A Property Marketer’s Guide to Property Photography – What Works and What Doesn’t

property photography

Have you wondered how property photography can affect the sales and marketing process? 

Selling houses is an acquired skill and often takes many moving parts to do. And knowing how to sell property off the plan required another level of skill and knowledge in itself.

Sales agents need a particular set of skills, developed over time, to really become a gun salesperson.

You might think that real estate sells itself, as the property market currently does.

However, real estate sales are like any other sales. The same basic principles apply.

And the first place people often look for property is online. Think of the big real estate websites; you know the ones, REA and Domain etc.

online property portals

Right after someone has punched a search into one of those platforms, they will view the homes for sale listings.

And do you know what the next step is? They will swipe through the photos.

Photographing the houses for sale will trigger the next step in the process – the call or email to the agent. This is because the photos draw the seller in and display the home. 

If the house doesn’t appear well, or the photography is terrible, that next step may never occur.

That’s why, when marketing the property, the quality of the photography must be excellent.

Now, here at Little Fish – we’re not photographers. Far from it. I don’t think any of us has used a camera that isn’t embedded in a smartphone for years.

However, we are an expert real estate marketing agency. And we’ve worked with plenty of photographers over the years.

This means that we know how to sell a property. And we know the importance of exceptional real estate photography.

This article will share a property marketer’s guide to property photography. We’ll share what works and what doesn’t.

Now before we get into it, if you are a buyer, not a seller then check out these townhouse buying tips – I share what to ask when buying a townhouse and even discuss why buy a townhouse at all.

Let’s get into it, read on to discover more.

The Right Equipment

property photography equipment

Regardless of the subject, a great photographer is only as good as their equipment. While this may not be true in all aspects of property photography it is the case as a real estate photographer.

Like many art forms, the tools, and the correct use of the tools, are essential.

The best real estate photos are those taken using the right tools.

A digital SLR camera is a must-have for any photographer. These are high-quality machines that can take amazing digital photographs. 

You can use a tripod to steady the camera, keeping it still. However, you can also use it for multiple exposure shots, which are great for taking images looking out a window or door.

An external flash is also a must-have because it helps to brighten shots. However, don’t use one in rooms with lots of reflective surfaces, as the photos will come out too bright. Usually, these rooms are bathrooms, laundries, and kitchens – with lots of tiles or white cabinets.

A wide-angle lens is also a must-have, as this will accurately capture the space of larger rooms. You want rooms to look realistic. Otherwise, a buyer will feel as though they’ve been tricked if they come to inspect the property and the rooms are smaller than they seem in the photographs.

You may also want to consider a remote trigger. This is because unless you have super steady hands, you can risk shaking the camera when pressing the button to take a photo. A remote trigger, combined with a tripod, means perfect, still photos each and every time. 

Now that the equipment is sorted let’s investigate how to take those perfect property pictures.

Ensure the Property is Prepared First

property photography organisation

You should be preparing the property for sale anyway, so while you’re doing that, you can rest assured that you’re also preparing it for the photos. 

Ideally, you want sparse spaces, free from clutter and mess. Think empty benches, tables with maybe a centrepiece and nothing else, and clean areas.

Wipe down windows, mirrors, and other surfaces. You don’t want grease marks, fingerprints, or other unseemly elements in your photographs. 

Ensure that all furniture is arranged neat and straight, and remove personal items such as photographs, trophies, and the like. The trick is to get potential buyers to imagine themselves living in the space, and personal items detract from that effect.

Make sure doors are open to give an inviting feel and turn on lights and lamps to help light the spaces. 

Taking Photos – Height Matters

Make sure that you snap your photos from either head or shoulder height. This is because this is the view that buyers will have when they walk through the property. Taking shots from weird angles will create a dissonant experience when buyers inspect the property after seeing the photos.

Don’t Shoot Overly Wide

Remember, you’re aiming for realistic pictures here. Over wide shots will make the rooms seem larger than they are, which buyers consider deceptive.

Keep the Sun at Your Back

ensure sun behind camera

This will ensure there are no dark, shadowy areas in the photo. You want clear, realistic, and bright images that showcase the house. Dark areas will detract from the viewing experience and give a subconscious impression that the house is dark. People want to live in light-filled homes. 

Keep Spaces Open

You want to give the impression of an open, spacious house where people can spread out and call it home. So, open all the doors to create that vibe. If there are French or sliding doors anywhere, keep them open too. 

Must-Have Shots

When marketing a property, there are a few “must-have” shots that you should include in every photo set. These include:

  • Two wide-angle snaps of each main bedroom, as well as the kitchen and the lounge/living room
  • A single photo of the bathroom – unless it’s enormous or especially stunning
  • A few snaps of the backyard, unless there is a unique feature such as a pergola or water feature
  • A shot or two of the front of the house to display “curb appeal”
  • A single shot of all the other rooms: such as the pantry, garage, laundry room or study

This covers pretty much the whole house, and you can do varieties of this basic list to showcase the property thoroughly. 

Don’t Be Unprepared

preparation is key

When getting ready to take real estate photos, you must not be unprepared.

You don’t want to set aside the hours for a shoot, arrive at the house and then discover you haven’t charged your camera’s battery, or you’ve forgotten the tripod or the flash.

So, the night before a shoot, make a checklist. It might look something like this:

  • Charged batter
  • Tripod
  • Flash
  • Memory cards
  • Charger (just in case)
  • Packed bag
  • Check Google Maps to see how to get to the house

When You Arrive – Do a Walkthrough

Every home is unique. It pays to get a feel for the property before you start happy snapping.

When you arrive, take a slow walkthrough of the home. Make some mental or written notes about shots you may want to get. If you have permission from the homeowner or the sales agent, you may want to remove some clutter or rearrange some elements.

This will also help you get in the creative mood to take photos. If you’re into music, you might want to put some on, using earbuds or headphones, so you don’t disturb the neighbours.

Check the Lighting

check the lighting

This is another helpful tip. Some homes have a mixture of different types of lighting. For instance, the home may have warm incandescent and cool white light in different rooms. As you’ll have the doors open, there is a chance these light types could blend. This makes for a tricky photographer, as lighting is so important. If this is the case, make sure to utilise your flash or additional light instead of relying on the home’s lighting. 

Pick Your Time

A large part of property photography is about getting the timing right. Now, even with a flash, shooting on a stormy or overcast day can be difficult. Check the forecast and plan to shoot on a day with minimal cloud cover and bright sunlight. Or, if you want a gorgeous shot, you might choose sunset to shoot the house’s exterior as it is bathed in that warm, red sunlight at sunset. 

Use the Seasons 

Use the turn of the seasons to your advantage when staging photographs. For instance, during winter, you might want to light the fireplace if it has one or throw a rug over a bed. You might put some in bloom flowers in a vase for a table centrepiece during spring. 

In summer, you might want to put a jug of iced tea on the dining room table or some summer fruits in a bowl. In autumn, you might want to include a tree’s red and orange leaves in the yard or make a small decoration with foliage.

You get the idea.

Learn Photo Editing

learn photo editing

Now, even the best natural photos can benefit from a touch up in photo editing software. It’s worth purchasing a licence for software such as Photoshop or Lightroom, both Adobe products. 

Furthermore, you need to learn how to use this software, as owning it is only half of the equation. You might want to check out some tutorials online focused on touching up photos or playing with light. 

You could even take a short course at a local TAFE or RTO and learn how to unlock the power of these programs.

This will benefit you in the long run, as your photos will wind up looking incredibly professional and will help in selling the property. 

Avoid Common Mistakes

There are some common mistakes that amateur photographers often make. Avoid these to ensure your images are polished, professional, and up to scratch.

Here are a few dot points of common property photography errors:

  • Crooked angles, off-centre shots, shaky shots
  • Showing your reflection in a bathroom mirror
  • Unfocused, blurry shots
  • Overexposed shots

Zoom in For Detail

property photography zoom

Our final tip is about the detail. Some houses have exquisite yet small details that might get missed in wide-angle or broad shots. In this case, it’s okay to zoom in to capture the stunning detail.

It might be impressive plasterwork or a fancy fitting or fixtures, such as brass tapware or vintage doorknobs.

Whatever the case, use the zoom feature to get some close-ups of stunning details. Make sure that the focus is on the exact item, even if the background is out of focus. 

A Photo Finish

In this informative article, we’ve shared a property marketer’s guide to real estate and property photography – a key pillar to any project marketing campaign.

Remember, the photos are often the first impression potential buyers will get of the house, so it’s crucial to nail this step. If you can’t get people through the door for an inspection, you can’t sell a house. 

So, follow the above steps, and you’ll be snapping professional-grade photos in no time, hopefully getting you a few steps closer to closing a sale. If you need any further advice don’t hesitate to reach out to our expert real estate marketing team – we would love to hear from you!

Remember what not to do as well, as this is as equally important as the must-do tips.

peter new profile

To put it mildly, Peter Kelly is enthusiastic about real estate. When he’s not looking at properties, or visiting potential sites, Peter can be found online at realestate. com. For him, it’s more than a job – it’s an obsession. Peter is a co-founder here at Little Fish Real Estate.