What makes a real estate virtual tour stand out among the crowd? The one thing that none of the big virtual tour companies are talking about – the pictures! In the recording industry we say that it is hard to destroy a great album performance with bad mixing. Likewise, you can put all kinds of “band aids” like reverb and digital delay on a bad performance and, at best make it sound better. It will never sound GREAT. In other words, it is better to get it right… from the start.
You may have thought this blog would go into all the high tech virtual tour services like, high definition, brochures, branded and non-branded versions, virtual tour styles like 360, panoramic, video or montage. Actually none of that really matters if you shot your camera into a blinding window loaded with glare. The picture will be dark… except for the window, which will be clipped with white. So first treat the pictures. Follow these steps for better real estate pictures.
1. Can you afford NOT to hire a pro real estate photographer for this listing? If you answered yes… read on.
2. Plan to stage the property room by room and check for glare from the windows. Don’t shoot into bright windows. Shoot away from them for more balanced colors. If there is some huge ocean or mountain just outside the window then at least go shoot it at sunset when it is not so bright.
3. Use a wide angle lens or stand back as far as you can in the room to get most of the room in the shot.
4. Turn all the lights on throughout the house and use intimate lighting such as candles wherever you can.
5. Plan to spend a couple of hours with your pictures in a post production software like: Picasa, Gimp, Adobe Photoshop Elements or Lightroom to fix the pictures. Most professionals spend an hour in post production for every hour they shoot – the pros do it, so should you.
6. Straighten the image, color balance it, brighten, add detail and a little contrast.
Once you have done these steps you are ready to list the pictures on the MLS and make a tour.
Virtual Tour Club has produced a 30 minute real estate training webinar that teaches each of these points plus several others.