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A good picture says more than a thousand words

While pitching your property at the right, market-related price is critical, the images used to portray your property on the internet and in advertising material are not to be underestimated, as they can set your home apart from many others in the same price range and area. Given the broad usage of the internet, photographs can either make or break the initial impressions of a property.

Great photography that accurately and favourably portrays a home while highlighting key attributes and features is one of the key reasons that draws buyers to view the property. That is why they make use of professional photographers for their website, property portals, brochures and emails as it is very important that they showcase these properties to their best advantage says Lindsay Beck, Pam Golding Properties area manager in Cape Town’s sought-after Southern Suburbs. They also make use of drone photography for many of their large properties in areas such as Bishopscourt and Constantia.

Here are four tips for taking great photographs of properties for sale:

Plan to get the best light

Determine the time of day when you will have the best possible natural light for your property. Local photographer Mike Naylor recommends photographing east-facing houses in the morning, west-facing houses in the afternoon and north-facing houses at midday so that the sun is shining on the main façade of the house. If the property has a mountain view in the Southern Suburbs, the morning is best time of day as the sun shines on the mountain.

“Good shots to take include an interior entertainment area or indoor living space with a particularly good flow onto an exterior entertainment area, or a lovely open-plan lounge/dining room/kitchen flowing onto an outside patio with a great view,” he adds.

Important areas to photograph

Key areas which buyers want to see include entertainment and living areas, main bedroom, bathroom and kitchen, says Richard Smith, Pam Golding Properties area manager in the Hyde Park area in Johannesburg’s northern suburbs. “Also important to showcase is a beautiful garden set against the backdrop of a striking and welcoming façade of the property, and have the doors and windows open.”

Uniqueness and cleanliness go well together

Des Hauser, sales manager for Pam Golding Properties in Alberton and Johannesburg south recommends trying to look for a feature that is unique to the property, whether an entertainment area or views onto a golf course, as an example.

“Remember, with photographs taken throughout the home, neatness and cleanliness are essential,” she adds.

Check the following: All children’s toys are packed away, beds are neatly made, have some flower arrangements in strategic places and personal photographs are removed. De-clutter by making sure all shampoos, soaps, and cleansers are packed away in bathrooms, same goes for cleaning substances and dishes in the kitchen. Straighten curtains and blinds. Make sure the pool cover and cleaner are removed for the shots. Generally, you want to end up with approximately 20 great photographs of the property, so you may take more than that to ensure a good selection to choose from.

Tips when taking your own photographs

Says Cape Town photographer Roger Metcalfe: “On a practical level, especially if you’re using your cell phone, first clean the lens with a soft cloth. Cell phone cameras are prone to collect finger marks, and this can make an enormous difference between a muddy image and a clean, crisp one. Again, lighting is important – always allow maximum light to fill the space, open curtains and shutters and switch on any lights in the room.”

If you are using a camera, Metcalfe recommends the following:

  • A powerful, intelligent flash or speedlight works well, especially when combined with natural light.
  • Always include the existing ambient light, for instance the warm lighting from a lamp, and don’t allow your artificial light to over-ride that.
  • Balance interior with the brighter exterior light as seen through windows and doorways or risk over-exposure. Rather set your camera on manual for full control over the lighting.
  • Interior light should balance exterior light. The eye takes in the room details first (often lit by flash), after which it is led outside through a window or door.
  • Keep the camera level, which may sound obvious, but in a room with different angled walls, finding the horizontal line can be deceptive.

Spotless is the verdict for windows and mirrors. says Metcalfe: “Windows naturally draw the eye to the exterior, so clean window glass is imperative, as windows are an inevitable extension of the lens. In addition, all mirrors need to be spotless, especially in tight spaces such as bathrooms, where creative use of reflections can create aesthetically pleasing, multi-layered visuals.”

Lastly, gardens need to be groomed, pools cleaned, and surroundings made neat. “Bear in mind that the eye of the buyer doesn’t miss a thing,” concludes Metcalfe.

Source: Press release from Pam Golding Properties

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