For both the realtor and a stager... GOOD photography of the property for sale is a necessity. For the realtor, the photos you take of your listing show the product you are trying to sell. For the stager the photos of your work capture and chronicle your staging skills.
Therefore it is to BOTH the realtors and stager's advantages to take and display the ABSOLUTE BEST PHOTOGRAPHIC IMAGES you can... especially NOW that more and more people use the internet as a means to determine evaluate a home or the abilities of a stager.
With that in mind... last night I went on line and looked at listings on Realtor.com for properties for sale in the metro-Chicago market. I have to admit I was delighted by some of the photos, BUT much of what I saw concerns me.
HERE are a few common mistakes I saw over and over again... (Please note, while I did the best I could to repair the photos of properties on Realtor.com, I did NOT have access to the original image file... so my "clean-ups" are NOT as good as they could be. All "original" images are shown on the left.)
BIG SKY: When taking interior photo, be aware of how much ceiling you "feature". Unless the ceiling has an interesting architectural feature... why place so much emphasis on it? In the above picture I cropped the image and warmed it up. TOTAL time spent making the edit: 3 MINUTES!
TWIST & SLIP: Because kitchens have so many "clean" vertical & horizontal lines, when the are photographed they tend to look a skewed-up when photographed. Note how crooked the stove and frig look in the picture on the left... which I straightened up in the picture on the right. TOTAL time spent making the edit: 2 MINUTES!
BRIGHT LIGHTS: When taking pictures into the sun, sometimes the resulting photo has a "hot spot" that blinds the viewer. To clean up the image I simply cropped the picture and ended up with a BETTER view of what the property being featured. I also punched up the contrast. TOTAL time spent making the edit: 2 MINUTES!
ICY COLD: I found this particular "problem" occurring on both INTERIOR and EXTERIOR photos of a home. The edits here required adding more red and yellow to the picture to warm it up. TOTAL time spent making the edit: 2 MINUTES!
DATE STAMPED: This one REALLY surprised me... WHY would a realtor want to let the buyer know how long the property has been on the market? INSTANTLY a buyer will wonder what is the problem... why has the property been on the market so long? In my edited picture I removed the date stamp, cropped it and fixed it by straighten it out and removing the "slip". TOTAL time spent making the edit: 4 MINUTES!
DAYNIGHT: Punching up the brightness took a "dusky" dark home into the daylight, resulting in a photo showing more of the home. TOTAL time spent making the edit: 1 MINUTE!
SLIP SLIDING AWAY: Doesn't the original photo make it look like the house is sliding into hole in the back yard. This is a MORE COMPLEX adjustment... but once learned easy to do OVER AND OVER AND OVER. TOTAL time spent making the edit: 3 MINUTES!
DARK SHADOWS: WOW... would you have thought that just by adjusting the brightness and contrast such a GREAT HOME would come shining through? WHAT a dis-service the ORIGINAL photo was serving the seller. Oh... I also cropped the image a bit so that so much of the ceiling was not being highlighted... really who cares about THIS ceiling? TOTAL time spent making the edit: 2 MINUTES!
GREASY SLIDER: All I did was fix up the slide and punched up the brightness! Again... straightening things out takes a bit more time... but once mastered its like riding a bike. TOTAL time spent making the edit: 4 MINUTES!
ON FIRE: JUST the opposite of ICY COLD is a photo being to warm. However I only found this particular "problem" occurring mostly in interior photos of a home. The edits here required adding more blue and green to cool it down. Here too, I cropped the image a bit so that the ceiling was not being highlighted... again, who cares about the ceiling? TOTAL time spent making the edit: 4 MINUTES!
BLEACHED OUT: JUST LOOK at how easy it is to add LIFE to a washed out photo. I also chose to feature MORE of the house and less of the sidewalk... so I cropped the image tighter. TOTAL time spent making the edit: 3 MINUTES!
TOWERING GIANT: THIS happens to be one of the most common issues I see with images of large condos. Look how WEIRD the building looks on the left. TIP: Vertical lines SHOULD always be STRAIGHT up and down... many CAMERAS skew things all up, which then must be corrected. TOTAL time spent making the edit: 2 MINUTES!
SOOOOO, what was the end result? Well the TOTAL TIME I invested in editing 12 images was ONLY 31 minutes. THIS averages 2 1/2 minutes to fix EACH picture. NOT BAD AT ALL!
I share all this information because I think that realtors have an OBLIGATION to the sellers to show their properties in the BEST manner possible. AND stagers... you need to show YOUR talent as best as possible... so that you get more and more people seeing and benefiting from what staging offers.
stage it forward...
PS: I personally happen to use PhotoShop to edit the photos I take. However in a previous post where I said that "Photos Lie" others of you have shared what you have used and have found as a great tool to edit photos. I encourage you to go back and review that post.