Jim Gross of Virtual Tour Club

Jim Gross

In today’s market where 87% or more home buyers start their home search online, a little thumbnail of the front of the property becomes the first reason buyers choose to look at more photos of your listing over the 20 other properties at the same price in the same area. Great interior photos in turn become the reason a buyer chooses to physically come look at your listing instead of the others. As pointed out by Vivian Toy, in her classic February, 2007 New York Times article, Making Every Pixel Count, “a picture can be worth more than a thousand words, much, much more.

Here are 10 essential principles that you can use to give your marketing photos maximum effectiveness: I would like to thank Larry Lohrman for the following article.

1. Keep in mind that the primary purpose of a real estate marketing photo is present the features of the property. Make sure that each photo visually supports this purpose.

2. Use a wide-angle lens to shoot interiors. Wide-angle lenses increase the feeling of space in interiors.

3. Remove clutter and stage interiors for best results. It’s a well known fact that staging homes pays off.

4. The primary exterior shot is THE most important photo. Spend extra time, money and effort to get a “knock-out” front photo because this is the photo that will be seen most and first by prospective home buyers.

5. Render interiors light and bright. Bright interiors are up-beat and make a more positive impression on the prospective buyer so you want light and bright photos.

6. Vertical lines (walls etc) must look perfectly straight. We live in a world where we unconsciously know that all walls are perfectly vertical.

7. Vertical and horizontal lines must be straight. Wide-angle lenses cause lines near the edges of photos to curve so special efforts and software must be used to remove distortion.

8. Don’t let bright windows distract. Unless special lighting or photo editing software is used interior windows will tend to look too bright so the view out the window is not visible.

9. Don’t let color casts distract. Strong color casts (typically a strong orange color) distract the viewer’s attention.

10. The way photos are presented online has a huge impact on the overall effectiveness of marketing a property. Photos have the most impact when presented large (800 x 600 pixels or larger) and in a smooth easily controllable slide show. Real estate sites typically do not present photos in the most effective way possible. One of the purposes of a virtual tour or slide show is maximize the impact of marketing photos.

Creating great interior photos will require:

1. A wide-angle lens that is typically not standard on off-the-shelf cameras. A wide-angle for this purpose is one that is between 16mm and 24mm.

2. Photo-editing software to straighten verticals and remove lens distortion. Great photos require adjustment after they come out of the camera.

3. Lighting equipment or special software to enhance the natural light.