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 Value of Photos, Part 1
Source: Sid Cameron
Sat, Dec 19th, 2009 5:28 am

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When it comes to marketing your home for sale, undoubtedly the single most important thing you can have is great photography because good photos are the basis for all your home's marketing and advertising be it your flyers, postcards or print ads, your internet postings, heck even most real estate videos are nothing but slideshows of your home’s photos.

So if you’re thinking about moving and want your home to say.. SOLD as quickly as pos, then this three part series on understanding how to make sure you're house gets great real estate photography is probably the most important videos you can watch before you hire a real estate agent.

Now the biggest difference between photographing a house that's for sale and taking the kind of pictures you may snap in every day life is that those everyday photos are generally pictures of objects- be it a person or a group or even a thing such as this statue. As a result, most consumer grade cameras - like this one are designed to take photos of objects.

But with real estate photography, what you want to show is the space or environment things sit in or are surrounded by so a potential buyer can get a feel for what it's like to live in your home. And to do that, your real estate agent needs a special kind of camera that can do what's called WIDE ANGLE photography which basically squeezes the photo to give you more of the surroundings.

And to get a wide angle camera, generally your real estate agent will have had to purchase a professional grade camera with detachable lens or a specialty camera.

But really, how important is this to you? Well, to give you an idea, I took a series of real estate photos using two camera. The first is this consumer grade digital camera- like most real estate agents use. It has a typical zoom lens that's basically the same as the cameras you would buy today at a consumer electronics store. The second is a professional grade camera that supports detachable lens and on it we're using a wide angle lens and an upgraded detachable flash.

Now, I'm not going to bore you with technical details, but if you are into cameras this is a 10-22 millimeter wide angle lens. HOWEVER the only thing that's important are the end results.

With my two cameras, I took identical photos of this 1920's built home in Webster Groves, Missouri. When you first walk into the home, there's a foyer to greet guests... This room is complete with original hardwood floors, but with my back against the wall, you would never know it because a regular camera won't allow us to get anything in the photo besides the front door and the steps.

But with a wide angle lens, taken from the exact same spot, we can see more than the front door and steps- we see the original hardwood floors, the window that makes the room bright and airy, and even the period piece light fixture that hangs from the ceiling that gives this home charm and character.

Another picture of the same foyer, only taken from the front door, shows us how a regular camera is again designed to take photos of OBJECTS- because all we can see is one object- this piece of furniture! But with the wide angle camera from the exact same spot, our photo again shows us the details of the room- the wood flooring, custom lighting, even the original millwork around the doorway that leads you into the kitchen.

Inside the kitchen, if you try to take a photo of the room with a regular camera, you mostly just see the floor. You don't even see enough of the cabinets to get a feel for what the room actually looks like. But with a wide angle camera, again, taken from the same spot, you get to see the whole room, the cabinets, sink, stove, even the can lighting in the ceiling about the doorway and pendant lights above the sink. We get the same dramatic effect in the living room where a regular camera basically shows us nothing but a chair and end table but the wide angle camera shows us the whole space so potential buyers have a feel for what it's like to actually be in the room.

Wide angle photography is also especially important in smaller spaces, like bedrooms, because there's usually not enough room to back far enough away from the bed to get much else in the photo, which makes the room look small. But with a wide angle camera we can get a feel for the actual space because we see the floor, the ceiling, two walls and two windows.

We see the same effect with bathroom photos where a wide angle camera gives us a much better idea of what the space is really like. You can even see a difference outside where a photo taken from the exact same spot with a wide angle lens gives you a much better idea of how much room you actually have to enjoy.

Now, if you're thinking about selling your home here's a statistic you need to know. In a 2008 National Association of REALTORS survey, 32% of home buyers reported that they first found the home they purchased ON THE INTERNET. That means 1/3 of all buyers are determining which houses they go look at based purely on internet photos.

That's why it's important to make sure your home's features, like this sunroom, have photos that really help show it off on the internet. And when you consider the fact that internet buyers may be looking through photos of literally, hundreds of homes online to try and narrow it down to just a handful of homes to look at in person, you should be able to get an idea of how mission critical great real estate photos are when you go to sell your home.

Now the question I usually get asked right about now, is why don't ALL real estate agents use professional wide angle cameras or hire a professional to take their photos for them? Well the answer to that is money.

As professional camera equipment is generaly sold in pieces real estate agents who invest in great equipment can easily spend a few thousand dollars on their camera. Unfortunately not all real estate agents are full time professionals or willing to invest this much money for their clients.

Unfortunately who suffers when real estate agents cut corners like this is YOU the home seller because less people looking at your home means longer times on the market and ultimately less money when you do sell. Which is why it's important that you select your real estate agent carefully.

But that's all the time we have for this episode. If you would like to know more about real estate photography, watch more episodes of Selling Your Home or learn how you can contact us at The St Louis Agent Team, please visit www.stlagent.com.

If you're thinking of selling your home in St Louis, or would like help finding an agent anywhere in the U.S., contact our listing specialist Kimberly Cameron at (314) 598-4040.

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