When selling or letting a property, I cannot overstate the importance of getting the imagery right. As most buyers and renters spend hours scrolling through property portals before arranging viewings, first impressions are absolutely crucial!
So why then do so many people (and agents) get it SO wrong? Such is the volume of bad estate agency photos out there, that there are entire websites dedicated to mocking dodgy property pics (check out Terrible Estate Agency Photos).
I am yet to meet any estate agent who is also a fully qualified professional photographer, so be ready to do battle if they arrive at your door armed with a camera! And, be prepared to send them on their way if they don’t
agree to send out a professional photographer instead!
There are many elements that go into making great property photography – the weather, the skill and experience of the photographer, and the features of the house itself. They all go into making or breaking the shoot.
Aside from the photographer, there’s things YOU can do too, to avoid becoming an object of ridicule! Here is a list of what NOT to include in your marketing photos:
Grandpa, grandma or any other family member. Property photos that include people always look a bit creepy. It’s never okay, even if the person is sitting in the background or giving a friendly wave.
Boarded up windows and doors. If windows and doors are badly damaged or boarded up, replace them – or at the very least don’t photograph them.
Doll collections. Whenever we see lots of dolls in a room (and yes, I have seen this in property photos) I immediately think of Chucky from Child’s Play (he still gives me nightmares lol). Dolls, along with mannequins and skeletons, belong on horror film sets only.
Bathrooms covered in mould. Always give your home a good scrub before it goes on the market. People don’t want to view a property that comes with a health warning.
Outdoor items left indoors. Lawn mowers, quad bikes and trampolines all belong outside. If for some reason you keep them inside, understand that this is not normal. Remove them from the premises before taking marketing photographs.
Animals. All creatures great and small should be left out of property photos. They only serve as a distraction and make people wonder if the house smells.
Badly photoshopped images. Don’t be tempted to digitally add a dining table or a sofa to a photo of an unfurnished room. It never looks convincing; the furniture always looks like it is levitating ever so slightly off the floor. Other no-nos include adding sunsets or wildlife to images of the back garden.
Mirror images. When taking pictures of a room that has a mirror, a photographer can inadvertently capture their own reflection. This is too Alfred Hitchcock for our liking. Photographers should always position themselves carefully to avoid making a cameo appearance in the photo.
Intimate portraits of your lover/husband/wife. So, you’ve been to life drawing classes and are rather proud of that racy charcoal sketch you did of your beloved. We love your creativity but please keep such personal items out of sight.
Broken furniture piled high. People will be put off by the thought of having to fork out for a skip (or two) to remove your junk.
These are the most extreme examples of property photo fails, but the principle stands for all property marketing imagery. Make sure every room is clutter-free and clean and plan the shots.
So, ALWAYS get a professional to take the photographs for you. They’ll understand how to make the best use of light and to make rooms look spacious and airy.
There are lots of things you can do to increase the chances of achieving the best images of your house not only do it justice, but also as importantly to indicate the kind of lifestyle to which a buyer can aspire.
And, yes – I absolutely practice what I preach – at Helmores we ALWAYS use a professional photographer to get the best images.