Are you guilty? Photo Crimes

There are many sites dedicated to Bad MLS photos for a reason… and lately some appearing in our fair Berkshire MLS are prompting calls to the Board Office, discussions about professionalism and pleas from fellow Realtors to help raise the bar.  Are you guilty of some of these photo crimes?  It’s not to late to make a change!

Simple Fixes:

  • If it takes two seconds to move the laundry basket out of the way, or to clear off the kitchen table, do it – this is the one tool that will “sell” the property… this is not the time to be lazy.  This might also mean a conversation with the homeowners about “staging” (sometimes called making the bed or doing the dishes before we take pictures).  Both your time and your reputation are too precious to waste on this first impression.
  • List the room name in the photo descriptions instead of a number or letter. When your fellow Realtors and potential buyers are looking at the photos, they are trying to mentally envision the layout.. help them out by offering a clear idea of what they are looking at.. “oh, this is the 1st floor bedroom!” (while we’re at it… if the property is more than one level, please check if it has a first floor bedroom, and list the rooms and level for each.  It’s so helpful in creating that mental picture and especially helpful for Realtors looking for specific property types.
  • Make sure your photo is a high enough quality that it “gets big” on the screen.  A tiny thumbnail picture is almost as bad as no photo.
  • Take several – the photos are supposed to tell the story of the house.  Do you know what everyone thinks when they see one photo?  That the rest of the house is a horrible wreck!  You’re hiding something, right?  Wrong!
  • Turn on the lights.  You can edit photos to make them brighter, but just open the blinds and turn on the lights… it creates a good place to start from to create a clear photo.  There are photos in the MLS that are so dark you can hardly see the outer walls.  We understand there isn’t always electricity to the house, but if there is… use it!
  • Think about what you are trying to capture.  Standing in the doorway of each room and taking a picture might be the best spot… but it might only capture the corner of the room.  Try taking from different angles.
  • No people in the picture… including the owner in the next room over that you can see through the doorway or your reflection in the bathroom mirror.
  • Outside pictures are great, just don’t get too close to be able to see into windows.  You want to convey the look of the exterior, not look like a peeping tom.
  • Stand still.  Blurry photos are incredibly unprofessional.  And we have a lot of blurry photos in the MLS!
  • Take lots and lots of photos and pick the best.  A digital camera’s best feature is the delete button!
  • Bathrooms shot? Put the toilet seat down.
  • Whatever you do, if you can’t manage to get out of the car to take the photo (which you’re urged to do) please don’t let the glass reflection or sideview mirror get in the frame. Realtor “drive-bys” are embarrassing to all
  • What do you do if the house really is a horrible wreck?   Well, you’ll need to have a conversation with your seller, but there is nothing wrong with acknowledging the place is a fixer-upper, priced accordingly (hopefully) and share photos so that the potential buyers can see the scope of the project.
  • Turn off TV’s, shoo delightful animals from the room (not everyone sees a cute little kitty, they see a house that will make them sneeze), turn off all special effects from your camera (fish eye is not a good look for a living room) and just try to capture what every buyer will see in real life.

Good luck!

Phone tip… while you should use a good megapixel camera for outstanding photos, many REALTORS are using their phone camera to take listing shots.  First, make sure your camera is a good one, make sure your resolution is set to the highest setting possible and remember that most cameras have a tap to focus feature.  If you tap on the screen, you’ll see that the focus and lighting changes with what the camera eye is set to make priority.  It helps flood the space with extra light if too dark. or darkens spaces that read too light.  Try it!  It also helps to focus on the most important part of the room