Having quality real estate photos is the key to marketing any property and it is usually best left to the professionals. However, sometimes its necessary for you to take your own pictures. Some of those instances include when its a quick sale or foreclosure, its a total gut job or tear down, or when the spread on the property does not warrant you the luxury of hiring a professional (Listings under $200,000). Here are a few tips and tricks to make your listings look their best in photos!
Taking Better Pictures
For Smartphones and Point & Shoot Cameras
1. Staging - The first thing you should do is clean and stage the property. Get rid of all of the clutter and straighten the furniture. Add pops of color by using flowers, blankets, throw pillows, etc. Also, replace all burned out light bulbs and clean the windows. Make sure the floors are clean and vaccuumed,
2. The Right Time of Day - Once the property is staged, it is important to decide when you are going to photograph the property. Not only should you choose to shoot on clear, sunny days, you should also choose the right time of day to shoot. A good rule of thumb is if the house faces East, shoot in the morning and if it faces West, shoot in the afternoon. The reason being is that when the sun is in front of the house, you get blue skies to show up in your pictures. Otherwise, the sky will be washed out and will look white.
3. Plenty of Light - Once inside in the house, turn on all of the lights! Over head lights, lamps, everything! Get them on. Then make sure you open all window curtains and blinds. Rooms look much bigger when they are well lit with natural light. While you are turning everything on, make sure all of the ceiling fans are turned off. If they are on when you take your pictures, the blades will come out blurry.
4. Choose the best angle - It is usually a good idea to shoot from one corner of the room to the other. This will make the room look bigger in your photos. Also, avoid shooting toward windows. Shooting toward a window will do one of two things: it will either make the inside of the house look darker or it will make the outside of the window look washed out, neither of which make for good looking pictures.
For Digital SLR Cameras
When shooting with Digital SLR cameras, you should always follow the same guidelines as mentioned above, but also follow these rules as well.
1. White Balance - White balance is simply when you tell the camera what color in your frame is white. Having this properly set will ensure that the colors in your picture are true and accurate. The easiest way of ensuring this is to set the camera to Auto White Balance (AWB).
2. ISO - Sometimes, even when all the lights are on a curtains open, rooms can still look a little dark. That is when you can use the ISO function on your camera. For indoor shooting, keep your ISO between 200 and 800. You should be careful when raising your ISO because the higher the ISO, the more grainy your pictures will look. Only increase ISO as a last resort. For outdoor shooting, keep ISO below 200.
3. Aperture - The aperture controls how much light enters the camera through the camera lens and is measured by what is known as "f-stops" (f/). The lower the f-stop number, the more that light enters the camera. When shooting indoors, set the aperture between f/4 and f/9. When shooting outdoors, use f/22.
4. Shutter Speed - The shutter speed refers to how long the lens shutter remains open while taking a picture. The slower the shutter speed, the more light comes into the camera, but it also means that the camera takes longer to take the picture. The faster the shutter speed, the less light comes into the camera, but the fast the picture is taken. When shooting indoors, set the shutter speed between 1/10 - 1/50 of a second. For outdoor shooting, set it between 1/50 to 1/100 of a second.
5. Selecting a lens - One of the benefits of using a digital SLR camera is your ability to change out lenses in order to get different focal lengths. Lens focal lengths are measured in millimeters (mm) and the lower the number, the wider the lens angle, which means more of the subject can fit in the picture. Wide angle lenses are between 10mm and 24mm. Use wider angles like 10mm or 18mm for indoor shooting and use tighter angled lenses, like 18mm or 24mm, for outdoor shooting.
7. Focusing - Nothing is more frustrating than shooting all day only to find out that when you get back to the office that all of the pictures are out of focus. One way to ensure this doesn't happen is properly focus your camera. First, set to your camera to MANUAL FOCUS (MF). Next, zoom in all the way. Then, use the focus ring to bring the object that is farthest away into focus. Finally, zoom back out and you are ready to shoot! Of course, when in doubt about your focusing skills, you can always use AUTO FOCUS (AF).