Make Your Photos Shine!

Posted by Jeff Aughey on Monday, June 4th, 2007 at 10:45am.

There are many choices for home buyers right now. The market isn't as easy for sellers as it was at this time last year. An agent should provide homeowners with all the best skills to present, showcase and sell their home. There is no crime in not possessing all the skills. However, if the agent doesn't have them, they should find someone to provide what you need. For instance, using a website to promote your property is essential. Over 80% of potential buyers use the Internet during their search process. If your agent isn't putting your home on the web immediately, you are losing potential buyers. You need to consider how your home is represented online. If your agent isn't a skilled photographer, they should hire a qualified photographer to represent your home in the best possible light. I saw a home listed online over the weekend which, should have been grounds immediate for dismissal of the agent! The photos were so dark, so unattractive and unappealing that they were damaging the seller's chances for a sale. An agent is supposed to improve the presentation of the property. This agent made the property look worse by electing to take these unflattering photos -- and place them online. When an agent takes photos of your house, look for these three common mistakes:
  • Taking a photo from the wrong angle, or one which highlights flaws or features that should be downplayed.
  • Poorly lighted interiors which feature dark corners, windows that are too brightly represented, and other lighting errors which make the property look more like a tiny cave than a well-proportioned home.
  • Using the wrong white balance so that all the photos end up with a "blue" or "yellow-orange" cast rather than true color representation.
Think it doesn't really matter? Below, I used the kitchen from one of my current listings to take "poor" photos to illustrate the importance of the photos representing a property online.
Look at this image with poor lighting, dark corners, a less-than-optimal angle and poor color balance: Bad angle, poor photo quality on kitchen representation The angle of the photo (and the quality of it) makes the kitchen appear tiny, dark and unappealing. Compare that to this image of the same kitchen from a different angle, although the photo still has severe quality issues: Poor quality photo of kitchen, but taken from correct angle The kitchen still appears too dark, but the change in the angle expands the space and makes the kitchen more appealing. And this image is taken from the correct angle, with proper color balance and lighting: The proper photo of this kitchen for online marketing This is now a kitchen that would appeal to a potential buyer. The angle demonstrates the best attributes of the kitchen and the lighting and color-balance makes it light, bright and alluring -- even to the most picky cook in the family.
I've learned how to create quality photos because it's my hobby, but if I need a professional for any other reason when listing a property, I hire one. I get passionate about service and I have to wonder about the agent who used the ugly photos. If they aren't diligent about presenting the seller's home well online, what other "details" of service are slipping past them? How good could their service really be? Poorly representing your home online will reduce your number of showings. (Potential buyers will just skip past your online listing.) The fewer showings your home has, the longer your property will remain on the market. The longer your home is listed for sale, the lower the actual price will be (statistically speaking). So... Poor photos can actually degrade the value of your home and the final sales price. Note: Agents, like everyone else, are human. Anyone can make a mistake. I recommend that when your home is placed online, that you take a moment to review the facts, the listing and the photos. Always make sure you are happy with the way your home appears to potential buyers!

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