Real Estate Listing Photo Taking Tips - Exterior Photographs


Bad Photo of Home

Bad Photo of Home

ALL of us have seen this photo that is low resolution, highly compressed under exposed with the house on the hill looking like it is a pyramid because the photo was taken with the wrong settings and at a bad angle! I am here to give you some tips on creating photos that will help sell your properties…well at least make them look better and stand out more to your potential buyers!

Here are common problems and the solutions:

Low Resolution photo - a blurry or pixelated photo where you can see the actual square pixels or the photo is blurry from trying to enlarge a smaller photo using Interpolation. You don’t have to know what interpolation is you just have to know how to fix it!

SOLUTION - My teachers always preached “Start with the best original!” Meaning take photos on the highest setting you need for your output (web, print, billboard, flyer, etc), because this saves space and allows you to work with lower file sizes which in turn allows for quicker downloads and uploads. If you don’t know if you are going to make a large photo, but you might, just shoot on your highest setting. Most cameras now days are higher than 6 Megapixels.

The house looks like a pyramid! - This has to do with a combination of lens distortion and angle.

SOLUTION - Try to be level with the house when you take a photo. Many times I have to stand on my truck to get the angle needed. Basically you want the camera level (imagine it sitting on your counter). If the house looks like it is pinched or bulging out, it is most likely a lens distortion issue. Lens distortion usually happens when you zoom your lens all the way out. This can be fixed by using an image program like Adobe Photoshop with it’s “lens correction” filter. If you don’t have access to Photoshop, a practical solution is to back up and zoom in which will minimize the distortion effects.

Underexposed Photo (Really Dark) - Caused by not enough light.

SOLUTION - Take photos with the enough light in the day or mount the camera to a tripod and take the shot a couple hours before dusk. A flash might not be strong enough to give the photo enough light because usually you are more than 15 feet away. You can also fix this in image editing software but it is easier and better to fix it in the original shot.

Overexposed Photo (really light/bright) - caused by taking photo in direct sunlight at noon-2 PM.

SOLUTION -  Wait for the sun to go down in the sky so the shadows aren’t as harsh and the sun isn’t as strong. You can also fix this in image editing software but it is easier and better to fix it in the original shot.

Highly Compression photo - The image, usually a jpeg, looks dirty and pixelated.

SOLUTION - All you have to do to fix this is take your original photo that should be clean and crisp and save it as a jpeg, but pay attention to the Compression/Quality setting in the dialog boxes.

Other helpful info:

WHAT IS THE SIZE OF A PIXEL? Well to give you perspective, screens are usually 72 pixels per inch (ppi) but for output on business cards or professionally-printed flyers, you need images to be 300 pixels per inch. Another way to look at it…my camera creates 8 Megapixel images, and when I bring it onto my computer it says the dimensions are 3456×2304 pixels, You can easily see your output options by dividing those by 72 or 300 pixels per inch. The image would be a 48×32 inch image on screen (72 ppi), which is huge since most screens are 9×12 inches. If we were printing the image and needed it to be 300 ppi, the image would be 11.52×7.68 inches. These are the maximum sizes the image could be without losing quality and detail. You can shrink them to fit your output. If you have Adobe Photoshop or Elements you just go to “Image/image size…” in the menu to shrink the photo.

The best time to take exterior shots depends on the type of photo you want:

Dramatic photo - You want to take the photo in morning or evening (bring the tripod). This gives more harsh shadows but neat colors for the background sky. Turn on some lights on the inside for a warm, homey look.

Evenly lighted photo - Cloudy days are a natural “lightbox” as they spread the sun’s light out evenly.

Sharpen, balance color, add contrast, saturation, adjust shadows/highlights - These all can be done in photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Elements.


Fixed photo of home

Fixed photo of home

Get these problems under control and you will have awesome looking photos that will draw the eye of your potential buyers! If you have any problems you need me to troubleshoot, drop me a line!



One Response to “Real Estate Listing Photo Taking Tips - Exterior Photographs”

  1. Great post!

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