I've seen it a hundred times. It's not just a Myrtle Beach real estate thing. It's a national real estate agent epidemic that only a few have the vaccine for. Most of the pictures uploaded to their MLS system to show home and condo shoppers are absolute rubbish! Either the picture is taken of a blank wall, or whoever formatted the thing compressed it until it looks like lego blocks took over the picture. Well, no more.
They say you only have one chance to make a first impression (and that holds true with Myrtle Beach condo and house listings as well). And with web surfers checking out the MLS system, you better believe that if you don't have good photos of your product, they will surf on quickly to check out the next one. The pictures are the first thing they see!
Lets break this lesson down into three sections. 1) The equipment itself. 2) How to take the picture. 3) How to resize them and compress them properly for the web.
Camera Equipment Makes the Difference with Tight House and Condo Photos
Notice the differnce in a 35mm zoom lense and a 28mm zoom lense? You can see alot more of the house with a wider angled lense and will definately help showcase the property better.
I'm not saying go out and buy a new camera (or maybe I am). And I am not saying you have to purchase a top-of-the-line Digital SLR. A point and shoot camera works just fine. HOWEVER, think about this. You are taking pictures of rooms, NOT landscapes. Maybe the room is empty. Maybe not. But you better believe that you are not taking pictures of mansions every day with large rooms.
Mainly, the one thing you want to take from this is to buy a camera with a WIDE ANGLE lens for real estate photos. Not all wide angle cameras are expensive. You can pic one up for $150 to $350. You will want to look at the mm. Most cameras have a 35mm to xx zoom range. 35mm is not wide enough for most real estate shots. You will want to shoot for one that has about a 28 mm. Just go to your local Best Buy, Circuit City, or any other camera shop to take a look.
How to take Real Estate Picture
We could spend at least a few pages talking about how to adjust your camera to take photos, but since I know you don't have the time, I just want to point out a few major concepts you should take away from this. 1) LIGHTING IS EVERYTHING WITH THESE POINT AND SHOOT CAMERAS. 2) YOUR FLASH IS ONLY GOOD FOR TIGHT PLACES.
Basically, open all the windows and take the pictures on a sunny day. Then try to turn your flash off and take the picture. Does it turn out? If you are more advanced, you can try and adjust your camera settings (some cameras even have settings JUST for indoor shots). And remember, hold your camera as still as possible. In low-light situations, the camera's shutter speed is slower, so if you wiggle your camera, you might wind up with a blurry shot. This is especially true for condos in Myrtle Beach, when many times, the only outside light source is a balcony.
How to Resize Your Shots Properly For the Web
When you get the pictures from your camara, most likely they are large photos and need to be resized. What you need to keep in mind image size, and resolution, two very different concepts. The MLS for the Myrtle Beach area does not accept photos that are larger than 640 pixels wide and 480 pixels. Is that resolution or is that image size? That be image size my friends. Resolution deals with how many pixels per inch there are. When you pull them off your camera, the are usually either 200 pixels per inch or 300 pixels per inch. You want to change the resolution of your photos to either 72 or 96 instead of 200 or 300. (FYI, this is also known as DPI.)
Also, you want to make sure you do not "compress" the images too much. That compression leads to that blocky effect you see here:
Notice the difference?
Now, the entire reason you are formatting these photos is for one thing. SMALL FILE SIZE. The smaller the file, the easier it is to upload and to view on the web. But you shouldn't go overboard. Compression too much will lead to the "Bad Compression" example above. If your file is under 100kb, then you are good. (Most should be about 40kb optimal.)
SO, I recommend getting Google Picasa. It's a free program that automatically organizes all your real estate photos in a very convenient way. You then select the pictures you want and go to "EXPORT". Then select RESIZE TO: 640. Then set your compression to about 60. (60-70 is a good number since it does not hinder much of the photo quality.)
AND THERE YOU HAVE IT! In a nutshell, all the information you need to make your Myrtle Beach real estate photos shine. Of course, I am open to any comments, questions and suggestions!