3 Common Real Estate Photo Mistakes


#1 - “Just Make it Look Big”


Taken with a 24mm focal length. A wider lens would have shown the side of a refrigerator and a staircase to the right (neither added much to the image). Wide angle distortion would have shrunk key selling points; the mono door and water view.

I used to hear “make it look big” a lot but that school of thought is changing.

An image that makes a space FEEL good is a more effective sell than a photo that makes it LOOK big. Backing a super-wide angle camera into the corner to “get everything” rarely delivers an emotion evoking result. Leading magazines know that and reject images shot ultra-wide. In fact I get contracts from main stream media companies with instructions; “When possible shoot at 50mm or longer” (close to what the eye sees naturally).


#2 - Converging Verticals


Converging verticals are a common mistake, but just one in a long list that triggers poor ‘processing fluency’. PF is a study of how we understand information. Obviously that’s important for advertising. Here’s an abbreviated snippet as it pertains to real estate display:

When the mind ‘trips’ over an image, or fights to understand it - even for only a fraction of a second - a byproduct is negative emotion.

Here’s how it works: A viewer sees the above photo, their brain does the math and delivers a verdict almost instantly - the walls aren’t slanted, they’re straight. It happens so fast we’re not even aware of the process. We all know that the walls in most homes are straight, so what’s the big deal you ask? Well, nothing. As long as you’re okay with a side-dish of negative emotion served up to your buyer - According to eye movement studies; that’s the moment many shoppers simply move on to the next home.


#3 - Silly Drone Shots

Images of rooftops and driveways probably won’t spark buying emotion. Drone photography is a godsend for real estate marketing, but it can also be the king of too much information - which is rarely a good thing when it comes to selling. Verticals lines (PF again) are almost never corrected. Crazy-wide angle lens distortion is the norm. That’s just for starters but let’s move on, I get it: Your seller wants a drone shot - you want the listing and I want your business. Truth is I’ve done my share of obligatory drone shots from too high up. Often the best drone shots for selling real estate are low and tight:


Of course, there’s a lot more to creating effective advertising photos than these 3 bullet-points. If you’re contemplating a professional photographer for your next listing I hope we can talk!