The Importance of Real Estate Photography

According to Realtor.org, 92 percent of home buyers use the internet as part of their home search. Let’s face it: Buyers are looking for pictures – good pictures. Put simply, just as much as curb appeal is your client’s responsibility, web appeal is yours. 

PHOTOS ARE OVERWHELMINGLY VIEWED
FIRST IN REAL ESTATE LISTINGS.

With the online home-buying market being as competitive as it is, a Wall Street Journal study shows that “95 percent of online shoppers view the first photo – the one that shows the exterior of the home – for a total of 20 seconds.” This provides you a huge opportunity to pull people in your door for showings. During these 20 seconds, the human brain analyzes the image for a few aspects that helps the buyer determine if the listing is attractive to them or not:

Brightness: Buyers are attracted to bright and vibrant images. Dark and dull images will automatically coax them to move along to the next listing.
Disorienting lines: We all see houses in our day to day lives and have a well-developed mental model of how they are supposed to look. If an image is too different from this mental model – perhaps having bad verticals, horizontals, or perspective, it is not visually attractive and naturally causes our brain to be uncomfortable.
Composition: A well framed image is key to persuade your buyer that your listing is right for them. People intuitively recognize when a photo works and when it doesn’t. Cutting off rooftops, sides of the house, or even having a majority of the house hidden by a tree are just a few examples that will turn a potential buyer away.  
Distractions: Hoses left in the front yard, trash cans in the front driveway, miscellaneous garbage scattered in the lawn are just a few examples of things I’ve run into that I have moved out of the scene to create the perfect image. Anything that will take the buyers’ eyes away from your listing will turn them away.

THE CAMERA-PHONE DILEMMA

It is a common misconception that your smartphone camera is a great way to photograph your listings. Although it may seem like an efficient way to do business, it is counter-productive in the long run. The average iPhone camera’s focal length is between 29mm and 37mm. In order to produce an appealing exterior or interior image, a DSLR camera lens should have a 35mm equivalent focal length of between 14mm and 27mm. This provides the photographer a wide enough view to give the buyer a great perspective of the exterior or interior of the listing. Therefore, the camera lens on a smartphone just doesn’t cut it. 

IN CONCLUSION

Although having a professional photographer photograph your listings is not required, it is absolutely going above and beyond to provide the best possible experience for your client. It is also a great opportunity to increase your sales numbers. According to a 2013 Redfin study, homes with listing photos taken with DSLR cameras sell for $3,400 to $11,200 more relative to their list prices. Your main objective is to “make them dream.” Jaw-dropping photos do that.

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