Property Brothers: Sell Your House with Photos
First impressions count. Since most homebuyers now start their house search online, quality photos can make your property stand out among the endless Internet slide shows, effectively boosting interest and walk-throughs.
For contractors, shots of past projects, whether posted online or presented in person, are often a key tool to win new clients.
Both contractors and homeowners should take “before” shots to document what a difference their improvements have made. This can really impress prospective clients/buyers. Here are some guidelines for taking pictures that will show off – and help sell – your home, or (for contractors) the quality of your work.
First, use a good camera. It doesn’t have to be super-expensive, but should be better than your old point-and-shoot or smartphone. A compact digital camera is fine, but make sure it has a wide-angle zoom, going down to at least 28 mm (many stop at 35 mm). Use a tripod, or brace the camera against something solid. This not only increases sharpness but also captures more detail using natural light. For most shots, keep the camera level; tilting it up or down can distort edges and objects, especially with a wide-angle lens (to avoid this, check vertical edges).
Pay special attention to the main exterior image – the “curb appeal” shot. Move cars out of sight, trim the lawn, and prune trees and shrubs to allow a clear view of the house. Photograph the front of the house when it’s evenly lit by daylight. Or capture the exterior around sunset, with the added glow of interior lights illuminating the windows. Try shooting the front of the house on an angle, or from a ladder, rather than the common straight-ahead approach.
Setting the Stage
You should stage your home or project before photographing it (see “The Art of Staging” in the March/April 2014 issue of HOSS). Generally, less is more. Remove clutter and personal possessions, such as family photos. Create breathing room on shelves and tabletops. You want to make the home neutral and airy enough for viewers to imagine themselves in it, but not sterile. Try to give each room a bit of flair. Add flashes of colour with flowers, bowls of lemons or apples, pillows, throws or area rugs.
Use natural lighting as much as possible. It adds warmth and appeal, as most people want a home with lots of natural light. Choose the best time of day to shoot each room (usually morning for east-facing rooms, afternoon for west-facing ones). Turn on lamps to supplement natural light. Once you have a good balance of natural and electric lighting, shoot with and without the flash; with multiple light sources, a flash can blend in and bring out details.
Room with a View
Many rooms are best shot on a diagonal, but try different angles and heights. The great thing about digital photography is that it costs nothing to take multiple shots, and you can see the results immediately. Ask yourself what buyers/clients would like to see. Be sure to highlight key features, such as high-end appliances or bath fixtures, distinctive lighting, a home theater, outdoor entertaining spaces, even an outstanding view.
Edit the photos down to the most appealing shots. You can use software to enhance them, just be sure the result still looks natural. If you want an extra degree of polish, hire a professional photographer for a few hundred dollars.
These tips will help, whether you’re behind the camera or judging someone else’s results. For both “homes for sale” and portfolio projects, attractive images can fuel buyer/client interest and enhance sales.
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