How We Do it
For ease of illustration, let us continue with the same properties here, but presented by two different photographers. You will see that even with a well finished and dressed property the results can be wildly variable. Starting with our photographer and then looking at a ‘point and shoot’ photographer of a standard all too common in the industry. This illustrates well the effect on the desirability of a property and the perceived quality of a property created by the quality of images produced by an agent. The simple question to answer is, which would you choose to view and why?
This photographer has illuminated the space with professional diffuser lights to maintain an equal distribution of light throughout the space, therefore allowing the colours to appear as they are in real life - warm and bright. This also means that the photograph can be exposed to pick up internal detail without suffering from a blanching effect from the external light sources (such as windows and skylights).
A quality wide angle lens and/or medium format camera has been used in order to keep the lines around the edges of the photograph from bending while still getting a large amount of the room in. The photographs have been well constructed, if not to get the absolute maximum into each picture, at least to get the most important elements of the room in the context of space and light. Care has been taken when thinking about framing - where the photograph ends and where objects appear within them.
Workmen have been asked to clear the space at the entrance the property although final works were ongoing at the time photographs were taken. The angle selected for the bedroom shot, not only maximises the appearance of space and light, but also hides the fact that, at this stage, the balcony was still in the final stages of construction with the associated materials lying about. Consequently, the houses look architectural, engineered to a very high standard and finished with an eye for detail and luxury.
In short, the photographer has applied common sense to the presentation of the property, and the time, care and professionalism to get the job done right. The results are that the photography adds to the hard work done by the owner in creating the space and makes the end product more appealing to would-be buyers. This is exactly what property photography should do, whether on a new development like this, an 8 bedroomed luxury house or in a more affordable one bedroom flat.
Photography has, in this instance helped the sales process along, meaning that, once these properties were advertised, the phones did not stop ringing for the week it took to sell the properties, all of which achieved over guide price; as should always be the case.
How Not To
Here we see quite a different story. The photographer here is not a professional but a junior employee, asked to ‘give it his best shot’ at taking photographs of the same three rooms, from the same angles as the professional, using a standard SLR camera used by many agents.
In the photographs produced, we see the white areas blanched losing all detail; workmen and materials in shot taking that brand new ‘finished’ feel away; a warping of the edges of the photographs due to a lower quality lens and set-up robbing the property of the feel of a well engineered space; a misrepresentation of the actual light and colour in these bright houses due to the absence of secondary light sources; poor framing reducing the architectural feel of the houses and areas so dark as to make the viewer question what they are looking at. What were we expecting? The photographer is not a professional, and if it was as easy as all that then all professional photographers would soon be out of a job.
This is true and the results are not terrible: the space still comes across as a nice new home. The gap in the appearance of quality and luxury, however can be the difference between there being 75 potential buyers, of whom 15 compete to secure the properties as was the case in this instance and, say 40 buyers; a total which may well exclude the most discerning of the 75, who, having seen the photographs, don’t believe that these homes offer the quality they seek, and who often are the very buyers who can afford to push past the asking price in order to secure the property they desire.
This is of course a hypothetical situation as we could not sell the houses twice using alternate photographers, but the ideas are based on decades of experience and thousands of homes sold. Excellent photography draws in the most interested parties, amongst whom we are more likely to find the eventual buyers and through such numbers, a natural sense of competition ensues, ensuring the agent can do their job negotiating and the seller can get the best possible price for their property in the shortest time.
To Wrap Up
Add some snaps that present space, light, luxury, texture and detail like below and you really can maximise the number of viewings right from the offset and nail that all important competition. While these are new properties that may seem easier to photograph and present, it is probably all the more important present and photograph period and pre-owned property professionally where the competition for buyer’ attention is even fiercer.