Photos are often the first thing a potential buyer sees, and they leave a big first impression — buyers spend just seconds looking at that first photo before deciding whether they’re interested. Houses are huge investments, so even if a home looks stunning in person, a bad photo can sour buyers on it instantly.
Many real estate agents hire professional photographers and consider the cost to be an investment in their own marketing (and time-saving) that’ll pay off in the long-run. Though we encourage agents to bring in outside expertise, we also understand that it’s an investment not everyone can make. So if you’re playing the part of photographer and agent, check out these tips and apps that you can use to show your listing in the best possible light (there’s really an app that can help you find the best light!):
1. Instagram filters
Download Instagram and you’ll find dozens of filters that automatically adjust settings like brightness and contrast. If it’s a particularly dark photo or the weather is just dreary, these filters can help add some color and dimension to photos so they look sharper and more appealing. And since filters are so distinct, they can give your entire album a cohesive look.
“I really like using Snapseed just to edit [photos], secondary to Instagram filters because I use those the most,” says Brian Hopper, a broker with Sotheby’s International Realty in Kirkland, Washington. Snapseed offers more tools to help edit photos, from filters like the ones you’ll find on Instagram to brushes that help you soften or sharpen the image.
BoxBrownie is another app that Brian recommends for touching up and digitally enhancing photos. “Just touch up that grass a little bit because a lot of times grass just comes across as yellow. The grass is green, but the photo looks yellow,” Brian says. BoxBrownie also has features like virtual staging.
You can also pay a small fee to get twilight versions of your daytime photos made. “We used to have to stay at the house until 10 at night leaving all the lights on, and then it’s a scramble to get all angles of the yard in twilight,” Brian tells us. BoxBrownie makes that process easier.
4 & 5. Adobe Spark & Adobe Lightroom
“I use Adobe Spark, which is awesome and really easy to create social media posts,” says Jessica Stanley of HomeFile. Adobe Spark is a free app that helps you build out graphics, and you can also use it to add text or branding to your photos to really customize them.
Jay Stringham, the Internet marketing coordinator at Real Tour Vision, is a big proponent of professional photos but suggests Adobe Lightroom if you’ll be taking your own. “It has an interface where you can change the settings of your camera manually, you can also edit your photos right in there,” Jay told us. “It gives you a lot more latitude in bringing out detail and shadows, and correcting color balance, and any of those sorts of things that matter in photography.”
Gitika Kaul, an agent at Wydler Brothers in the Washington, DC Metro Area, uses LightTrac for showings, but it could definitely be helpful for taking photos as well. “It basically tells you where the sun is at any given time, where it rises and where it sets, which is super helpful when you’re out showing properties,” Gitika told us. Depending on how the sun hits your house, knowing where it is could be a big benefit for taking prime photos, too.
To hear more about this topic, check out Snapshot episodes #74, #66, #58 and #48.
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