What is the first thing a buyer will look at when seeking homes on the Internet? The pictures. High-quality photography is essential to gain more eyes on the home, translating into more visits to the home.
There are only two options to taking photographs of a home for the purpose of listing: 1) Professional photography; 2) Realtor's Photography. Sure, a seller can take pictures themselves, but that is like bringing your car to the mechanic and changing the oil yourself. The Realtor is there to provide value, and if they cannot take high-quality pictures themselves (as a minimum), what else will they neglect during the sales process?
Your first alternative is to request that a Realtor hire a professional. If they cannot prove the efficacy of their photographs, or show why their photos are better, then it is in your best interest to have them pay for someone to do it. This could run the Realtor $100-$500 depending on the home. Make sure to determine this BEFORE you sign a contract with the listing agent.
During my years in this business, I have won listings numerous times because of my photography. As a Realtor, it is essential to use a high-quality camera, preferably a mid-to-high end Canon or Nikon ($500-$2000). It is also a MUST to use a wide-angle lens (not to be mistaken for a fish-eye lens). Finally, if you want to spend further, some lighting equipment might be a nice touch, but is not essential. A good flash would be sufficient to replace the stock flash on these cameras.
Once you have the equipment, experience is the next step. If you get enough listings, and take enough pictures, eventually you get into a groove that provides the highest quality one can expect.
The process of taking the pictures is the easy part. This is something any Realtor can and should do. A professional takes this a step further, and I believe ALL Realtors should also go further. The final step to taking pictures, is the touch-up process that brings those pictures to the next level.
Using a program such as Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Photoshop allows a Realtor to adjust the important aspects of the photos, to make them Internet ready.
NOTE: Adobe has become the Creative Cloud, meaning that there is no longer a physical Suite to purchase, but a monthly subscription for these services. If you want to use it, you might have to pay the monthly payments.
Once you have chosen the 20-30 photos you want to use for the listing, put them all in Photoshop, and get started with the necessary editing and alterations to the pictures. This is no tutorial for Photoshop, but you should determine how best to change settings such as exposure, brightness, contrast, saturation, and vibrancy. Get familiar with these adjustments.
You might also need to reduce the size of the photos. With a high-quality camera, the raw photos tend to be too big to load in some places on the Internet. Using the Resize functionality in Photoshop, or paint.net, you can easily reduce it to 50% of its size, making it small enough for most of the Internet.
With these tools and tips, getting the best photography is within reach. If you have further questions about these processes, or want more in-depth details, just let me know!
We (Joe and Chris Balestriere) are Realtors in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Our blog is meant to educate buyers and sellers and equip them with tools to get the most out of their Realtor, whether it is us or someone else. We focus on technology and how it enhances the work we do for our clients--we are not top CT Realtors by accident.