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The photographic evidence
The main objective
At the end of the day you’re placing a sales advertisement. Take a look at an advertisement for your favourite product, either on television, in a magazine or in anewspaper. Notice how polished and professional it is. Imagine the time and effort that has gone into making the product stand out more than any other.
The whole point of taking photographs to accompany a property description, is to inspire prospective buyers to want to see more. Good property images will work to engage the buyer, spark their imagination and fuel their desire to own that home.
Photographs should let the buyer see how the house is laid out; which room leads where and how it all fits together. Try to take shots that will provide a 360° perspective of the property and its surroundings. With this knowledge, the buyer can make an informed decision about whether or not the property meets their needs and aspirations. Getting the photography right, could mean the difference between making a sale or not making a sale, so it’s worth considering hiring a professional photographer
Hiding the best shots doesn’t sell
Many selling agents in the Algarve avoid taking exterior or frontal photographs, for fear that a competitor may recognise the property and poach their business. However, the reality is that agencies are aware of which properties are for sale in their locality, so are in effect shooting themselves in the foot and doing their clients a disservice by not using the best possible photography in their marketing.
If you’re one of these agents, then put yourself in the shoes of the buyer: Would you, as a buyer, ever schedule a viewing based on interior shots of bedrooms and bathrooms? Hiding the exterior makes a listing no better than having no listing at all.
The good, the bad and the plain ugly
We found some great examples of good property photographs and we also found some jaw-dropping bad ones.
Follow the AIDA rule
If you (or your agent) are taking the shots, then it’s worth checking these guidelines, to ensure that your property is presented in the best possible light.
AIDA is a historic marketing model. It may date back to the early 1900s, but its four-step rule is still good guidance when creating an advertisement and, in this case, selecting photographs for a property listing. AIDA describes a common sequence of events that may occur when a consumer engages with an advertisement.
A = attention
Attract the attention of the customer.
I = interest
Raise customer interest by focusing on and demonstrating advantages and benefits.
D = desire
Convince customers that they want and desire the product or service and that it will satisfy their needs.
A = action
Lead customers towards taking action and/or purchasing.
The ‘Do's before taking your photographs
Look around you. Ask yourself what you can you do to make your home look as attractive as possible?
- Make sure all areas to be photographed are tidy and clean. That includes terraces, paths and gardens.
- Remove all personal clutter such as clothes, washing, newspapers and children’s toys.
- Open all shutters, blinds and curtains to allow as much light as possible into the property.
- Hide dustbins (inside and outside the property) and remove all rubbish.
- Put washing lines and dryers away.
- Make sure the kitchen sink and drainer are free of crockery etc.
- Hide away personal items in the bathroom, such as toothbrushes, razors and unattractive accessories and products; hair remover and toilet cleaner won’t enhance your photography.
- Make sure that bathroom towels are clean and orderly.
- Remove vehicles from driveways.
The ‘DON’T's when taking your photographs
Look around you carefully and objectively. What’s in view? Hide or remove anything that won’t enhance your photographs.
- Don’t capture your own image in mirrors.
- Don’t photograph a flight of stairs unless they are a special feature of the property.
- Don’t photograph a bathroom with the loo seat up: in fact, choose the best aspect, preferably avoiding the loo altogether.
- Don’t photograph a pool with no steps.
- Don’t capture electricity pylons or telephone poles in your shots.
- Don’t capture garden rubbish bags or any other undesirable items in your shots.
- Don’t capture people or pets in your shots: you may love them, but buyers don’t need to see them.
- Don’t take photographs when the sky’s grey or it’s raining. Buyers want a home in the sun.
And what about the view?
What about it indeed! Showing six images of a fantastic view isn’t going to bring a buyer running. One or two shots of a great view are quite sufficient.
You can’t live on a view, no matter how spectacular. A fabulous view is a bonus, to be enjoyed, but it’s the property that will be lived in and that needs to be showcased.
And there’s more
Often, “less is more” but not in this case. A floor plan, including all the dimensions, is a boon for buyers. It allows them to visualise how they would live in the property and if it meets all their requirements; their furniture placement, which room would make a good office perhaps, which bedroom would be for whom and how they would decorate.
Think of your property as a product instead of your home. Make a conscious effort to see your home as a stranger would see it and visualise the potential your property has. You want to highlight all the best features. Try using the photographer’s trick of forming a square with your fingers and look at every aspect of your home through your “finger frame”. You may be amazed to see what will be captured in your photographs.
Remember, things that are familiar to you or taken for granted by you, are new to a prospective buyer and will be looked at differently. So be objective when you take your photographs. Make sure your images will raise attention, generate desire and lead to a sale.
See our article The right write up for guidance on making sure your property description is written to sell.