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The Importance of Real Estate Photography – Tampa
Tampa has a very competitive real estate market, and the best chance you have of getting your property noticed lies in the pictures that prospective buyers see online. Hiring a Real Estate Photographer ensures that buyers are getting the best possible first impression of your real estate listing. Properly lit, high-resolution photos are the only type of pictures that should be used in a home marketing campaign.
With limited time and countless listings, prospective buyers will quickly move on if the photos don’t reflect well on a property. Using a Real Estate Photographer will ensure you are maximizing your efforts and showing your listing in the best light. Consider this: when you put a home on the market, you’re competing against lots of other properties. If those properties are highlighted with attractive, well-lit photos and yours isn’t, you’re going to have more trouble getting potential buyers in the door.
By using a real estate photographer you are giving yourself a competitive edge before the listing even goes active. With the assistance of a skilled real estate photographer the listing will rank higher on the MLS. The more attractive the property is in the photos and virtual home tour, the more likely you are to show the listing.
Imagine the photo shoots retailers and catalog companies do to showcase their products. Would they release a catalog with photos of stained living room furniture or with improper lighting? Of course not — and neither should a seller. A home is a product for sale, just like any other, and should be marketed as such. In the Tampa real estate market, a blue sky and green grass are an easy fix for your real estate photographer. Before listing your next property ask yourself the following question. Could this photo be the cover of Southern Living? If the answer isn’t YES, then call a professional real estate photographer to give you a leg up against the competition. Happy Selling!
Things to do before you shoot!
- Declutter!!! A busy home does not photograph well. Remove as much clutter as possible. This includes: knick-knacks on the selves/mantel, photo frames on the bed stand, remote controls. etc.
- Remove items that are too personal to appeal to the general public. Examples are: art work that may be offensive to some, the beat up quilt you’ve had since you were a kid, etc.
- Replace any burnt out light bulbs. It will make the photo shoot better and will show better when buyers come in.
- Park the car a few houses down.
- Hide trash cans and recycling bins.
- Mow the lawn the day before and blow off the driveway
- Remove everything else. Example: garden hoses, kids toys, movable basketball goal
Living Room and Family Rooms
- Remove news papers and magazines or arrange them neatly.
- Hide all remote controls
- Hide cable as much a possible
- Remove family photos. You may have the best looking family, but they don’t come with the house.
- If it doesn’t belong, it has to go
- Remove excessive appliances from the counter.
- Some appliances like a high end coffee maker or knife set are usually fine to keep. Just keep in mind that if it looks cluttered, it has to go.
- Remove everything from the refrigerator door. Magnets and notes will clutter the shot very quickly
- Remove utility rugs so you can see a part of floor (if it’s a nice floor)
- Tables are symmetrical, so make sure everything has been straightened.
- Setting the table with your best dinnerware adds a nice touch
- A proportional sized center piece looks good too.
- Beds should be neatly made.
- All clothing/shoes should be out of site.
- Remove clutter from nightstands. Note: a book and glasses on the nightstand can add a nice touch.
- Clear counter tops and remove all toiletries.
- Toilet lids should be closed
- Clean the mirrors
Pool and Backyard
- The pool needs to be clean and free of leaves
- Remove all pool floats/toys
- Patio/pool furniture should be straightened.
Declutter. Declutter. And then Declutter some more
Decluttering is perhaps the most important part in preparing a listing. Buyers need to be able to see themselves living there. That’s pretty difficult when the home owners stuff fills every bit of available space. Of course the house must be clean, but decluttering goes beyond that.
The idea is to make it easy for home buyers to envision themselves living here. Therefore, personal items must go. A few nicely framed family photos on the wall are usually okay. It’s artwork. We’re talking about the free standing small frames on the night stand, coffee table, book shelf, mantle and everywhere else. Bedding is sometimes an area where a personal touch will turn off some buyers. Consider replacing the cheetah print bed spread with something more neutral.
Sometimes there is just too much stuff in the house. A room that has too much furniture will never photograph well. If all you see in the photo is the furniture, the room will look small no matter how large it actually is. You may have to rent a storage unit. It’s worth it.
Here are a few items you may want to consider storing elsewhere:
- Gym equipment – Get the tread mill out of the office and put it in the garage.
- Bookshelves – Clean them up. Neatly organized books on the shelf looks great. Junk filling the shelf does not.
- Cables and cords – Hide them the best you can.
- House Plants – Get rid of any sickly or dying plants. Also, don’t have too many. Larger plants should be treated like furniture. They can take up too much space.
- Kitchen Counter Top – Remove all but a few appliances. A few high end appliances in a large kitchen usually look nice, but if in doubt, remove it.
- Nightstands – Put away all medicines, tissues, etc.
- Living Rooms – Removing an ottoman or extra seating will show more floor space, appearing larger. This is especially true for smaller living rooms.
- Floor Mats and Rugs – If they are functional, they must go! If they are decorative, it’s a judgment call, if it adds value.
In general, think about how a model home looks. Everything is perfect!
What is the best time of day?
Example: blown out windows.
Example: clear windows
If lighting is the most important thing in photography, than timing is second. You may have heard of the “Golden Hour.” That’s the hour before sunset when sunlight is at its most interesting and usually the softest. That only matters for half of the house.
The trick to getting an even exposure for interiors is balancing the light between inside and out. That’s to have about the same about of ambient light inside the room as the amount of light coming through the windows. You can achieve this in two methods.
- Use a very heavy flash to light the interior to a light level matching the window view. This is discussed in detail in another article.
- Wait for the light level in the window to match the interior ambient light level. This is the best way if you do not own external flashes.
To do this, you will need to make at least two photography trips to your listing.
- The first trip should be within an hour of sunrise. The sun rises in the east so the window on the west side of the property does not have direct sunlight in the mornings. That’s when you photography that side of the listing.
- The second trip should be about an hour before sunset. The sun sets in the west. Therefore the windows on the east side will not have direct sunlight.
Basically, photograph each room when the sun in on the other side of the property. This will give you much more even exposures therefore creating a more inviting image.