Photography Essentials for Realtors – Top 3 Real Estate Photography Turnoffs

In a previous post, I wrote about why quality real estate photography matters when virtually all home searches begin online. In this post I will discuss why poor real estate photographs turn off potential homebuyers.
We live in a visual world. Whether it be from television, the Internet, magazines or billboards we are bombarded with thousands of images each day. To cope we have learned to quickly filter through these images to find what is important. Michael Seiler, founder and director of the Institute for Behavioral and Experimental Real Estate at Old Dominion University conducted a study to learn how people interact with real estate listings online. He found that 95% of viewers viewed the first photo, usually the one that shows the exterior of the home, for total of 20 seconds before moving on to view the rest of the listing.

“Without an eye-catching photo, the battle is lost before begins”, Professor Seiler says. “You have to grab people’s attention within 2 seconds.”

Real estate photos must match our perception of reality.

We know what the world looks like. When viewing photos on real estate listings that don’t look quite right, even if we don’t know why, we grow uneasy and move on to another listing.

So, here are the top three real estate photography mistakes that turn off potential homebuyers.

1. Walls that aren’t vertical.

We all consciously know that walls are perfectly vertical. When a viewer sees a a room where the walls are not parallel with the sides of the photo they become distracted and disoriented. Compare these two photos.

Not Vertical Vertical

2. Windows that are too bright or interiors that are too dark.

Most home interiors shot during daylight hours are much darker than the bright windows. Without using special lighting or photo editing software, windows tends to look too bright and the view out the windows disappears. This is especially true when the camera is set on automatic mode. Conversely, if we manually expose the shot so that the windows are properly exposed, the interior of the room is usually much too dark. Compare these two photos.

Blown out windows Balanced Exposure

3. Distracting color casts.

Strong color casts that don’t look natural distract the viewer’s attention.

Color Cast Correct Color
What other bad real estate photography mistakes have you seen?


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