you? The house is in a horrible part of town and looks horrible from the outside and the bedrooms would hardly pass as closets in most homes. True or not, this is the message you are sending. Show the interested party all possible images from all possible angles. Images are free, remember. Hurry up!
The last note for our photo-challenged friends is the lighting. This one seems obvious to most of us, but lighting really is the piece of resistance in real estate photography. No one except Parks and Rec renowned Orin wants to live in a dark, gloomy house. If you are stuck with a rainy and dreary fall day, skip the photoshoot and wait for better weather. If given the chance, my favorite days to photograph real estate are those blue sky days after a good snowfall. Everything is crisp white and the rooms are lit like Christmas trees. Snowstorms aside (it’s only September, Jason!), Be sure to pick a nice sunny day for your photos. And whatever the weather is outside, be sure to turn them all on. Single. light. at home. You really can never have too much light. Good shot!