Take Great Cell Phone Photos Part 5

Real Estate Edition

Exterior Photos

The exterior photo is the first thing a buyer sees when looking through the MLS and therefore it is extremely important to show your best. Most MLS’s require a street view of the property to be the primary photo shown. We will start there.

One big difference in exterior photos over interiors is you don’t need a tripod. You will typically be shooting handheld at eye level or higher. You still want the camera to be level horizontally but the verticals are slightly less important on exteriors, mostly because you are shooting from a further distance and are not using the ultra-wide lens that is required for interior photos. Also, the exterior shots are usually much brighter than the interior so the camera will be operating at a higher shutter speed, making camera shake less of an issue.

Let me show some examples of good vs. not-so-good street views here.

In the first picture, you can see the street view of the house, however, the foreground is all driveway and very little landscaping. Also, the garage doors take up a lot of the image. In the second shot, I moved to the left considerably. You still have a full view of the house but now the focus is on the landscaping and the entry. The driveway and garage are still seen but are less prominent in the picture.

One other thing you may notice is the front of the house is totally in shadow and there is a huge lens flare from the sun. I was there at the wrong time of day to properly photograph this house. This was about 9 am. If I had waited until 11 or later the sun would have been higher in the sky and the house would have had more light and less shadow. Ideally, because it is facing west, this house should have been photographed after 1 pm.

Just like the other house, there is too much driveway and garage showing, and you can’t see the entry or front windows, this is not a good choice. The next photo shows the entry and front windows nicely and reduces the amount of driveway and garage, but that tree in the center ruins its usability. The only option here is to use the straight-on shot. You will notice that it looks like we are slightly looking down on the house in the straight-on picture. It’s because we are. The street is considerably higher than the floor of the house.

Choose your street view image based on what tells the best story of the house.

Other Exterior Shots

In addition to the primary street view photo, you will want pictures of other angles of the house. For example looking down each side yard, both from the front and from the back yard looking forward. You will want backyard images both from the corners of the property facing the house, but also showing the view of the yard from the house or the lanai. You will want to show any outbuildings and of course, if there is a pool that gets its own set of images.

You can see in the images above how I show the big picture, then get close-ups of some of the details. I show where the shed sits in relation to the house before showing it up close. I also took a picture showing the side of the shed, I just didn’t include it here. For the house on the canal, I show the big picture, then shift to my left and show the canal, then move in for a closer view of the canal.

Here you can see opposing angles of the rear of the house. These would have been better if the garden hose and hose reel had been removed. You can also see the garbage cans alongside the house which should be removed/hidden if possible. This side of the house was in shadow, so I didn’t feel bad about cropping out the garbage cans. I also cut out some of the neighbor’s house with the crop.

In summary, try and capture many different angles of the exterior, with the front elevation being most important for MLS. Be sure to show any features of the yard, both the location of, and in detail. Be aware of any “stuff” around the yard that should be moved or hidden and not shown in the photos.

Next time we will discuss how to handle difficult situations, including a few software upgrades I feel are necessary to produce great cell phone photos.

If you decide that taking your own Real Estate Photos is not for you, and you’re in the Hernando, Citrus, or N. Pasco County area, contact me and we can discuss your needs.