Real Talk: The importance of professional photography in real estate

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A professional photographer will understand lighting, angles, space and more when photographing rooms in a house. (Photo/Peter Evans Photography)
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By Ann Duff

Table lamps make poor actors. Sofa beds just won’t take direction. And even Ron Howard would tear out his remaining hair trying to get a wall oven to grin.

It’s not glamorous, but every day, realtors try their best to make houses stand and deliver, whether they’re asking baskets and books to perk up or directing the kitchen to “say cheese.” Of course, realtors often call in the professionals – real photographers who understand lighting, angles, space and more.

Purchasers have far too little time to snap their own pictures. Sometimes, buyers live far away and want to evaluate a house long distance before hopping on a plane. Thank goodness we are far beyond the old “take a roll of 35mm to Ritz Camera and glue-stick them to a brochure” routine. That’s where the experienced, indispensable photographer has made all the difference.

I recently went to an upcoming listing and took a crop of preliminary photos and notes to send to my revered pro, Peter. These gave Peter an idea of what he’ll be working with during his real photo shoot, which will produce a full range of interior and exterior photos ready for my colorful brochure and to view online.

What you won’t see are the “Oops, should have moved those tennis shoes,” the “Who forgot to sweep the patio?” or the “Is that my face reflecting in the microwave oven?” shots.

Casting call it is not. We work with what we have, from scrappy-looking furniture to low ceilings, while begging the sunlight to gleam at the right time and the rain to stop before the garden shoot.

Getting nice photos of your home is a big deal. As the old adage says, there’s more to a book than its cover. Front door photos are fine, but it’s better to allow buyers to check out the whole enchilada, picture by picture. Who knows, your realtor might just sell your house to someone, near or far, surfing with their laptop from the comfort of a distant chair.

The writer is a realtor with McEnearney Associates, Inc. An Arlington native and Alexandria resident, Duff began her career in corporate public affairs before changing years ago to selling and leasing properties in Virginia, D.C. and Maryland.

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