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Tip #162:  Like a Pro

Scanning through online rental listings, it quickly becomes apparent that some landlords are good photographers, and others — not so much.

They say art is in the eye of the beholder, but when it comes to rental photos, you can’t leave it to chance.  Bad photos can mean fewer applicants and longer vacancies — and that hurts your bottom line.

Anyone can take a great photo if you follow the rules:

Before you shoot, set the stage.  Unfurnished properties are less appealing and may not move as quickly as those that are staged.  Consider a furniture rental package for a quick set change from “bare” to “homey”.  One or two vignettes — like a nice bed and nightstand paired with a sofa, coffee table and colorful painting — will usually do the trick.

Search for the little details and eliminate distractions like smudged windows, because those will look much bigger in the photos. What sort of view do you see out the window?  If it’s not pleasing, adjust the shot.

Use a quality camera, even if that means borrowing one for the day.  You’ll be able to use these photos over and over, so it’s worth the effort.  Use a tripod to eliminate blurring.  This also forces you to consider where you’ll find the best shots.

Make sure you shoot with lots of light.   No one ever complains that there is too much natural light, but they do notice if the place looks gloomy.

Indoor photos are usually best mid-day with windows open. Generally, the light source should be behind you when you shoot, but adjust for shadows — they look ominous.

Experiment with angles.  Usually the wider-angle settings will work better for apartment homes as this creates a feeling of expanse.  A few close-ups are good, especially if they track special features listed in the rental ad.

Editing software is a great tool to clean up mistakes or enhance a property’s best features.  Just be careful that you don’t create a false image — like photoshopping in an imaginary ocean view.

See last week’s Landlord Quick Tip.

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