Photography • Hire a Professional
Did you know your eyeballs are freaking amazing?
I haven’t used every camera on earth, but I’ve used a lot of great ones, and, honestly, my eyeballs are better. Just think about the last time you tried to take a selfie with a sunset in the background. Let me guess — your face was too dark or the sunset was completely blown out. If you’ve ever spent any significant amount of time in the outdoors, you know that our eyeballs don’t have the same struggle. We have no problem properly exposing both bright and shaded spaces at the same time. This is just one thing to consider when taking Real Estate photography — EXPOSURE.
Exposure is 1 out of 100 things to consider, so hopefully I’ve overwhelmed you at this point and you’re ready to heed my advice: hire a professional. I know wedding and family portrait photographers are expensive, but most real estate photographers are pretty cheap. I know because I am one. Maybe it’s because real estate agents are better negotiators than newly engaged women and their mothers who have been dreaming about the big day for years (for reference, I used to be a professional wedding videographer). Real estate photography should only set you back $200-$500 depending on how big your home is and the area in which you live. The photos of your home are the first and sometimes most important part of selling your home. They can make your house look better or worse than it is. These photos are going to get people to take the next step of scheduling an appointment to come check out your home — or not. So, hire a professional.
Here are my tips for hiring a professional:
Take a look at their work. Ask to see all the photos from a couple of homes they’ve shot. Do the colors look natural? Do the walls look square or distorted? Do the rooms look spacious? Would you want to buy the house based on the photos they took? Can you see the shadows from their flash? If there is a view, were they able to capture it from out of the windows? If there isn’t a view, can you see unattractive things out the window?
Make sure to let your photographer know of any specific aspects of your home that you want to make sure are or are not included. Most photographers are on autopilot, so you need to let them know about that sweet bidet you have in the master bathroom if you want a shot of it.
Ask your photographer how they will deliver the finished photos. Let them know you will need the photos formatted for the web (usually around 1000 pixels on the longest edge) as well as formatted for print to go on the amazing flyer you’re going to create (usually around 3000 pixels at the longest edge). Don’t worry your pretty head — we have a post coming next month about making that flyer, and we have a sweet-ass template for you.
BE READY. Your photographer is there to take pictures. I’ve shown up to properties in the past where I literally had to help the homeowner move bags of manure to get them out of the shot. I’ve swept clumps of hair behind a picture frame. I’ve fished dead mice out of pools. I’ve moved dirty laundry. And yes, I did charge extra for these services. This may seem obvious but people, CLEAN YOUR DANG HOUSE! Post on that coming soon too, but be ready for the photographer and don't be gross. Get the cat and the trash cans and the dog beds and the empty fish tank out of the photos. Declutter! Make your house look bigger by removing stuff from the rooms. Pile it all in your garage if you need to, but seriously, be ready for the photographer. Have a hole in the drywall? Fix it. Trust me, the photographer doesn’t want to be in charge of picking up or cleaning your house. Most of the time they are just going to shoot it the way it is, which is going to give you bad photos. A good rule of thumb is to think about Chip and Joanna coming over for a visit. Would you be embarrassed for them to see your home? If so, deal with the crap you need to.
If you are a diehard DIYer who’s not convinced and you still want to do the photos on your own? Awesome. You weirdos look for my next post on taking your own real estate photos with your iPhone. Have questions? Drop a comment below and I’ll get to them.