Perfect property pics in 9 simple steps

Private Property South Africa
Cathy Nolan

photoHave you ever seen a bad photograph (taken with a point-and-shoot-camera) in an ad for a BMW? Of course not. Ever seen a badly composed shot in a Clinique ad? Never.

Selling a house is not a real estate function; it is a marketing function, and pretty photographs sell more houses. Think about the marketing used for the professional products you are exposed to* … *Good photographs are worth the effort!

  • Make an impression: spend extra time and effort (even money!) to get a “wow” photo of the exterior as this is the first image that a home hunter is going to see. This shot needs to be compelling enough to entice property shoppers to click on your listing.

  • Use a wide-angle lens: this will increase the feeling of space in the interior. This would typically be a 35mm equivalent with a focal length of between 14 and 24mm – don’t be scared by the jargon, your local camera shop will know exactly what you need and show you how to use it. This lens doesn’t generally come standard with an off-the-shelf or point-and-shoot camera but it is worthwhile investing in this lens for your agency.

  • Go for light and bright: this is probably the most challenging aspect of photographing property. But bright interiors are up-beat and make a positive impression on home hunters. Amateur and phone cameras generally under-expose, making the photos dark and for this reason it makes sense to invest in a good camera for the agency. When inside, switch on every possible light before you start shooting.

  • Don’t let bright windows distract: always shoot with the bright windows (or sun, if you’re outside) at your back to prevent the photo looking shadowy and dark. Take a separate, close-up shot through the windows if the view is crucial to the property’s charm.

  • Ensure vertical and horizontal lines are straight: use a tripod to hold your camera steady, and line the walls and ceilings up with the edges of your shot. Your wide-angle lens will cause lines near the edges of your photos to curve and special software – Photoshop is the most user-friendly – must be used to correct this distortion. It’s worth every cent to get a design professional into your agency for a few hours to run you through the basics of using this program to correct your photos.

  • Avoid odd colour casts: yellow and orange-ish casts (the most common) are sickly-looking and off-putting. These can easily be corrected in Photoshop, along with graininess and blur.

  • Shoot diagonally across a room: this adds depth and dimension – making rooms look bigger.

  • Crop your photos: crop out neighbouring houses, large tracts of empty lawn, plain walls – anything that detracts from the focal point of the shot.

  • Shoot in landscape format: our site is optimised for landscape-shaped photos. Not only will loading 12 fab landscape shots improve your listing score, they will display better than portrait-shapes and thus look more enticing to home hunters. To do this, simply turn your camera sideways.

Picture perfection!

Property shoppers aren’t enticed by clutter and mess – it creates an impression that the home has not been cared for or maintained properly.

So please tidy up before taking photos? In this case, people and pets also count as clutter!


6 top pic tips from Donna Sipman of RE/MAX Masters:

ENTRANCE: The pavement should be groomed and attractive. Ensure the house number is visible.

KITCHEN AND SCULLERY: Remove all unnecessary items. These areas must be uber-clean.

BEDROOMS: Make sure the bedding is fresh, the beds are made and the curtains are hanging straight.

BATHROOMS: Close the toilet lid, clean the bath, hang fresh towels and pack away all toiletries.

SWIMMING POOL: The pool should be sparkling and blue. Take off the net or cover.

GARDEN: The lawn should be mowed, greenery clipped and leaves raked away. As for doggie doodoo … need it even be mentioned?

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