The "Hero" Shot
There is a trend I noticed when looking through some listings the other day: lack-lustre exterior shots! And I am actually talking about listings where the agents "get it" and obviously (sometimes more...often less obviously...) hired a "professional" to photograph their listing.
I can tell you, as a photographer, sometimes we get caught up in things that are important to us, the things that we find challenging, or things that we think we do better than others. And I noticed that by and large, even properties with decent photos of the interior spaces have... well, sub par exteriors.
I am NOT even talking about TWILIGHT shots for your listing - although, looking through listings I can't think of a better way to stand out above the crowd! It seems that almost no one does these, and I don't know why. You're trying to get people to look at your listing, and nothing combines the qualities of "eye catching" with "inviting" and "welcoming" like a beautiful twilight. But I digress.
Lets forget about twilights for a minute - they are an additional cost, they require an extensive skill set, and are more time consuming. But lets just talk about the standard real estate photo shoot. It looks to me like most exterior shots are shot almost as an after thought, and edited much like it too.
No real creative composition. No understanding of how the human eye views images. No respect for perspective (that's a whole other series of blogs in and of itself). Just an "oh yeah, we need a front of the house!" shot.
It is beyond me why this happens as a front shot of the house is usually the first one shown, and I know that many MLS services in the USA and Canada at least, REQUIRE that the first shot be of the front of the home.
People! You are simply NOT getting your money's worth if that shot is not done well. This is your elevator pitch, this is your one chance for people to want to see more. That's why many real estate photographers call them "the hero shot". Its the single most important image supplied to you because quite often its the one that determines if anyone looks at the rest.
Let me wrap up by offering up some pointers:
I guess this post is addressed to the real estate photographer as much as to their client, the agent: have the decency not to charge people for a blow off job on the single most important shot of the set. And realtors, know what can be done by an actual professional, as opposed to a guy with a camera who pushes a button so you don't have to.
Real estate photography is actually quite difficult to do well: you have to deliver numerous views, you can't be on site very long, and you have to deliver them quickly! You have to be a competent architectural photographer, but also have the mindset of a commercial photographer. Oh and did I mention you have to do it QUICKLY? Its not easy. Hire a real pro. I promise you will see the difference. And so will your client's. The current ones, and the ones who's business you are yet to earn. Make it right, make it count!
Especially in your "hero shot"!
Lets Talk About The Weather
No, seriously - lets! There are so many misconceptions about the weather and photography, I thought I would tackle at least one of them (or maybe a few... we shall see!).
I recently heard this little chestnut:
"I only want my listings photographed on sunny days because they will look brighter."
OK. First of all, that might just sum up why you NEED to hire a professional photographer.
Sunny weather does not show up on film (or in a digital camera) the way the human mind interprets what the human eye sees. Sunny days mean one thing: really bright light and really deep shadows.
A pro will find a way to photograph a property inside and out on a sunny day and make it look great - that's why you hire us - but it is not only not required, but (dirty little photographer secret coming up!) its really not preferable.
Cloudy, overcast days are the best - the clouds work like a giant soft box. You know, those big square things you see at fashion shoots, pointed at the models with flashes inside them? Those are called soft boxes. Why? Because they make the light "soft" - meaning, shadows fall off gently and gradually (softly) rather than showing a harsh demarcation between highlights and shadows. If you want to see what I mean, just have a look at your own shadow on the gound - on a bright sunny day it will be a dark sharp edged shape. On a cloudy day you will barely see it and what you do see will be soft edged, almost etherial.
Cloud cover is mother nature's soft box. Sure, grey dreary skies don't look very perky or inviting - but that's why your professional real estate photographer knows how to either manipulate or replace them with beautiful blue skies, with white fluffy clouds.
And don't even get me started on the interiors - on sunny days, the light piles in through the window in a gleaming, blinding shaft - everything else is a cave or oceanic trench of shadow, murky and dark.
Again - a pro will know how to handle this with lighting and proper exposure, but it will look no better than if photographed on an overcast day.
That's a little insight into how photos are made, and that with proper technique, anything can be overcome - furthermore - what seems to be the better answer... quite often isn't. That is what professional photographers are for, we figure it out for you, and deliver consistent results every time.
But let's cut to the chase - you, a real estate agent - don't often have the luxury of waiting for the perfect weather, the perfect light. A pro will make sure that your pictures look every bit as good if shot on a sunny day, as they would on an overcast one. And they will probably sweat less (figuratively and literally) if the sun is hidden behind clouds!
Don't hesitate to drop me a line if you would like to learn more photography secrets, just chat or book a shoot. Look forward to hearing from you!
TwoSixPix philosophies, tips and tricks, and just a little peek into who I am behind the camera.