First Impressions Really Do Count

Make Your Properties Stand Out from the Competition

Your photos create the very first impression that your buyers have of the properties you’re selling, so it’s essential that they’re top-notch if you want your homes to stand out from the competition.

Here are SIX simple steps to help you make sure your properties create a great first impression.

1. Look closely at your business. Do you think of your business only as one that sells houses, or does it market properties so that they sell well?
All of your properties are in a beauty parade. Focus on ways to make them stand head and shoulders over the competition. Getting them noticed for the right reasons, creating the best possible first impression, will make them easier to sell, and have a positive impact on your brand.

2. Get your client on-side so that they’ll prepare properly for the photos.
Don’t you just love it when you arrive at your client’s home full of enthusiasm, with your camera, only to find that there’s dirty washing in the sink, a couple of Dobermans in their baskets, and beds that look like there’s someone still sleeping in them?

Better to prepare the client so that they get the house ready for you. Impress on them that the tidier their presentation of the property the more amazing your photos will be, the more opportunities you’ll create for selling at the optimal price.

Visit to view my own tips for preparing properties for photography. You’re welcome to use these ideas as a rough template for your own version. The prospect of a better price should hopefully encourage your clients’ to cooperate. My clients have welcomed these suggestions. Yours will too.

3. Use appropriate photographic equipment
I’ve already written extensively about this on my own blog, and you’ll find my suggested shopping list by copying and pasting this link into your browser:

And yes, there’s a cost to investing in your business. But it will be a lot less than that BMW you’ve been eying.

4. Read Your Camera’s Manual
You’ll be amazed how much your photos will improve if you just spend a night indoors reading your camera’s manual and working out why it’s important to understand what the aperture is, what shutter speeds to aim for and why a low ISO setting can mean the difference between great photographs and horrible snaps.

5. Stick to Some Simple Photography Rules
a) Use a tripod for your interiors. If you’ve setup your camera for the best quality pictures,  you’ll find that in low light you’ll need longer shutter speeds. A tripod is necessary to avoid camera shake, which will in turn lead to what we professionals call, ‘fuzzy pictures’.

b) Take your interior photos at around half room height. Usually lower for bedrooms, higher for kitchens and dining rooms. Never take them from a standing position unless you want them to look like stills from cctv!

c) Exteriors – If possible try not to take your photo while standing close to the elevation, try to take your exterior shots from further back so that you can see the shape of the roof. Try not to use an ultra-wide angle lens such as you’d use for your interiors. Instead, on a standard digital SLR camera, use the 18-55 lens with which most cameras come. Here’s a short article explaining why:

6. Don’t use fully automated camera settings like P.
If you do use a fully-automated setting when photographing interiors, the camera will think that you are hand-holding it and it will choose a large aperture so that it will be able to maintain a faster shutter speed. But a large aperture will result in a shallow depth-of-field, which is another way of saying that only a part of the picture will appear to be in-focus. The rest will be slightly fuzzy. Sharp pictures are achieved with smaller apertures. This will make MUCH easier to explain if you take one of my workshops.

None of the above is rocket science. You won’t need a pipe, anorak, beard or sandals to take great photos of your interiors and exteriors. But if you need a little help then consider some training –

John Durrant is a professional photographer specialising in higher value homes, and works as in Surrey and W Sussex as well as London, Berkshire and Bucks. He wrote the 12,000-word Guidance on Property Photography for the RICS and was a practicing estate agent for some 39 years, retiring from partnership in Woking in 2005. His second business, has been featured on the BBC and specialises in improving some 2000 estate agents’ own photographs each month through digital optimisation, and also runs workshops for estate agents to help them take better property photographs.


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