Real Estate Photography

Most people don’t think about it, but Real Estate photography is a science all it’s own. For the most part outside pictures are a snap. You can walk back and forth or zoom in and out until the house is composed within the picture. Of course you need to deal with shadows and in the winter, white snow will throw off the color balance. No problem. A computer program like GIMP can correct for the color imbalance. During the summer bright sunny days cast dark shadows that need to be corrected.

Outside pictures have issues, indoor pictures is where the challenges really show up. Bright light through windows can throw off the camera meter. Corners can cast shadows if lighting is not properly arranged. Depending on the camera, the program may have issues with natural wood tones. All of those issues can be corrected with a good computer program. The real challenge in real estate photography shows up in small houses and small rooms.

When you look at listings on the Internet, you can instantly tell the difference between pictures taken with a good camera and a cell phone. Some cell phones have put a lot of research and engineering into phone cameras to the point, it may be difficult to tell the difference between pictures taken with a professional level camera and some of the top quality cell phones on the market today. Top quality cell phones work fine in most rooms, but when it gets to small bedrooms and bathrooms, they show their restrictions.

Researchers specializing in camera lenses have recognized the need for extra wide lenses required in the real estate photography industry. The age old problem was, extra wide angles caused distortion. Straight lines in walls and ceilings would appear curved in pictures. Somehow engineers have been able to overcome that undesired effect. There is still a form of distortion, but for the most part bending has been eliminated. The latest series of lenses used in real estate photography give the impression of wall and ceiling lines extending into infinity like a 3D perspective drawing. There always seems to be a draw back. Using that draw back to your advantage is where the science comes in.

Some computer programs for photography are designed to reduce distortion and do a rather fine job. The goal is to produce a picture as close to what the human eye actually sees. Which is rather impossible. But we can come close and in some cases make rooms look better in pictures than in real life.

Do great pictures sell a house faster and for more money? Some claim they do. Many real estate agents ignore the requirement for quality pictures due to the cost involved. Every listing will eventually sell. But after how many price reductions? Some houses do sell quicker with quality pictures. It all depends on the market. In a seller’s market when new listings get 3-4 people inside to view the property within the first week, pictures may not be a major issue. But in a buyer’s market when buyers can take their time and have a choice of 3-4 houses that fit their price range and need, pictures can make a world of difference. At least the difference between a written offer and serious buyers clicking on the next listing on their laptop or phone. Eventually sellers will depend on quality pictures to sell their homes. It is a matter of being ready when the need arises. Improvements in photography are coming along at an alarming rate. By the time an armature catches up, the market could change.

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