The importance of photography, and how to do it better

First impressions are as important as ever – possibly even more so – but a prospective buyer’s first impression of a home is no longer its curb appeal, it’s its photos.

In a report from the National Association of Realtors titled ‘Real estate in a digital age’, figures showed that 44 per cent of buyers looked for property listings online as their first step, while only six per cent physically went to homes and neighbourhoods.

Given how easy it is to scroll through dozens or even hundreds of property listings, it’s naïve to assume anybody is going to take the time to attend an open home if they aren’t immediately interested after looking at photos.

It’s simply too easy to scroll past an average listing.

Matthew Lyndon, a property photographer with Open2View, says the main difference between good and bad photography is the ability to stop people scrolling.

“Obviously the internet is the first port of call, and everyone’s so busy, so you need to capture their attention,” says Lyndon.

“If you don’t, they skip through and start looking at the next property.”

The key to immediately seizing that attention is what photographers call a ‘hero shot’.

“The hero shot is that one that really grabs their attention,” says Lyndon.

“You need one to draw people in – to get that wow factor.”

Despite popular belief, it’s not just about using the widest angle lens you can find. Lyndon says there should be more focus on clean shots that accentuate the home’s positive points.

“It’s about framing the image around what’s there,” he says.

“To shoot interiors you often do need to use a wide-angle lens, but in the wrong hands, a wide-angle lens can look a lot worse.”

To get those clean shots though, you need your seller to cooperate. Even a fantastic photographer can’t make a home look good if it’s filled with mess and clutter.

Cleaning up for the photo might even involve moving furniture around, or removing it from the space altogether. The point is to show off the property, and any furniture that distracts or detracts from that goal shouldn’t be included.

“We put a lot of time into looking around, moving things, putting stuff away – whatever we can do to get a nice shot,” says Lyndon.

“You want a set of nice, clean, clutter-free images that are colour corrected properly, and that offer a true reflection of the property.”

The sad truth is that there’s no shortcut to great photography, and despite being a real estate photographer for the better part of two decades, Lyndon says he’s still learning every day.

If you don’t have the time to learn and practise quality photography, it may be well worth it to hire professionals.

The difference quality photography makes is most apparent when Lyndon discusses with his clients why they use Open2View for their property photos.

“It’s about them looking professional, and planning a marketing campaign for the homeowner,” says Lyndon.

“They say good photography, video, etc., gets them more inquiries, it gets them more phone calls, they get more people turning up, and ultimately they sell more properties.”