IRES Agent Tips

8 Best Practices for Real Estate Photography

Missing Real Estate Photos
Missing real estate photos?

1. Great Listings Have… Photos!
Once price and location of a real estate listing are determined, the photo becomes the most important piece of information to potential buyers (and many agents, too). What does the property look like?

Both agents and online home buyers seek photos of the property before truly considering picking up the phone for a showing. Unless what you are selling is top-secret, add a photo. Missing photos = missing buyers.

Vertical Orientation Real Estate Photography
Dramatic vertical photo shows off windows

2. Great Photos Have Horizontal Orientation
Most MLS sites display your property in a horizontal format. Unless you have a specific need for a vertical photo (such as one specific, ornate doorway or an area that needs vertical orientation to increase the “wow” factor), avoid uploading photos with vertical orientation as general rule.

Aspect Ratio Real Estate
Real Estate Photos Look Best with 4:3 Aspect Ratio

3. Great Photos Have Consistent Aspect Ratio & Size
Photos are generally best seen and translated with a 4:3 aspect ratio. This means widescreen photos (16:9), vertical,(2:3) landscape panoramas (4:1) and cropped photos may not translate their best through MLS reports and syndication. Photos may look stretched, cropped or replace precious photo space with white backgrounds.

Tip: Most modern “point and shoot” and DSLR cameras will allow you to adjust your aspect ratio. If you don’t know how to set your camera’s aspect ratio, try “Googling” the name and model of your camera with the words “change pixel aspect ratio” to find the answer.

Copyrighted Real Estate Photos
Avoid Recycling Photos

4. Great Photos Are Not Recycled
Resurrected photos from a previous listing (with double copyright information and poor photo quality) are distracting to the viewer, and may be illegal to use. If the photo looks blurry, has large text / prior copyright information, toss it. Bad photos show poorly both online and socially. Consider the drive before re-posting a photo. Or, consider having a local take a photo and send it to you if you are out of area.

Flash photo bomb
Don’t photobomb your listings!

5. Great Photos Don’t Include You
Are you in the photo? Before snapping off a photograph of your listing, look around the room for TVs, computers, reflective surfaces, mirror and shadows. Then, adjust your angle accordingly to focus on the room instead of your camera’s flash, your reflection in the mirror, or an awkward shadow in the lawn.

Also, be sure to preview your photographs before loading them into the MLS. Viewing your photos at full size can help you find any oddities that you may not want syndicated to a public audience.

Real Estate Photos with Pets
Unless the pets come with the house, focus on the house.

6. Great Photos Don’t Include Pets, Residents, Neighbors, Etc.
If you are pet lover, you may enjoy a photo with Fluffy curled up on the sofa, or Fido on the rug in front of the fireplace. But, your potential buyer may have allergies or assume the property also smells like Fido or Fluffy, costing you a showing. Additionally, potential buyers may form opinions of the homeowner or family – this includes family photographs on walls or the mantle. The more neutral, the better when it comes to interior photos.

Real Estate Photo Focus on Real Estate
Focus on the room, not the items in the room.

7. Great Photos Focus on the Room
Not the Items Within the Room

Turn off the TVs, computers and other digital products before snapping a picture. Lit screens, fancy artwork or focus on vases / sculpture draw eyes to objects, not rooms. Unless you are selling airtime during the game on TV, vases, sculpture or artwork, put the focus back on the room you are photographing, rather than the items that are in the room. (Exceptions: show items included in the sale, or change your marketing strategy to lifestyle selling.)

Real Estate Photo Embellishments
Say no to filters & embellishments

8. Great Photos Have No Frills
Before you practice your hand at Photoshop or Instagram, be sure to save off all of your photos without any extra enhancements. Embellishments used on your marketing materials should stay on your marketing materials, not online. Consider that the simple photos work best for your property, across the board. Don’t add borders, vignettes, drop shadows, embossing, or color alteration. These embellishments may look great with your marketing package, but when they’re used online, in reports or through syndication to other sites, they prove to be more distracting and take away from your listed property.

Now that you know the best practices, learn how to take better real estate photos.

Real Estate Photography Series:

Real Estate Photography 101
8 Best Practices for Real EState Photography
How to Take Better Real Estate Photos
How to Market Your Real Estate Photos
Photo Tools for on-the-go Agents