Good morning AR,
Something that came up recently in conversation here at Chaparral Realty Group, and has also come up numerous times while teaching my Digital Photography Composition class to agents:
HOW MANY PHOTOS SHOULD I TAKE / POST TO MLS?
On one hand many brokers post to MLS with around four to six photos - while sometimes you see agents posting rediculous amounts of photos including mutliple angles from each room and even pictures taken from the crawlspace in the foundation.
Thus the conversation sparks: how many photos would be consider enough without being overkill.
Well think of it this way. Lets get hypothetical for a moment: Suppose you were planning on renting a home, and had searched for your new place online. You find a few websites featuring available rentals that have numerous details to help you decide if this rental is right for you.
If you were to see a listed rental with 30 pictures, pictures so detailed that you felt like you had already seen the home in person: would you take the extra step to see the property? Chances are, if you felt like you saw enough from the photos - you could make your decision based simply on the photos alone. But this is a VERY BAD thing. Why? Well for one major reason, photos often have a habit of making things look less spacious than they really are. Often times bad lighting, bag angles, and even horrible colors can cause a home to look less than it's best in photos.
The basic concept here, is that if you give them too many photos - they'll often find a reason NOT to come and view the home. "I like the house, but the living room looks really small, and the neighbors yard is atrocious. Lets look at some other homes."
SO, WHATS A GOOD BROKER TO DO?
Well, first off - we must determine how many photos would be enough to draw someone in to schedule a showing. In my photography class I teach Brokers how to take photos in such a way that they leave some mystery, or in essence they give the viewer a reason to want to view the home.
One way of doing this is to take photos that capture the essence of a room, but leave subtle hints about adjoining rooms. For example, take a look at this photo I took:
Notice how there are areas of the kitchen you cannot see? This makes the viewer want to see more.
Here's another example:
Notice how you see sneak peaks of the adjoining rooms, but never a full photo of any room? This again, is designed to create curiosity in the viewer. This causes the comment, "Looks great, I'd love to see the rest of the home"
One good rule to use when deciding how many photos are enough: Take at least one photo from each room that would be considered an asset to a home. This means, leave out that tiny 1/2 bathroom, and instead focus on the largest bathroom. Do we really need a photo featuring the cluttered garage of the current homeowner? Simply mentioning a 2 car garage is enough.
A second good rule is to consider your angles. See how this house photo features the best lines and architecture, while leaving out portions of the home?
This is designed to make the home look great, but also to cause the viewer to want to see the portions left out of the photo. Also when taking photos of the exterior of a home, angles help to accentuate the three dimensional quality of the home. With this home, if we shot it straight on - the viewer wouldn't see the depth of the covered porch and entry. This angle allows one to get a sense of how nice the front porch really is.
An old and true addage comes to mind. Accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.
So to sum up: Take better pictures, and less of them. Leave out elements, in order to generate curiosity. Use angles to highlight three dimensional aspects. Leave out cluttered areas or tiny rooms.
ONE FINAL NOTE:
What about those owners who insist on taking their own photos? Well, be proactive - and offer to come and assist them in their photography. In some cases these owners are hobbyist photographers, or simply wish to assist you by thinking "since I live here, I know best which areas should be highlighted."
Mention that you can assist them to identify the best angles and rooms to feature. If you encounter any resistance to your ideas, just let them know that you have a lot of experience with what works and what doesn't - and that you just want to help them get the best possible photos in order to quickly sell their home. And also, offer some tips to them that you've seen in this article. Often times an owner just needs to see a visual representation of the concepts you are trying to get accross. Show them this article :)
(all photos shown are copyright of Matt Jameson, and were taken with a Cannon Powershot A570 with no special lenses or lighting)
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