How to take the perfect photos for your property listing

Great photos can make all the difference when advertising a property for sale online. So don’t snap haphazardly away with your camera phone – read these tips first.

As today’s advertisers are well aware, a great photo registers an instant visual impression that can have the buyer wanting a product from the very first glance.

And images are just as powerful when it comes to advertising property online. Indeed, many buyers can feel certain they want to buy somewhere before they even visit the location if the photos are strong enough.

And the big advantage of a photo shot over a video clip is you can more easily dictate every detail of what your buyer sees. You can create the best possible impression with just a handful of photos and increase the number of enquiries your listing attracts.

So here are six tips to help you make the very most of your property from a visual perspective.

Work with the light 

Your premises will look best in natural light, on a bright, sunny day rather than in cloudy weather, and usually in summer rather than winter. Even interior shots look best with plenty of daylight.

But if you want light to really be your ally, you’ll have to put in some work too.

Manipulating light means being aware of how shadows fall on your building during the day. That could mean arranging to shoot different aspects of your property at different times of day, according to when they look their best.

And any artist will tell you that early morning light is not the same as midday light, which is not the same as late afternoon light… You get the picture!

Find the most suitable angle

Take time to capture the ‘face’ of your property – in other words, the particular angle which presents it to best effect.

Just like human subjects have their best side, certain aspects and features of your building will be more striking and appealing than others. In reality, even captured by a novice photographer, the best angle will still often create a better creative photo than a technically perfect picture from a poor angle.

If in doubt, take lots of photos from different perspectives – you can always delete the ones you don’t want to use, but you can’t select and upload the great images you never took in the first place. 

Use a tripod 

It’s difficult to produce professional quality images with handheld cameras and phones – unless you use a tripod. Keeping your camera stable, a tripod is a cheap way to ‘upgrade’ your camera and avoid dark, blurry images.

These three-legged stands help photographers shoot at longer/slower shutter speeds and thus harness natural light to produce clearer, sharper images.

Stage your shots

Think like an art director and storyteller.

Most ‘natural looking’ commercial photos are actually painstakingly prepared shots, while truly natural photos of commercial premises can look sloppy. Think parked cars, signage and peripheral personal property catching unwanted visual attention.

Your best bet is to conduct a trial run and take a few natural views you may want to use. Then work out how you could enhance those images you want, and lose whatever ruins the effect by tidying, staging and rerunning the same interior or exterior scenes until you’re happy with the result. 

Think interior perspectives

From a technical point of view, you can make the most of your interior spaces by removing unwanted clutter and furniture, shooting from a doorway, and reading up on aperture and field depth.

If you’re thinking of buying a camera for the job, larger sensors are more critical than resolution in megapixels. A decent sensor will offer a wider field of view to capture more interior detail, as well as offering better low-light performance and improved image quality.

A wide angle lens is also a very worthwhile purchase, which will, again, help to emphasise interior space and depth. 

Maintain balance and continuity

Professionals try to shoot everything on the same day to ensure as much continuity as possible across one set of photos. This includes everything from weather and light conditions to any people, goods or equipment you might want to feature, how your camera gear and lighting has been set up, and much more.

Though it is obviously possible to replicate some of these things on another occasion, any pro photographer will tell you how hard it can be to maintain control of multiple variables when attempting to repeat a scene. 

As regards the range of shots you upload, you should carefully plan the features you want to capture to appeal to a prospective buyer. This might include a mix of exterior and interior shots, plus close-up work and longer-range views.

And remember too that modern software packages can offer quite sophisticated photo processing and editing features fairly inexpensively. This would allow you, for instance, to crop images for a better effect or enhance colours.

Most of these embellishments are also non-destructive, which means you can experiment with various approaches while leaving the original images untouched, saving only the versions you plan to keep. 


Melanie Luff

About the author

Melanie Luff is our in-house editor. She also writes for all titles in the Dynamis stable including, and as well as other global industry publications.


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