#TuesdayTips - Taking great photos to sell your home

Posted 6 September 2016 by Ben Salisbury

With the rise of the internet, taking high quality photographs is vital in unlocking the key to sell your home. Savills photogrpahers provide some tips...

A few decades ago, pre-internet, marketing for a property consisted of a few pages of typed text describing the home with a printed (usually black and white) photograph on the front page.

How things have changed over the last 20 years. With the advent of the internet and digital picture technology the ability to present a series of glossy, colourful and high quality images of all rooms in your home as well as the garden and exterior is there for all to utilise.

Taking good pictures and presenting them to potential buyers will increase the chances of selling your home at a better price.

Changing the way property is presented

Printed advertising is still used through free sheet newspapers and show home brochures, but increasingly decisions on whether to buy a property are being made by viewing photos from a PC, laptop, smartphone or tablet. Viewers are not simply restricted to looking at one image either. A whole series of images of all parts of the home are now usually available to help a buyer make up their mind.

And in today’s increasingly fast-paced world with the hectic lifestyles many people have, we don’t always have the time to read large volumes of data. Instead we scan short descriptions accompanying pictures posted on websites or social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to help us make decisions, even ones as important as buying a new home.

Images are key

However, even through the new digital medium, scrolling through numerous, even short, text descriptions can be time consuming. Sellers must recognise what will make house hunters look further into the possibility of buying your home; the images.

Buyers are increasingly making decisions based on what they see rather than what they read, so the quality, range and style of imagery is increasingly important.

How to take a good photograph

Ideally, a homeowner will use a professional property photographer with professional-grade digital equipment but if that is not the case modern digital cameras give photographers the flexibility and control to deal with different lighting conditions and the images can then be polished using image processing packages such as Photoshop.

Using a super-wide angle lens gives a more life-like impression of what it is like to walk into your home. This is why it’s so important for property sellers to take time to prepare their home so that the images presented are the best they can be.

Try and make the pictures as bright as possible, that the picture captures the important elements of the room and illustrates the size of the property.

The quality of the photography is vital in helping an agent market the property and can help make or break a potential sale. Photos provide buyer's with their first impression and unlock new viewings, so making them as good as possible is important.

Top tips from Savills country property photographer Justin Paget

Keep those lights off. Shooting for Country Life magazine taught me that getting rid of artificial lighting allows the natural colours of interiors to shine through.

Let the room breathe. Move excess furniture out and try not to let anything block the flow through.

Be patient. Waiting a few extra days for the right weather can make a huge difference to the exterior photos, though it's worth adding that I always prefer shooting interiors on an overcast day.

From Savills London property photographer Nick Moyler:

Space in London, where rooms tend to be smaller, is often the main constraint, so don’t exacerbate the issue with clutter. Clear surfaces and clean lines are best. When it comes to books, bowls on coffee tables, and so on – less is more.

Rooms definitely look their best when not artificially lit and clean windows and fewer curtains or blinds covering the windows helps. Obviously, getting enough natural light is trickier in winter so it's essential to shoot at the right time of day. However, if you do decide to use artificial light, make sure there are no broken light bulbs as this can make the light uneven across the room.

London gardens also tend to be smaller and are often shaded by either their own house or neighbouring ones. Therefore photography needs to be arranged for the right time of day to ensure there is as much light hitting the garden as possible.

Vendors of larger country houses don’t need to stop at photographs: nowadays a drone can capture the whole property in a succinct video, allowing the owner to convey a lot of information far more quickly and efficiently. And a video is not just about selling the house: it’s also about selling a lifestyle and the wider area – something which photographs alone cannot achieve, no matter how well they are styled and lit.

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