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If there is one thing we learned in 2017, it’s this: visitors coming to your site love scrolling through your photo galleries. That makes sense because the brain can process images 60,000x faster than words. Our eyes are drawn to photos, making them the first thing we see. You want that first impression to be flawless, like a welcoming smile and a nice firm handshake. While we think photos are best left up to the professionals, here are 5 tips to help you take better gallery photos and help you sell homes.
1. Get An Actual Camera
Your iPhones and Galaxies have amazing cameras on them. We’re obsessed with taking photos and sharing memories – and for that, the do-it-all devices in our pockets and purses excel at it. But when it comes to selling houses – or really anything – you just can’t beat a good old-fashioned camera for better gallery photos.
Nikon, Sony, Canon, and Panasonic make great mirrorless and digital single lens reflex cameras. What exactly makes these better than your phone’s camera you ask? Where to start. They have interchangeable lenses (see #3), faster focusing, manual control, and overall better image quality – to name a few.
While your iPhone or Android device does take good photos you just can’t beat a high-quality camera with a wide-angle lens to capture the entire room. If you find yourself in a pinch and have no other option but to use your smartphone (let’s face it, sometimes you just have to get the job done) make sure you turn on the “grid” in your settings. This will help you keep everything straight and in line. It will also save you more time later by not having to straighten every photo you took in editing.
2. Buy an External Flash
This one is mainly if you are a pro, but if you have really good photography skills and know how to work an external flash, then go on with your bad self and use one!
Photographers are wizards at controlling light. Irregularly shaped structures are prone to having dark shadows that can hide details. So when you don’t have enough light, you need bring your own! Most consumer and prosumer level cameras have an onboard pop-up flash, but the light that comes from it is often harsh and direct. In order to naturally light your scene, you need indirect light (light bounced off a wall or ceiling). Almost all external flash units have a pivoting and tilting head for just that. The better you get your lighting when you are taking the pictures the less time you will have to spend balancing the light in editing.
3. Space = Value
You know how they say that a camera adds 10 pounds? Well, sometimes cameras can make a space feel tighter than it actually is. It’s called compression and it happens when you use a zoom or medium-zoom lens. For portrait photographers, compression is their bread and butter, but to make your kitchen feel roomy, it’s not what you want. Make your open spaces feel open by using whats called a wide angle lens. The zoom on your lens is determined by your focal length or the distance between the glass in your lens to your camera’s sensor. The larger the number (in millimeters), the more zoom. The smaller the number, the wider you get. So to make a room feel larger, use a lens with a smaller focal length.
4. Photography in the RAW
When you take a picture, your camera takes all the information it collected and squishes it down to a file size that’s easily manageable. That’s great for quick uploads to Instagram over your cell signal, but not-so-great for being able to fix things. Since you’ve splurged on a nice DSLR, shoot in a RAW format. RAW formats don’t compress the photo and all of the original data goes into to the file. You can correct distortion, white balance, and whatever else you need with ease. More information = more things you can edit = more possibilities for better pictures. Of course, once you make all your changes, save as a jpeg and unleash your beautiful photos to the world. Special not, you’ll need an image processor like Photoshop or Lightroom to edit RAW files.
5. 360 Is Where It’s At
360 photos and videos are viewable on Youtube and Facebook, and they’ve really taken off – along with virtual reality (VR). It allows viewers to see an environment from any angle they want. You could take 10 pictures of a room to capture as much detail as you can get with just one 360 photo.
DSLRs don’t take 360 photos or video without post-production in Photoshop. Your iPhone can do it, but you need to make sure it’s stable or it’ll look you fell in a wormhole. Garmin, Ricoh, Nikon, and a few others have 360 cameras you can buy for this task.