For a real estate agent, pictures can be worth thousands of dollars. Potential property buyers and home buyers now turn to the Internet to find listings, so it’s important that photos of the property make a great first impression.

With advancements in camera technology, agents no longer have to hire high-dollar photographers to do the job. If your pictures are appealing, realistic and professional, your chances of catching the eye of buyers are exponentially higher.

Remember the following five tips as you begin photographing your listing.

1. Professionally Stage the Home

Even if someone is currently living in the home, stage your listing like a professional. It’s important to take the current owner’s personal touches out of any photos and de-clutter the house—you want potential owners to be able to imagine themselves in the space so they’re more likely to make an offer quickly.

Remove cars from the driveway, magnets from the fridge, personal picture frames, etc. It will take time and energy to remove these things that don’t need to be in the photo, but it’ll be worth it for the listing to look clean and polished.

Of course, always place things back where you found them and warn the seller in advance of any inconvenience you might cause.

 

2. Split the Main Listing Photo

Splitting the listing photo, or creating a collage of both an interior and exterior photo, allows someone to immediately see both aspects without having to scroll through a bunch of pictures.

“Because our homes are so beautifully staged, the split photos gets it a lot of attention and sets it apart from every other listing in the MLS and online,” says Paul Moore, founder of Smith Mountain Homes

A collage can easily be made with a free app on your smartphone or simple graphic design software, such as Canva.com.

 

3. Emphasize the Selling Point of Each Room

As a realtor, you know that the main rooms of your listing have a selling point. Make sure your photos truly highlight each of these selling points so the potential buyer can immediately identify it. These features are often the reason homebuyers make an offer: “I’ve always wanted a galley kitchen, and this one is amazing!”

If it’s the natural light in the room, brand new appliances or the openness of the floor plan, show that off through your lens and make it the focal point of the shot. If the potential buyer can immediately identify all of the great selling points from six photos, it’s likely they’ll be more interested in talking with you right away.

 

4. Consider Lighting

Dark pictures with poor composition never turn out well. While you can invest in professional lighting and umbrellas, it’s not always necessary. Open the blinds and take advantage of natural light as much as you can so you don’t have to rely on the flash on your camera. Here are a few tips for getting the best lighting:

  • Dawn and dusk provide great lighting for outdoor shots.
  • Always photograph with the sun’s light—not against it.
  • Look for shadows that might change the tone of the photo or distract from the feature you’re showing off.

Don’t put any poorly lit pictures online for potential buyers—it shows that you didn’t spend quality time taking them, and in their mind, that may speak to the quality of work you do.

 

5. Experiment with Videography

If you’ve mastered photography for your listings, consider trying videography. Everyone loves a virtual tour and with the explosion of video on social media and beyond, real estate agents can get ahead of the curve and show listings in a new way.

Depending on the type of video you want to shoot, you can likely do it yourself. If you’ve invested in a nice DSLR (digital single-lens reflex), make sure to also purchase a tripod so that your panoramic videos aren’t shaky. Some agents are using drones to showcase larger properties as they provide really unique angles as well. Moore uses drones to truly capture the features of the lake front properties he sells.

If you take the time to film, don’t forget to edit every shot for a polished and professional look. You can hire freelance videographers if you are looking for complex work or a few staple videos to show off the region you sell in.

Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years and has five years of experience in the marketing world. She is currently a lifestyle blogger and has been featured on Ms. Career Girl, Inman and LifeHack.org. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07.