A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words....

Real Estate Agent with EXIT Realty- Massachusetts Short Sales & Residential Sales

I'm amazed at some of the photographs I see in our MLS.  I went to school for photography and worked in the industry for many years.  I thought I'd share a few tips on photographing the outside of a house.  The following are samples pulled from our MLS last year for a lecture I did.  Yes these were the lead photos on listings... they are examples of what not to do.

With so many people looking at houses online, you do not want to scare the buyers away with your photos.   Outfocus, Improper exposure, camera not level, houses cut off, showing udesirable elements.... These houses didn't have a chance!!

Yes there are better camera's for real estate than others, but it really doesn't make a difference what camera you use if you don't take advantage of their full potential.  Here are some basic tip to photographing a house:

  1. Level the camera and make sure the house looks level in the photograph
  2. Crop out unwanted items from the photograph...The first photo shows mostly road.  It gives the viewer the sense that the house is on a busy road.  Theres no reason the agent couldnt have gotten closer and cropped out most of the road and the houses to either side.
  3. Try to only get the subject house in the photo(not always possible)
  4. Make sure your photo is in focus
  5. Make sure your photo is properly exposed
  6. Show the entire house
  7. Stop the car before you take the photo (thats a joke but sometimes you have to wonder)
  8. Always try to photograph the house with full sunlight on the front and blue sky in the back.  Preferably you take a shot from the front either slightly to the left or right.  You want the side of the house bing about a quarter of the shot and preferrably in shadow. (gives depth to the house) Avoid shooting straight on.

One of my hard fast rules is number 8.  I keep going back until I can acheive that shot.  Its not always possible but at least try.  Theres a couple of reasons why its important.  First the architects spend a lot of time giving the house shadow lines to give depth and create interest.  You need full sun to take advantage of the design.  Secondly, your eye always follows contrast.  When your on a page of photos the human eye will naturally go to the photo with the most contrast.



This was a stand alone condo in the same complex.  The first photo was from a listing agent that was on the market the same time I was.  The second one was mine.  I sold mine for 15k more and in half the time.  I believe the quality of the photos had a lot to do with it.



Same house.  The first shot was from the listing agent prior to me.  The second shot was mine after the property expired and I picked up the listing.  Shot one looks like a dull gray day and you notice the empty lot next door.  I had buyers tell me they by passed this listing the first time but they took a second look with the new photography of the house.  I sold this home in 30 days after it expired previously.

Other Examples




Houses photographed in full sunlight are cheery they create a happy feeling.  Avoild the dull grey days and pay attention to the details.  Hope this helps.  If there is more interest I will do more on photographing real estate.  Good Luck!!

Photos of Listing 1- Property Website

Photos of Listing 2- Property Website


Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Christopher Johnston 11/17/2008 02:51 AM
  2. Christopher Johnston 11/17/2008 02:54 AM
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Tim Monciref - Austin, TX
Over 2,000 homes sold…..

Just remember the other agent is likely to be making an income.  It is pretty motivating to see stuff like that.  Saw one last week that did not look much different in Danville, CA and the home was over $1.5mm. 

Presentation is everything.........

Nov 11, 2008 05:17 AM #1
John Walters
Frank Rubi Real Estate - Slidell, LA
Licensed in Louisiana

I have a listing that the sun never comes into the front.  All of the pictures are in the shade in the front.

Nov 11, 2008 05:27 AM #2
Kevin Vitali
EXIT Realty- Massachusetts Short Sales & Residential Sales - Tewksbury, MA
Helping Massachusetts Home Buyers and Home Sellers

Unfortunately thats a tough one.  It does happen that a house can be positioned so you cant photograph it in full sun.  Thats when I put it on photoshop and do some work.

     Before                                                          After

Nov 11, 2008 05:40 AM #3
Connie Goodrich
Keller Williams Realty - McKinney, TX
CRS ABR (McKinney Realtor)Texas

You hit on one of my pet peeves, poor photography.  In today's market, buyers shop on-line and review listings and make selections.  How do they select...most of the time its photos.  Another pet peeve is when a lazy Realtor does not upload photos on a home.  I love your work and your background shows and is of great benefit to those you work with! 

Nov 11, 2008 05:44 AM #4
Deborah LeCavalier
Royal LePage Kelowna - Kelowna, BC

Great advice and interesting points!  Thanks...

Nov 11, 2008 03:59 PM #5
Janna Scharf
Keller Williams Realty Coeur d'Alene - Coeur d'Alene, ID
Coeur d'Alene Idaho Real Estate Expert

I have the same pet peeve, and a file of bad MLS photos.  I LOVE the bright blue skies in my photos, and usually can only get that vivid blue first thing in the morning.  LOVE the bright blue in yours, looks like I could have taken them!

Nov 11, 2008 05:06 PM #6
Kevin Vitali
EXIT Realty- Massachusetts Short Sales & Residential Sales - Tewksbury, MA
Helping Massachusetts Home Buyers and Home Sellers

Coeur-  Brings up a good point.  The best time to photograph a house is earlier in the morning or later in the day.   The light is a little softer and warmer at thos times.  Also the sun is lower and creates more dramatic shadows.  Remember architects design roof lines and eaves and details as visual interest by creating shadows.  Thanks for the response.

Nov 11, 2008 10:28 PM #7
Benjamin Brown
Cornerstone - Logan, UT

Thank you most agents need a simple lesson in photo taking.

Nov 23, 2008 02:26 PM #8
Chris & Karen Highland
eXp Realty - Frederick, MD
Integrity, Experience, Enthusiasm!

I think its an important testimonial that you sold the house for more, and I agree, good pictures are so important.  With 90-some % of buyers going to the internet first, they're going to gravitate towards listings with lots of good pictures and a good visual tour.

Feb 12, 2009 02:20 AM #9
Julio Valentin Jr.
EXIT Group One- bilingual spanish and english - Boston, MA
Spanish and English Speaking Agent from Lowell to Boston MA

Great examples, will have to think about doing better.

May 26, 2009 03:01 AM #10
Beth Lester
Beth Lester Designs - Torrance, CA
Home Staging & Interior Decorating

Very helpful.  As a stager, I need to try taking exterior pictures when I first arrive and then again later in the day. 

May 28, 2010 05:37 PM #11
Randy DeLaMare
Realtypath LLC - Salt Lake City, UT
Helping friends Realize their Real Estate Dreams

Great post. I am amazed at some of the pictures I see on MLS. At times I think it would almost be better to omit the picture than post a bad one.

May 29, 2010 05:00 PM #12
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Helping Massachusetts Home Buyers and Home Sellers
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