The Importance of Real Estate Listing Photos

A picture is worth a thousand words, and could be worth thousands of dollars when it comes to attracting the right buyers to your home.

Let’s face it, buyers form their first impression of your home based on the online listing. As they say, web appeal is the new curb appeal and clicks equal closings.

Today, over 96% of prospective home buyers report using the internet as an informational resource during their real estate search. With the prolific use of internet search engines and real estate websites, prospective buyers have access to an incredible amount of information. This information can be helpful for them. It can also confuse and overwhelm them. Rest assured, top notch, stand-out real estate photos will hold strong, clear and bright in the mind of any buyer and help your home stand out from the competition!

And the quality of the listing photos aren’t the only factor homebuyers consider, and of equal importance is the number of photos. In fact, a recent study found that of recently sold homes priced under $500,000, those that included eleven or more photos sold 20% faster, and for $11,000 more than those including fewer photos. The numbers improved further for homes priced above $700,000 as these homes sold 37% faster, and for $25,000 more!

What do these developments mean for homeowners? Sellers need to hire a real estate agent capable of producing professional photography that stands out and appeals to the ultimate decision makers, home buyers.

The home buying process starts with the click of a mouse and can result in the largest purchase of a lifetime. The first, primary exterior photo is absolutely critical to the sale of a home. When using real estate search websites, the buyer usually narrows the search criteria with elements such as price, location, number of rooms and lot size, so their next click action is based on photography. After clicking on a specific listing, the following interior and additional exterior photographs need to validate the initial click through decision, and in turn motivate the viewer to schedule a visit. The number of photos, as well as the quality of those photos and their ability to effectively highlight such factors as: the condition of the home, the level of finish, quality of materials, and the size of the space of the space are all important factors.

As buyers begin to narrow down the margins of their search, the key enticing element of their initial search will be photos. For a home to sell quickly and for top dollar, it needs to entice as many prospective buyers as possible. For this to happen, the listings must have strong visual appeal. The listing must include numerous photos of the property in question, all of a standard size and of superior quality.

Top real estate professionals will specialize in capturing and editing photographs that provide warm lighting and ascetically pleasing angles, resulting in increased click through rates and home interest. In fact, 61% more clicks occur on houses captured using a DSLR camera and enhanced using the proper photo editing software.

Social media’s involvement in the real estate industry is growing and it’s increasing the importance of real estate photography. According to, 90.5% of Realtors use social media to some extent. It’s proven that out of all the posting formats (photos, text, videos, links) on Facebook, photographs generate the most “likes” and by far the most “shares”. Not only will high quality home photographs increase click through rates on traditional MLS and real estate syndication websites, photographs posted on social media networks with share-worthy appeal can spread virally. Social sites such as Instagram and Pinterest exist for photograph sharing. Agents and sellers should take advantage of these growing social networks and make use of their real estate photography investment by posting beautiful, unique and high quality home photos that will extend their audience reach.

The real estate industry has quickly progressed online, and with that change, home listings are at the fingertips of buyers. On some websites, buyers can actually sort property results by the number of photographs available, proving just how important real estate photos have become. When real estate search engines show a multitude of homes based on buyer criteria, photographs can win their attention. The importance of real estate photography is clear and it continues to gain value with the digital evolution of the real estate market.

Some Tips to Ensure Your Photos Stand Out

The Photo’s Purpose:

The purpose of a real estate photo should be to sell real estate. Although staging rooms to look appealing is always helpful, be careful not to focus all the attention on furniture and decor. The buyer is not purchasing these items. A strong, real estate photograph will focus more on the buildings/rooms architecture, design and space.

Simplify Space:

Remove everything from the image that distracts from your purpose of making the home look attractive. Remove extra furniture adding only striking decorative items. Keep an eye out for things that can be done, or removed to improve the photo. Some examples are towels hanging from the oven door, or small piles of “things” that don’t do anything to produce a clean, strong and desirable image.

Color and Enhancement:

There is a lot you can do to improve your images, notably with color. White-balance and the type of light source are two major factors that photographers must understand and control. Don’t let an bad color detract from the purpose of your image. On this note, render interiors light and bright. Bright interiors are more appealing to buyers than dark moody ones.

Image Priority: The Front Exterior Shot is the Most Important Featured Image

Make sure the exterior shot is strong and communicates as many of the properties main selling features as possible. In web and print advertising, real estate agents repeatedly need to use one image to promote the property. This, in most cases is the front exterior shot- so it should be the cream of the crop! Some extra time should on this shot.

Size and Crop Appropriately:

Vertical format (portrait) images don’t work well for most real estate advertising unless you know the shot is for a flyer or a magazine ad that requires such a format. Most real estate websites are designed to work best with horizontal (landscape mode) images. A mixture of horizontal and vertical format images on a website or gallery can be very distracting. Nothing about your images should confuse your viewers.