How great photography can make your listings pop

A picture is worth 1,000 page views. That’s how the saying goes, right?

It should be no surprise to learn that still photographs remain the most-clicked links on REALTOR.ca, accounting for more than 150 million views in 2016.

Consumers who access these galleries on REALTOR.ca will, on average, view more than three listing pages per session and are twice as likely to contact a REALTOR®. Being able to take pictures is easier than ever with basically every smartphone, tablet and laptop having a lens attached to it, but creating a flattering image is something you may want to leave to the pros.

Professional photographers – specifically real estate photographers – spend thousands of dollars bolstering their camera inventory and invest countless hours perfecting their craft.

Stephen Duckworth has been a real estate photographer in the Niagara region for six years and estimates shooting about three to five properties a day.

“REALTORS® might appear more professional if they hire out because people think they should be concentrating on other things,” he says.

Duckworth spends about an hour at each property and takes care of things you might otherwise look over.

“The home needs to be ‘photo-op’ ready,” he says. “The majority of buyers want lots of pictures but they have to be high quality. I hear it all too often that people bypass a really good listing just because the photos are subpar.”

Allan Hall, a photographer from Regina, looks at real estate photography with a different angle.

“Architectural photography is about selling the feel of something and real estate photography is about selling the space. A good real estate photographer can combine those two elements, do it quickly and keep the costs down,” he says.

He adds, “The biggest cost to a REALTOR® can be taking their own photos. It takes time. How many calls could that REALTOR® have made in that hour? How many showings could they have done? If they miss out on one house per month, what’s that cost?”

Of course, if you have a high-quality camera (any digital SLR camera, preferably with a wide-angle lens) and consider yourself a bit of a shutterbug, here are a few general tips to help make your pictures pop:

  • Take pictures of your listing during the daytime. The more light, the better.
  • A properly-used flash is paramount. Avoid direct, pop-up flash, which can wash out a picture.
  • Remember a room’s lighting isn’t uniform. An external flash unit lets you selectively illuminate your shot.
  • Capture the main selling points of the house. Highlight that renovated kitchen or bathroom.
  • Make sure your shots are clean. Stage a room if you have to and remove unnecessary clutter.
  • Avoid any evidence of pets as that can deter potential buyers.
  • Establish the property. Offer consumers a feel of the property by taking shots from the curb and the backyard.
  • Wide-angle lenses can make a room look larger without having to do any extensive restoration. Be careful, though, as wide angle lenses also have a tendency to distort.
  • Don’t over-process your photos. Photoshop is useful but if your picture looks more like a painting, it can be off-putting.
  • Keep your photos organized. Think of the slideshow on REALTOR.ca like a virtual tour of the home.
  • One picture isn’t enough. REALTOR.ca can host unlimited photos in a gallery[1]. Make it a goal to max it out.
Map of Canada.
Saskatchewan leads all provinces with an average of 20 photos per listing, while Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador average about 12 photos per listing.

If you’ve mastered photography, why not up your game even more with new technology such as 360 cameras and virtual reality headsets to provide different, cutting-edge virtual experiences.

[1] The number of photos able to be uploaded varies per board/association.

Matt Day brings his experience as a nationally-recognized multimedia journalist to the Canadian Real Estate Association as a Communications Advisor. Matt provides professional writing, digital media and communications support to CREA and assists in developing engaging social media content. He is regularly featured in the CREA Café where he provides interesting and entertaining content for REALTORS® to enjoy. Matt is a professional photographer but has dreams of becoming a rock star. He also enjoys mountain biking, skiing, hiking, and using the Oxford comma.


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