How Should You Prepare Your Property for Professional Photographs When You are Selling

How Should You Prepare Your Property for Professional Photographs When You are Selling

We believe that the most important element of your property marketing materials is the photography: the photos have to grab people, to make them want to read your full property advert and to arrange to see your property in the flesh. However, the subject matter can make a photograph and, to that extent, the way that the property is presented for the photographs is hugely important. So how do you prepare your property to allow the photographer to get the very best results?

Why Do Photographs Matter so Much?

So, you’ve decided to put your property on the market, chosen your estate agent and are now just a couple of steps away from getting your house on the market. It’s now time for the estate agent to prepare your marketing materials. We believe that the single most important item in this process is the creation of great quality, professional-standard photographs. The old cliche that, ‘a picture speaks a thousand words’, is well-used for a reason!

Your images have the potential to create a lasting first impression: whether that’s on a web portal, a printed property schedule or in the window of your estate agent. It’s important therefore that you have the best possible images. The same room can look completely different based simply on the type and quality of the shot taken.

Professional photographers use a number of techniques to ensure that the images they create will present your property in the best way. For instance, our photographers use professional grade equipment and can use wide angle lenses to take in a much larger view of the room than a normal camera lens. The shot they get equates more to what the human brain will register when it scans a room and creates a mental picture of the room.

They will also consider the best angle to take pictures from, based on available natural light and the features within the room. Our photographers use their professional expertise, as well as several years of experience and a dispassionate eye, to select the view that is most likely to appeal to a buyer.

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So now you know how important professional images are, what can you do to ensure that the images are the best they can be?

Preparation

The camera can only photograph what is in front of it, so a bit of preparation is necessary to ensure that your property looks its very best!

There are a number of things you can do to present your property in the best light so others can see the potential that you saw when you decided to make it your new home.

For example:

1. Furniture placement. Consider where the photos may be taken from. Photographs are normally taken from the door entering the room and from a crouching position. If a sofa or bed, for example, is positioned just inside the door it will appear very large in the foreground of the photograph. Moving the sofa, coffee table and other furniture away from the door will help to create an impression of space.

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2. Light. Open curtains and blinds to maximise natural light.

3. Cleaning and dusting. Cast a critical eye over the space and attend to any areas that need a little help, such as cleaning windows or reflective surfaces. Ensure also that beds are made.

4. Declutter. Less is definitely more in photography as it allows potential buyers to concentrate on the room itself and to imagine it as their home. Multiple shampoo bottles in the bathroom, items that sit on work surfaces or multiple pictures on fireplaces can prevent a photograph of your room from looking its best. Also beware also of other everyday items that you no longer see whilst you live in a property: bins, items stored under beds or down the sides of wardrobes and pet-related items such as litter trays all jump-out in property photos.

5. ‘Staging’ or ‘dressing’ the property. It can be beneficial to add little details here and there, such as fresh flowers or a bowl of fruit on a surface. It’s possible to declutter too much and to make the property look un-lived in. The key is to remove the items that are unattractive but necessary for everyday living (such as the bin in the corner or the box of Kleenex on the bedside table) and to replace them with something more attractive (like a vase or ornament).

6. Remember to look outside. Take a look outside and imagine how it would look to a stranger. Do you need to remove any bins, bikes or unneccessary items from view? Does the grass need to be cut or the weeding need to be done? Can the car or white van be moved away from the front of the house so that the photographer can get a clear shot of the exterior?

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7. Use your car or your hallway. People are often moving because they have outgrown their property: cots, cribs, kids toys, pet accessories and the paraphernalia of two adults living in a space that was once only lived in by one person are common occurrences! So, if you can’t declutter permanently for photos, move everything into the car or the hallway temporarily. The photographer can then get a clear shot of the rooms and, whilst they take measurements or sketch the floorplan, you can get everything out of the hallway so that they can photograph that last!

After you have done this, you can then hand the property over to the professionals to do their bit, confident in knowing that you have given them the very best subject-matter to photograph!

I'm Robert Carroll, Managing Director of MOV8 Real Estate, Estate Agents and Solicitors. MOV8 is an innovative and forward-thinking estate agency and solicitor firm with its Head Office in Edinburgh, UK. It is one of the fastest growing firms in the east of Scotland. I see first-hand every day what is actually happening in the property market and am regularly quoted in the Scottish Press in property stories. Through this blog I aim to give an honest, fresh and sometimes light hearted take on what is happening in the Scottish property market for anyone who is interested in that kind of thing...

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