Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Photography for Selling houses or Renting apartments

I rent apartments. I've had a fair bit of experience posting with architectural photography for the purpose of marketing.

My approach is simple, but I think produces very useful results.

The most critical tool I've found is a WIDE lens. I use a Canon compact (S70) with a 28mm equivalent. I've recently added a wide-angle adapter to make a 21mm equivalent. It adds some blur but FOR THE WEB that's OK.

If you're using a compact camera and not an SLR, a cheapo tripod is also very very useful.

In my mind, the keys are:
Use only natural light whenever possible. Turn off your lights and turn off your strobe (sorry strobist). You're not capturing action so a 1/2 or 1 second exposure is just the thing.
(Set your lens to 5.6 or 8 aperture for the best sharpness).

Personally, I've found a lower camera angle works best for most rooms. It emphasizes the size of the room and the wood floors.

With my camera, I find overexposing by about 2/3rds stop gives the best results.

PHOTOSHOP:
I prefer to shoot Raw because it gives me a bit more latitude for the photoshop manipulations I almost always do:
1. Use the Exposure slider till the room looks Bright. Brightness is almost always a better marketing tool than moody. There are exceptions, but that's what I've found. Go for as bright as you can without blowing out detail.
Flashes and "accent lighting" make for hot spots. That's one reason I prefer natural light.

2. Since I'm using a wide lens, the distort>Image correction tool is fantastic. Get rid of that barrel distortion and do some vertical perspective correction.

3. SLEAZY: Don't do this.
In PS4 there's a nifty tool for "context aware" resizing. You can make rooms look bigger without distorting the objects in them.
For a small bathroom...
But really. Don't do it. It's unethical.

Examples at livingislands.com and bestportlandrentals.com

OH. If you know how to do quicktime panoramas, for nice rooms with some architectural detail, that can just be an amazing thing to add to a website.

IMPORTANT: MAKE YOUR PICTURES BIG.
By big, I mean about 800 - 850 pixels wide. It boggles my mind that so many professionals post 400x300. POST BIG PICS.

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