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Home Builder & Developer Photography (Top 5 Things to Consider)

Photographer with lots of equipment planning his next shoot
5 min read
What you need to know for home builder photography when conducting a photo shoot for a listing property or for a community.

Photography is the art of capturing the moment. Listings with professional pictures sell for not only more money, but they also sell a lot quicker. This is because the majority of homebuyers use the Internet during the searching process. If they don’t like what they see, they have several other options right at their fingertips. This is one of the many reasons why it’s important to learn about home builder photography.

Professional photography for home builders is also important because it serves as the first impression for potential homebuyers. You only have 2 seconds to grab a buyer’s attention but 20 with a picture. According to the Wall Street Journal, buyers spend 60% of their time looking at listing photos and only 20% of their time on the descriptions for each the home and agent.

Having a quality content writer is one thing, but having professional pictures for your for-sale property or upcoming community is a whole new ball game. With only 35% of agents using professional photographers, your company can stand out, sell more homes, and receive a higher commission rate by taking advantage of a professional photographer and their skills.


Here is what you need to consider for home builder photography:


1. Capture the best features

For the home: There are three rooms which really grab a potential buyer’s attention. They are the kitchen, the bathrooms, and the bedrooms. From experience, these rooms are what most potential homebuyers gravitate towards when searching for listings online. It’s wise to get those specific rooms photographed properly to catch the eye of potential clients.

For the community: Capturing the best features of a community is a whole different playing field. There is the community clubhouse, the pool area, walking paths, water features, and many more aspects which make your community unique. But it is best to get a professional who understands the project overall. Get someone who can showcase the positive aspects of the community.


2. Understand the lighting and times of the day 

For the home: The lighting can fluctuate quite dramatically depending on the time of the day. The lighting that is the best for inside the home might differ from what is best for outside the home. For example, the kitchen might be full of fantastic natural lighting during the afternoon but be poor quality for capturing the home’s elevation.

Existing lighting can include natural lighting from the windows, distinctive light features, and fireplaces in the home. A professional photographer specialized in home interiors can ensure the lighting is optimal for a successful photo shoot. They will properly light any room to ensure it photographs its best regardless of available natural light.

For the community: Before the photo shoot even begins, it’s advised to do a day of scouting. This means scheduling an appropriate session in site to take note of what is the ideal lighting and time of the day. The sun is everything to photography for exterior shots and by knowing the best lighting times and angles makes it easy to schedule a photo shoot for the team.

Tip: Early mornings and late afternoons are often the best times for a community or home photo shoot. This is because of the dramatic lighting from shadows and of the potential for sunrises and sunsets can offer exceptional images.


3. Lifestyle images for home builder photography 

For the home: You might want to stay clear of including models when conducting a photo shoot for inside of a model home. Your clients and potential homebuyers need to be able to picture themselves living in the home. Instead, make your model photos speak for themselves. For example, take out the clutter but keep the space open and inviting to make it as appealing as possible.

For the community: There are two approaches when incorporating a lifestyle component during the photoshoot.

  • Use existing talent– Existing talent includes current residents of the community. Even though it is a genuine representation of who actually lives in your property, it often comes with some potential issues.

The issues with using this approach include a lack of understanding of the model’s comfort in front of a camera and the patience and ability to follow direction. You don’t know in advance how current residents will behave during the shoot, especially if they are children. You are also unaware if residents will show up the day of the shoot which can be a recipe for disaster.

  • Use paid talent– Paid talent refers to those who have a better understanding of how photo shoots work. After all my years of working in the real estate industry, I highly recommend using paid talent over existing talent. This is because they have no issues with scheduling and require less direction.

When you hire paid talent for a photo shoot, be sure to take pictures of them throughout the community. For example, capture them going on a jog, chilling by the community pool, or participating in social events. It’s better to capture pictures of amenities with people in them. Always consider paid talent if your budget allows.


4. Display a variety

For the home: Future homebuyers need to be able to view all aspects of the home. Be sure your professional photographer captures a variety of angles, even in the same room. By showing your target audience different viewpoints of the interior and exterior of the listing, they have a better idea of their potential investment. Drones can help with capturing the property at dramatically different angles.

For the community: Drones can not only help with capturing different angles of homes, but they can also help with capturing ideal shots of the community as well. Drones have the ability to capture images and video footage that one couldn’t possibly achieve with a ladder. Fly your drone high and wide in all areas of the community. Show off its beautiful features and natural surroundings to your audience.


5. Find the perfect professional

For both home and community projects, finding the right professional photographer can make the world’s difference during the process. When reaching out to professional photographers, it’s imperative that you have more than one option. Receive multiple samples from their previous work.

Many photographers specialize in different types of photography. Whether that be with lifestyle, landscaping, or interiors/exteriors, it’s good to know their area of expertise before hiring them.

For instance, it’s common to hire different professionals depending on the project goals. The professional photographer for the community might have a completely different set of skills than the professional photographer for product photography.

These five tips are what all home builders should consider for home builder photography.


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Terry Zelen

About Terry Zelen

Creative Director | Consultant | Author | President of Zelen Communications

Terry Zelen is a seasoned Creative Director with more than 35 years of experience in Home Builder advertising and marketing.

He is the founder of The Punch List, which is an online blog to help inform home builders and developers on strategic marketing insights to fuel their firm.


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