Not all photographers are created equal, but getting property photography right is essential
Now, we all love a floating fireplace, but this one, which featured in a recent news item in The Sun, is a fire grate too far.
It’s possible that there isn’t a fireplace at that property at all. Or, if there is, it’s in such bad order that covering it with a Photoshop hatchet job was the preferable option.
And this leads nicely onto the area of photography. Whilst retouching to the extent shown in The Sun’s story is clearly unacceptable, it begs the question what should those selling their property actually expect from an estate agent when it comes to photography?
Professional vs iPhone
Just because you own an iPhone with the latest camera doesn’t make you a photographer.
Yet, that’s an approach many estate agents seem to take in order to save costs. iPhone cameras are undoubtedly great for most things, but taking property shots that form the foundation of your sales particulars isn’t one of them.
We use a professional photographer in most cases, and the quality is second to none. Our view is that as estate agents, we’re experts in selling your property. So, we’d rather leave imagery to the photography experts.
But there’s more to it than whether or not you’re happy letting your estate agent loose on your property with their phone. And thankfully, our photographer, Chris, has kindly provided three estate agent photography tips to help you get the most from your estate agent.
Top tip from Chris #1
Ask your estate agent where their photographer’s editing takes place. Very often, estate agents will outsource their editing to places like India, as it’s cheaper. However, there are two problems with this. Firstly, the photographer is likely to rely on overseas photoshopping to lighten the rooms, rather than the natural light within the property. This results in a strange, almost cartoony, effect. Secondly, places like India are awash with vibrant colours and high colour saturation, so this palette, which is ingrained within Indian culture, doesn’t translate very well to a UK environment. Ever seen a shot on an estate agent’s website where the property looks like it’s been subject to the worst of the UK’s November rain yet has what appears to be a tropical sky above it? That’s why. If the editing isn’t done by the person who took the shot, you’re likely to get strange colour shifts and end up with images that don’t really reflect your property.
Top tip from Chris #2
If any photographer turns up to your property without a tripod, send them on their way. Why? Because they clearly have no interest in using natural light. Interior photography requires harnessing the light that’s there, and adding light that isn’t. If a photographer isn’t using a tripod for every shot, then they cannot be using natural light, because to do so requires a slow shutter speed, and shots that require a slow shutter speed need a tripod. Large photography companies used by many estate agents often send junior photographers out for the day with too much work, so they don’t have time to carry out slow shutter speed work as they have 10 houses to shoot before the day’s end. To allow them to tackle such high volume, they use excessive amounts of flash and handheld cameras only. Personally, I’d rather take less jobs and do each one right.
Top tip from Chris #3
Not all photographers are created equal. So, to qualify what end of the quality spectrum your estate agent’s is on, ask them how much time you can expect their photographer to spend with you. As a rule of thumb, I tend to spend 1.5 – 2 hours in each property. In some of Surrey’s larger houses, it can be as much as half a day. Not only does more time allow you to address the technical aspects of photography – such as lighting and slow shutter speed – but it also means you can take more care in attending to the details such as plumping cushions and making sure that the rooms are staged correctly. Photographers at the other, cheaper end of the spectrum will be in and out for reasons explained in point 2.
If you would like the very best property photography to feature in your sales particulars, contact Grosvenor to arrange a valuation on any of the numbers below.