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How Do You Choose Listing Photos?


Listing Photos – Aesthetic and Professionalism

Listing photos are an incredibly important part of advertising a home for sale. Just like any product advertising, the aesthetic of a home is one of the first things a buyer notices. Not to mention, with websites like Zillow and Trulia, photos are distributed to a VERY wide audience within moments of a listing going live.

Aside from selling a particular home, listing photos speak to the professionalism of the agent. If it is apparent that an agent just ran through a home snapping iPhone photos in the dark, it’s unlikely that anyone who sees them will want to hire that agent. However, an agent that spends significant time and effort producing high-quality listing photos appears to be a more caring, hard-working agent.

To explore the aspects of selecting listing photos, we consulted Znap Fly Drone Services, our go-to real estate photographers.

What is HDR and Why is it Important?

Kelly Smith of Znap Fly explains, “HDR is high dynamic range photography.  It’s a series of images taken at different exposure rates and then merged together to create one amazing image.  It is the perfect photography for real estate and architecture.  Typical photos won’t pick up all the textures and colors that HDR can.  Another thing that I see in a lot of real estate photography is that the windows are blown out.  The sunlight is too bright and all you can see is a big white square.  With HDR you can see clearly through the windows.” 

The quality of the photos is vital for having a well-rounded listing. Although the accuracy of the property information and the marketing remarks in the MLS are the most important to serious buyers, the photos are what sparks the initial interest and must therefore be produced with care. HDR photos allow the viewer to see the texture of wood floors, the view from the kitchen window, and everything that aids in imagining themselves in that home.

Listing Photos Should Be Different Across Social Media Platforms!

MLS: The MLS (Multiple Listing Service) is the program that buyer’s agents use to find potential homes for their clients. This program allows listing agents to post up to 50 photos and gives the option to distribute to sites like Zillow. These photos should give context to the layout and size of the property.

Instagram and Pinterest: These platforms are all about aesthetic and inspiration. If there are any particularly artistic photos of the furniture or more niche features, this is where to post them. Tags are also the most useful here – use sites like to find trending tags in relation to your photos.

Facebook: Facebook gets a little tricky when selecting photos. There are several formats to choose from, and each are suited to specific kinds of photos. For some listings with extensive property or larger homes, it might be prudent to create an entire album of photos. However, this could be overwhelming to sort through, and it does not direct traffic to the MLS listing or the agent’s website. Usually, anywhere from five to ten photos is enough to entice a buyer to see the full listing. This can be achieved with either a photo carousel linking back to the listing, or a slideshow that features the agent’s information on a slide. Either of these formats should give a basic overview of the property and include a front photo, kitchen, living room, and backyard at minimum.

Aerial and Drone Photography

Znap Fly advocates that most properties should consider drone photography: “All neighborhoods are great for aerial photos.  Aerial photography provides a different perspective; giving much more information about the property and neighborhood compared to traditional photography.” Luckily for us, this area is rich in sun-drenched landscapes and beautiful, unique neighborhoods.

Too much sunlight can be an issue, though. Kelly says, “Pictures inside and outside will be affected by lighting depending on the position of the sun in relation to the home.  We do not want the sun directly behind or in front of the home.  This creates harsh shadows for particular shots we want to capture.  I find that the early morning or early evening is best for photographing inside homes, however on a cloudy day anytime is great.”

Staging – The Great Debate

There will always be a “great debate” in the real estate industry about staging. At McGuire Capital Group Realty, we take it as a case-by-case deal; sometimes the seller has amazing taste, sometimes the seller has terrible taste, sometimes the home is totally vacant. As a photographer, Kelly prefers staged homes, “Every home is different so my favorite room to photograph changes with the home.  I do have to say my favorite rooms are the staged ones… Staging detracts from outdated tile, fixtures and floors.  It allows potential buyers to see themselves in the home.  Staging makes it seem like nothing needs to be done to the home and from an editing standpoint there is a lot less photoshopping.” 

What About Videos and Matterport?

Video walk-throughs and 3D tours (Matterport) are an excellent tool for social media. According to Facebook, a video ad followed by a photo has a 31% higher conversion rate than photos alone. This means that combining video and static photo is the most effective marketing strategy.  Matterport has to be shared as a link, but the phrase “3D Tour” will absolutely intrigue potential buyers. Also, this can act as yet another link to your agent website!

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