Real estate photography mistakes to avoid

What is the true benefit of professional quality listing photographs? It might seem quite obvious but the true numbers revealed in a 2018 RISMedia article is actually quite eye-opening:

  • Homes with high-quality photography sell 32 percent faster.
  • Homes with more photos sell faster, too. A home with one photo spends an average 70 days on the market, but a home with 20 photos spends 32 days on the market.
  • For homes in the $200,000 to $1 million range, those that include high-quality photography in their listings sell for $3,000-$11,000 more.
With that in mind, we take a look at how you can improve your listing photography this year.

The correct equipment

Your smartphone might have all the latest tech but it is not meant to take real estate photos you intend to use for marketing. Put away your smartphone and invest in a good quality camera. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive one - an entry-level camera will do just fine.

There are certain must-have items you need to photograph a property:

  • Tripod – Hand-holding your camera with interior photography could end up in blurred shots. Arm yourself with a tripod and a remote shutter release to eliminate the risk of camera shake when taking a shot.
  • Flash – Get yourself at least one good-quality flash, as your DSLR’s pop-up flash simply won’t cut it. When using your flash, take a look at the photo and look out for flash shadow - the shadow behind a ceiling fan or shadow caused by a piece of furniture. Move around and see where you can get the room at its best angle without the shadow if that is not possible consider taking the photo without a flash at a different time of day with more natural light.

Tell a story

The Entegral Base CRM allows you to organise your photos in a specific order - use this to your benefit when loading your listing onto the dashboard.

Image Credit : Happenings Captured

Open your listing with a beautiful exterior shot of the house, the second photo could be the entrance hall, third a living room, fourth the kitchen and so forth. What you are doing is creating a story and also following the natural open house flow. Going from kitchen to garage to master bedroom disorients the viewer and breaks up the flow between rooms.

Also, if you have multiple homes or a guest apartment on the property, caption them accordingly and group the photos together for each separate home.

Most buyers first look through pictures pretty quickly to rule out the duds, and only when they see something they like do they slow down and really check out the shots.

The lowdown and dirty

We understand photographs of a bathroom is hard to do - some have weird layouts and lines that need more than one shot to completely capture but why only show the toilet, unless it is a guest bathroom don’t do it! And if you are - make sure the seat is down.

This photo doesn't tell us anything about the bathroom except that it has a phone for some reason | Image via

Bathrooms are intimate areas and no one wants to know that the current owners like to use the same toothpaste as they do. Clean it up, declutter - and by decluttering, we mean put away everything. The only thing you should see is the interior, clean towels and maybe a beautiful bottle of hand wash and hand lotion. Nothing else.

Image Credit: Happenings Captured

Bathroom shots should be crisp, clean and clear and not leave you wondering when last the shower was cleaned.

Personality is great, but not for the photos

A property in Magill South Australia, expected to fetch around $250,000  | Image via

People come in all shapes and sizes and so does their hobbies but do we really need to know they collect porcelain dolls in order to sell a home?

Image Credit: Happenings Captured

Declutter the home of collections, overly personal decor and anything that will overpower the photos. You are not selling the people, that would be illegal, you are selling the property so make sure you are focussing on its best points by making it look its best!

Christmas in July

Sometimes a property is on the market for some time and if potential buyers browse the photos and see a Christmas tree in the living room but it is the middle of July, they are going to wonder why the property has been on the market for so long.

Update your listing photos where applicable if a property has been on the market for a while. If it was winter when you first signed the property and now it is summer, new exterior photos of a lush garden could be the change your listing needs.

Too little...what is the catch?

For home owners in the very high price bracket - we are talking very very high - privacy is a big deal and they don’t want their entire property shown online. But even then only having two photos on your website is not ideal.

In those cases having two exterior photos, and a few of the common areas inside is best. For the rest of your listings having too little photos might make it seem that you are hiding something.

Take enough photos of the exterior and interior to give viewers a complete idea of what the property looks like.

And while we are on luxury real estate photos - don’t present listings with a price tag in the millions with photos that look like an amateur took them on a smartphone! You are hurting your chances of selling the property and you are hurting your business.

Real talk with home owners

We know, your photo ready clean is not exactly what the home owner considers clean but as a real estate agent, you are going to need to sit down with your clients and have that real talk with them.

Image Credit: Happenings Captured
We suggest that you recommend a cleaning service - you can even network with the owner of the service for a special rate for your clients. They can come in the day before the shoot and clean the property from head to toe to ensure everything is clean.

You can even employ a cleaner to come with you on the day to clean up anything that might have gotten dirty in the time before the shoot.

Using professional photographers

No one understands time is money quite like a real estate agent that has to-do lists longer than the N1 and schedules filled with meetings, show properties and working on the pile of daily admin. Therefore, using a professional to take marketing photos at a set-time knowing that each shot will showcase the house at its best just makes business sense.

Each photograph used from professional photographer, Happenings Captured who works in the Midrand, Centurion and surrounding areas, in this article is an example of just what a big impact excellent photos can make on a listing.

We also understand that not everyone can use a professional for each and every listing, but using a professional for select listings is already a step in the right direction. You can also build a relationship with a photographer, help them network with your clients who often want to family shoots, first-day of school or matric farewells which all adds up to a reputation as a stand-out real estate agent.

Eye-catching photographs shared on social media is also bound to drive up not only traffic to your website but also interest in a property - it is a win-win situation

It is all in the details and if you want the best you are going to have to invest time and effort into your real estate photos.

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