Show It Dont Tell It- The importance of GOOD Real Estate Photography

Study reveals the importance of good real estate photography

The importance of good real estate photography was reported by a Wall Street Journal article.  The article references a study by Professor Seiler on the Ocular Tracking of home buyers viewing online listings.  The report is quite dry but the Wall Street Journal summed it up very nicely.  What this study reveals is the importance of good real estate photography is of the utmost importance when listing your home.

20 Seconds for Love at First Sight

Results of an ocular study130321133004Researchers tracking the eye movements of subjects who looked at online home listings found that more than 95% of users viewed the first photo—the one that shows the exterior of the home—for a total of 20 seconds. After that, their eyes tended to flit all over the screen, according to Michael Seiler, founder and director of the Institute for Behavioral and Experimental Real Estate at Old Dominion University at Norfolk, Va.

“Without an eye-catching photo, the battle is lost before it begins,” Prof. Seiler says. “You have to grab people’s attention within two seconds. Do it the way a billboard does.”

What does the study tell us about the importance of good real estate photography

  1. Almost a 100% of online home buyers viewed the very first photograph of a home
  2. The first photograph is typically the front exterior view of a home and is viewed for 20 seconds.  After the exterior view their eyes tended to wander around the page.
  3. After the first photo 76% of the online home buyers viewed the property details like the number of bedrooms, baths, etc…
  4. Only about 60% of the home buyers actually viewed the agents description of the home.
  5. 60% of the time spent viewing the listing was spent viewing the photographs, 3x as much as any other section of the listing.

Professor Seiler goes on to state that “Without an eye-catching photo, the battle is lost before it begins, You have to grab people’s attention within two seconds. Do it the way a billboard does.”  You have to remember that a home buyers first exposure to the home is on the internet.  A home buyer performs a search, then a list of homes with limited details pops up.  Your home will be competing with anywhere from a few to 50 or more homes in a list….  your home needs to stand out with a great photograph.

Two Agents, Same House

The following two photographs are the same house taken with the same equipment.  I let a fellow agent borrow my camera equipment to photograph a listing.  I went back and photographed the house myself.  A prior career as a professional photographer gives me the knowledge I need to take stunning photographs of a home.  Mine is the first photo of the two.  It is important to try and get full sun on the front and a blue sky in the back.  Unfortunately this house face  almost due north but I was able to catch a little sun on the front at 7:30 am.

So based on the study, which home would buyers be drawn to.  Most would be drawn to the first, its just pretty, the second is exposed improperly and has a ton of perspective distortion.  As the study state you have two seconds to capture a buyers attention.  There is also a little secret I learned while in photography school and studying art theory.  A photo with more contrast will draw a persons eye to it.  So when you get the blue sky and sun on the front you have automatically created a photo with more contrast.

Hire a Real Estate Agent that Provides Good Real Estate Photography

I think it goes with out saying, after reading the article and study, that the quality of the photography for your home is one of the most critical aspects of the marketing of your home.  Agents should no longer be taking photos of your home in 15 minutes with their cell phone or a cheap point and shoot camera.  A good agent should be hiring a professional photographer or be competent enough to take quality pictures of your home.  When interviewing agents to list your home, don’t be afraid to ask for a sample of listing photographs from some recent homes they have put on the market.


This article, Show It Dont Tell It- The Importance of Good Real Estate Photography, is provided by Kevin Vitali your Merrimack Valley Realtor.  Kevin makes a commitment to provide is home sellers with professional level photography to market their homes.  Call Kevin for your marketing consultation of your home at 978-360-0422.