Photography tips for marketing property
Category: > | 08th May, 2014
You've heard the old cliche 'A picture paints a thousand words', it may be overused but holds true no matter how many times it's said. Another relevant cliche- first impressions count. Both of these sayings should be taken into consideration when selling or renting out property, no matter where in the world it is. The first thing seen by the majority of people looking to buy a property are the pictures of it. So good pictures are essential when marketing your chalet, house or apartment. Competition in the alpine property market is high and small family run businesses compete with large holiday companies to attract visitors or buyers. Smaller businesses might not be able to afford expensive photographers to market their chalet but with a little know how and effort it's possible to take fantastic pictures without going to the experts. In this article I will give you some tips and suggestions on taking great pictures without having to hire a professional or spend a fortune. We spoke to Dan from the ski holiday accommodation site ChaletFinder and he gave his view on this issue. Great pictures are certainly essential to successfully marketing a chalet. Recently a chalet let down by poor images has sent us brand new ones and we were stunned at the difference, we couldn't believe they were the same chalet. Enquiries for that chalet tripled the following month! Catharine, owner and director of the alpine property gurus, France Property Angels, told us this We see a strong correlation between the length of time a property is on the market and the quality of it's pictures. Many of the estate agents we work with also take photos of the properties but taking great pictures often requires the right light, weather and setting out the property in an attractive way, no one is in a better position to do this than the property owner
What equipment you'll needFirst and foremost you'll need to get hold of a decent camera. A mid range digital SLR (Single Lens Reflex) would be ideal and you can get one from a few hundred pounds. However, although the latest cameras will undoubtably be the best, you'll still be able to take great pictures with older models so you could consider buying a second hand camera. Alternatively you might know someone who has a good camera & could borrow it, although I'd recommend getting your own as it's important to practice using the camera if you're new to photography. Although not absolutely essential it's a good idea to get a tripod to steady your camera while taking shots. The smallest of movements while taking a photograph can blur the picture. You could use a stack of books or worktop to stand the camera on as a reasonable alternative. However, getting the right angle & holding it there securely can be tricky. Best save your time and the potential of ending up with a broken camera by investing in a tripod, even a cheap one will do. Some stepladders can be useful to get the most out of your shots as pictures taken from different heights can have very different effects on the impression a picture gives. Small rooms, for example, can be made to look smaller in pictures taken from a height whereas large rooms can benefit from high shots. Light is everything in photography, and getting it right can make a world of difference. Having too little light can make a room look dark and dank and light coming from the wrong angle can cast unwanted shadows. Natural light is ideal for photography but often the natural light entering a room through windows isn't enough. So get together some extra light sources such as lamps and make use of your internal lighting. Incandescent lights, such as regular light bulbs, provide a source of good light but CFL (compact fluorescence lights) curled energy saving light bulbs don't provide very good light for photography. If you are going to use lamps then a lampshade might be a good idea so the light isn't too harsh or projected at one area of the room. To store the pictures you take of your chalet or apartment you'll need an SD card, these can be bought online fairly cheaply at £5-6 for an 8GB card which could store around 1500 high resolution pictures. Some laptops come with built in SD card readers, for those that don't you'll need a USB SD card reader which cost a few pounds. Last but not least you'll need a pen and notepad. If you're new to photography it's imperative that you practise using your camera. This doesn't just mean taking photos and seeing how they look on your cameras view finder. It's important to learn what settings work best after looking at your practice shots on a regular sized compeer monitor. The LCD screen on cameras is ok to have a quick look at a picture, but the quality isn't good enough to determine the best camera settings to use. So try taking some pictures & note down the settings you've used, then you can compare them. If you're stuck & aren't sure where to start take a look at the settings used by the automatic setting. Looking at your camera manual is also advised so you know what settings you're changing!
Plan aheadIf you're selling your property taking pictures throughout the year will help paint a better picture of what it would be like to live there. Alpine properties are popular for their proximity to the slopes so obviously winter pictures are a must but don't forget to show off how beautiful it is in the summer, spring and autumn. For those wanting to rent out their chalet or apartment you could target a bigger audience as the Alps are also very popular for their range of summer activities available. Even if you're not planning on selling or renting now it may be something you'll want to do in the future, so plan ahead & take pictures all year round. Consider what time of the day is best for taking photos? If you want to take a shot showing the gorgeous view from your balcony windows it'd be advisable to chose a time when the sun isn't shining directly through them as it can be tricky to deal with direct sunlight in photography. It is possible though so try it out. Dusk can be a good time to get an impressive shot of the outside of a chalet. With the lights on and the chalet silhouetted against the darkening sky it can look very warm and welcoming. You might want to plan an internal photoshoot on a slightly cloudy day. As I said before, working with direct sunlight can be tricky and on cloudy days you can still get plenty of natural light inside the property. The best approach is trial and error, every property is different and each room if different zoo give it a try and see what works best for you.
Prepare the property
- Clean the rooms, tidy up & remove unnecessary clutter
- Simple touches like smoothed sheets, fluffed up pillows & cushions, folded towels or a fruit bowl on the dining table can all add a welcoming feel to your chalet or apartment.
Setting up the shot indoors
- Getting a good frame. There are an infinite number of ways to photograph a room, think of all the different perspectives you can get from different positions, angles & heights. You might want to centre your shot around a particular feature in a room such as the fireplace or you could take a wide angled shot of the whole room. Try not to take all of your pictures at head height, some of the most impressive pictures are taken from positions that give the viewer a different perspective of a room.
- As a general rule try to avoid getting a shot with three walls in it as it can create a shoebox effect. Although this depends entirely on the room and could work well.
- Arrange your furniture and decorations for the shot. Your room might not be set out ideally to get the best photograph so you could try moving things around a little. Getting large pieces of furniture at an angle as opposed to straight on can look better. In the kitchen, lay your dining table as if it's about to be used, in the bedroom you could put a few books on the bedside table and lay towels and soaps out in the bathroom. All of these touches can help the viewer imagine themselves in your chalet or apartment which is an important step in the purchasing process.
Setting up the shot outdoors
- Again, make sure the outside of your property is tidy, clear away any clutter & give the windows a clean
- Getting a good frame. As with indoor shots you should try out different heights and angles in your photoshoot. If there's a gorgeous view of the valley, a piste nearby or surrounding trees, try to get them into the frame
- Watch out for direct sunlight as well, as I said before it can be difficult to get a good picture with the sun in frame as the intensity of light in the frame varies so much. Trial and error is the way to find out what's works & what doesn't
- Look out for shadows cast across the property, if there are tall trees nearby you might want to wait until their shadow is cast away from the shot.