Do Real Estate Photos Matter?

“You have 10-30 seconds to impress me.”

It has been over a decade since I was sitting across the desk from a record label executive who said these exact words to me. The company I was working with had set up about 5 meetings like this to market a band we were working with and they basically all went the same. Once we were in the meeting we got to play the first 10-30 seconds of 3 songs. In my mind that wasn’t enough time to show them how amazing our artist was, but that’s what we got. We didn’t get a record deal from that trip.

Ever since then, I have realized the importance of a first impression. Now more than ever we live in a 10-30 second world. When a potential buyer is viewing properties online (over 90% of buyers research a property online in some way), there are many options out there and that makes it easy to dismiss the homes with no pictures or bad pictures. If there are 50 other listings that fit the search criteria in a town as small as New Braunfels then I know these photos have to do a great job of attracting attention. I have to find a way to set a home I’m trying to sell apart from the others!

I fancy myself a decent amateur photographer. When we put our own home up for sell in 2009, I took the photos myself and thought I did a great job with them. Then when we listed our next house earlier this year (2013) I told our Realtor I could take the photos myself. She talked me out of it and I’m glad she did (she’s my broker now). I learned from her what a great difference it makes to hire a professional photographer and even a stager to help get your home ready for photos. Before the photographer came, we cleared as much stuff out of sight as possible (we even rented a storage facility). When we sold our house the people who bought it never even saw it in person – they were out of the country and only viewed the photos online.


A house listed for sale needs to have stunning photos to draw in potential buyers. Any client who has a listing with me is provided with professional photos that I pay for and oversee. But not everyone provides this service for their client or has this option. After spending endless hours online looking at real estate photos here are some things I would recommend for a person taking their own photos:

– Prep, Clean & De-Clutter! Make sure your home has curb appeal. Yard mowed and cleared of trash. Maybe add some mulch (a cheap way to make a nice landscaping addition). Indoors – clean, clear away mess. Maybe buy or borrow some extra lamps to add more light to your home. Make sure none of your lightbulbs are out as it is very obvious in photos. Clean, clean, clean. Remove fridge magnets & toys.

– Use a decent camera (avoid using your cell phone).

– Good lighting. Open blinds, turn on lights bring in as much light as you can.

– Turn off ceiling fans to avoid blur.

– Avoid vertical shots – it is better to only take horizontal shots. Some listing sites will not accept vertical shots.

– Use a tripod to avoid blur – this will also help you get better lighting in your pictures.

– Be aware of what is showing through the window.

– Use a step ladder or squat down low to get a couple of shots from a different angle.

– Make sure you (or anyone else) aren’t captured in the mirrors.

– Shoot exterior shots with the sun behind you.

– Edit the photos to lighten them or crop out negative aspects.

– Save 2 versions of the photos – high resolution for print (flyers & printed marketing materials) and lower resolution for websites.

Just for fun – click here for some examples of bad/funny real estate photos.


Are you considering selling? Give me a call – I would be happy to meet with you to discuss ideas for selling your home in the New Braunfels area!

Clair Devers
Key Real Estate Services
Licensed Realtor
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