Published: 29/12/2018 By Tom BloomfieldRightmove believes the quality of a property’s photographs are the most important factor in its online advert and we could not agree more.
Remember that virtually all potential buyers decide whether to visit a property based on how its online representation appeals to them. Most are unlikely to read a description or look at a floorplan until they have been excited, or at least intrigued by the photos in the first instance. The photos are the dangled carrot.
Here are our thoughts on the two areas of property photography that matter the most: How to produce great photographs and How to use those photographs properly.
How to Produce Great Photographs.
Most people (estate agents included) have no idea how to take a great photograph or how to operate a Professional DSLR camera to its full potential. Just because somebody owns a Ferrari, it does not make them Michael Schumacher. That is why we believe the best way to produce great photos of a property is to hire a great professional property photographer.
The professional photographer we work with has photographed thousands of houses over recent years and has learned how to take brilliant photos that do a house justice. He can spot angles that the untrained eye would normally miss and he also has the time to experiment with multiple shots of the same room.
After a photoshoot has finished, he takes the time to edit the photos to make sure they are the best they can possibly be, a process that includes removing unnecessary glare.
Common photography mistakes which professionals rarely make include producing wonky or poorly lit photos, taking shots that make rooms look smaller than they are, trying to produce intriguing artsy photos without the necessary hardware or talent to execute them properly, or spoiling photos with overbearing watermarks at the centre.
(The photographer we choose to use is Gary Dod of Adrydog photography. His work is provided free of charge to every client we work for and you can find out more about him here)
How to Use Great Photographs Properly.
Once we have downloaded Gary's photos, we begin a process of deselection and ordering to make sure the house has the best representation possible. At Bloomfield Grey this process is always managed by an experienced agent who has visited the property, rather than an office administrator.
On a large property, deselecting can mean choosing only a third of the photos available, with the criteria for those that make the cut being more complex than merely which are the most aesthetically pleasing; we also take into account factors such photo accuracy and in some cases intrigue value (see above).
The photos that appear in the initial search results (see below) are the most important as these are the potential hook/carrot that will pull buyers through to view the full details. Generally speaking this means the first four photos are the most influential although the number of photos included in the search results can vary from one to four depending on whether a property has a premium listing (which it should always have in our view) and what type of device it is being viewed on.
Tradition suggests that the lead photo should be a shot of the front of the house but sometimes houses will perform better online if a rear, internal or elevated photo is used – although we always make sure a front photo is included somewhere on the details for reassurance.
When choosing the first four photos it is important to select those that highlight the four most appealing features of a property. They must include at least one internal and one external photo whilst mundane shots need to be excluded. Including two similar photos of the same room within the first four is wasteful.
Another mistake to be avoided is detrimental use of elevated photos. Elevated or drone photography is readily available if an agent is prepared to pay for it and it is often used on larger, more valuable houses. It can be used to great effect, showing more of the house than can be seen from ground level (see below), however but just because a property is large does not mean it looks good from above. In our view most properties still look better from the ground which is why the majority of elevated photos we commission are never published.
Lastly the photographs should be labelled on Rightmove with the room names so that they correspond to those on the floorplan. This is quick and easy to do but only a fraction of properties for sale on rightmove have been presented this way.