Property and real estate Photography
We have been asked on numerous occasions to take photographs and videography of properties. Mostly one and two bedroom flats.
This has been very successful for both ourselves and our clients based on their feedback.
As such we decided to put together a quick post detailing the benefits of using a photographer for property advertising, and also a quick overview of the steps we have to go through to produce the final result.
Why use a photographer for property advertising ?
Professional photographs help sell your property quicker ( usually for more money), simple as that. It attracts more buyers and renters as your property just stands out much more than your competition.
Here is a list of why it just makes sense
Decrease the number of days your property is on the market More days on the market costs you more money, within no income. By paying for a photographer you are winning in the long run. After all if you lose a months income from rental , this would more than cover the costs of a photographer.
Property will rent or sell for higher value. Another true fact , Visit any estate agent and ask them the impact good photographs make to the bottom line. However you need to carry out proper comparative market analysis to ensure you price your home correctly and competitively . Don't over anticipate what photographs will do for you.
The photographs are a reflection of the seller. Clients will judge you based on your marketing of your property. If its a sub standard effort to push your property into already saturated markets, then clients will feel that this may reflect on the type of landlord you would turn out to be. If your photos look great then that reflects on you . Good quality estate agents recommend that you employ a pro level photographer.
These are your private images that you can use anywhere. The photographs are not owned by the estate agent. They are yours. You can use on social media, or , if your estate agent isnt doing a good job in advertising, take them to another . This gives you fantastic freedom to enhance your market coverage.
You have to understand that real estate photography is not a liability expense, its an up front investment. After all, why would you try and sell your worth tens if not hundreds of thousands but spend nothing on advertising. Or worse, take photos with a phone as they will be "good enough". Complete false economy.
Adter all, you have no issue paying for lawyers to complete the paper work, or estate agents for advertising your property in their shop window or web site. Or you pay for electricians and heating engineers to certify your property. Then sit back and hope that clients will come knocking at your door. Why ? Because it is seen that having professional media is a costly and unnecessary overhead.
This doesn't have to be the case. You can start from as little as 95 pounds for a small property.
What is involved. ?
Unlike other forms of photography , properties pose various problems For example, when we do any work for clients , we tend to use multiple flash guns to ensure that every corner of a room iscorrectly lit. We need to take all shots with a tripod since we will be shooting at slow shutter speeds so the camera has to be as steady as possible. The camera is then wirelessly controlled to reduce the chance of any vibration from pressing the shutter.
Then, we use a light meter to make sure our exposures are perfect and level across all of the rooms. ( This also allows us to understand where the dark spots in the room are. ) .
Lens wise we tend to shoot with a 12mm lens ( wide angle to capture as much as we can. ) with a wide angle adaptor if necessary ( Some rooms can be tiny).
Each room will have multiple shots taken in ambient light ( natural lighting ), with exposures calculated for the interior light and then exposed to suit the light coming in through any of the windows.
This is compensated with the use of flash guns at stragtefic points around the property to take what is called a flambient shot. ( Nathan Cool does a nice video explaining what this is all about ) . Finally we take any shots around doors and windows to capture the external exposure. This is referred to as the window pull. The light coming in from the outside is a different light from that created by the rooms light bulbs.
When we edit the images we then merge these multiple images to produce one final image with the lighting completely balanced. No over nor under exposure. And the outside view clearly seen through the windows. No "blown out" shots, that we tend to see on many property web sites.
Enough ranting on about the technical aspect of what we do to get our shots. Lets look at a recent example shot that we took for a client. Here is an example of a small kitchen , and yes it was pretty small indeed. We were lucky to get a great amount of sun light streaming in from a small window. The sun streaks across the kitchen units is a great effect but poses the problem of various exposures.
We take multiple shots to capture the various exposure levels.
Now we layer all of these images, align them, remove chromatic abberation if present , then mask various exposure levels to produce the final image. Something like this.
There are still some areas at the ceiling level where there are shadows on the ceiling but we felt that this was a more natural looking image and was acceptable to show off the kitchen at its best. We tried having the ceiling complete white but it just didn't look right for the size of the room.
Weather is such an unpredictable friend to the photographer. Some days the sun is shining with not a cloud in the sky. Other days its over cast or raining.
Properties look better in the sun , of course they do. But, since we have no guarantee as to what the weather conditions will be when we turn up to a shoot, we can fall back on modifying photographs in post production to add some warmth, or even replace the sky. ( Thank you folks at Piximperfect , you are a great resource over the years ). Extra work of course but for a client, there isn't any point in advertising a property with a photograph of the rain pouring down .
Bracketed shots :
We always take a set of bracketed shots from the ambient shot. This provides a shot just under and one just over. Since these are in raw mode, it gives us a nice overall coverage for any eventuality of over exposed or under exposed areas.
We just feel that having the extra shots at the various exposure levels gives us the freedom to experiment during post production with the ambient levels.
Personally, I actually like to under expose slightly and fix in post production.
As with any shoot, there are always problems. From not enough space , to forgetting to adjust the white balance. No matter how many shoots we take, we still make a few mistakes. Perfectly natural since the clock is always ticking.
In terms of exposures , we tend to map a room into various sections and ensure we have shots to cover most if not all areas of importance . A client isn't interested in every single spot in a room. Just that the room is shown to its best. We always have to remember . Its not the photograph, its the subject within the photograph.
So the most important shots for us : Ambient with multiple brackets, Flambient shits in the darker areas and across low ceilings, window pull.
There you have it. Real estate ( Property ) Photography. There is more too it than meets the eye. But in terms of your advertising, the benefits out weigh the outlay.
Treat us like another trade that you would call when marketing your home, Electrician , Plumber, Heating engineer, painter, and finally , the photographer. You wont regret it.
If interested then contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.