One Bad Photograph

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

I spend a lot of time online looking at real estate photographs.  I’m a real estate agent; it’s my job.  But these days, I expect to see crap photographs on listings.  ISN’T THAT NUTS?  I EXPECT to see bad photos???  In the digital age???  Listing agents, you are supposed to represent your seller client, and the photos you post online represent YOUR expertise as an agent AND your customer service skills. Think about that for a minute, will you?  I’m saying there are a lot of slack agents out there.  And sellers, if the photos used to advertise your property are terrible, will you please fire that agent?  We excellent agents don’t need the bad press.  One bad photo can lose your buyer.  Yep, they’re going to find interest in the homes where the photos look GOOD.  Nobody wants to actually shop FOR a dingy, creepy looking house.  Well, maybe some do, but not most buyers.  Let’s just say that.

I am sharing this insight with you, although I cannot believe I need to:  One bad photograph will make your potential buyer click off of your listing!  My GOSH, agents, can you please take good photographs?!?  It’s EASY; at the very least you have an expensive camera on your PHONE WITH editing capability.  Or, here’s a novel idea: Why don’t you hire a photographer who CAN take good photos??  I have a good camera with a bounce flash attachment, but you don’t need that.  You just need to photograph at the right time of day and think about what you’re doing.  By the way I use both my Nikon camera and my smart phone when I photograph a listing.  

Listen, I’ve had to photograph homes where bright lighting is not a good thing….I know.  Sometimes tar from years of smoking has created streaks on walls that show up in bright light.  But in general, it’s the LIGHTING that can make the difference in someone clicking OFF, or sticking around to investigate your listing.  Remember, selling is largely psychological.  I studied marketing in college; I know this to be true.  Most importantly I have the experience to prove it is true.  It’s about lighting, color, description language, camera angle…you get the idea.  You want to put assets in a good light, not hide them in shadow.  Give it a second’s thought!  Try being creative with your advertising, rather than dark and dull.

Here’s another idea: Don’t put 10 pictures of the ‘new kitchen island’ in the listing.  One or two will do nicely.  These days, buyers want INSTANT gratification, and clicking through ten images of the same thing will annoy your potential buyer.  Annoying is not what you want to do.  And besides, you want these folks to be interested enough to tour the home IN PERSON.  There’s a novel idea!  Create interest, not boredom.

Look, I’ve photographed spaces that were tough to present in a good light.  Don’t be afraid to ask your seller to help you move the King Kong statue out of the picture for just a minute.  And I chuckle when I think of how many times my awesome fake green plant showed up in photos of various homes and various rooms over the years, just to give the room some life.  Hmmm, I wonder where that plant is. Anyway, help out if you can!  Make the spaces look fantastic enough to draw in buyers.  Yeah, sometimes the seller loves the neon orange carpet complemented by neon purple walls, and you just have to go with it.  But at least take a good picture of it with fantastic lighting.

Now…about editing.  Don’t photoshop in extra square footage, and for goodness sake stop using WIDE ANGLE LENSES to stretch the photo or using the equalizing feature to create a photo that looks like an acrylic painting!! That’s fake, and when buyers see ‘fake’….well, buh bye.   The leap from ‘shopping’ to ‘running away’ is fast and short.  I’m talking about editing the brightness, highlights, contrast.  THAT kind of editing.  And use the crop feature to LEVEL the shot, or crop out a bush you don’t need in the shot.  Be HONEST, but present your client’s home in the best light.  I’m trying to help you, here.  And if you get fired, I’m showing up.

Seller, check out your agent’s advertisements online.  You’re paying for good service; make sure you get it.  Oh, and uh, why not move the King Kong statue to storage?  Just saying.

I’m Brenda Briggs with Coldwell Banker Advantage.  Find me online and contact me to talk about your real estate questions.  I like to chat.  And I’ve been doing this a while; I know what I’m doing.


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