Editor’s note: Holly Schwartz is the marketing director for Torelli Realty, a boutique real estate company in Orange County, Calif.

People love pictures! In real estate seeing pictures of a home is essential. Buyers use them to judge whether or not to go see a home in person. Sellers want to see them to see how their agent is marketing the property.

Unfortunately, sometimes house photos just look bad. We’ve all seen bad pictures — ones where the colors are dull, the exposure is too light or too dark, the image is slanted, or the picture is pixelated.

Does a bad picture do more harm than good? In some cases, most definitely.

I first heard of Picnik when I was at the Inman News Real Estate Connect conference in San Francisco this past summer. The samples of pictures that were modified using Picnik impressed me enough to give it a try. I’ve tested it and believe it is definitely worth a whirl because it has some perks that will make the life of many real estate agents/photographers a lot simpler.

  • Picnik is free. You do have to sign in and create an account for the basic service, which has suited my purposes just fine. (However, there is an option to upgrade if you choose to do so.)
  • Picnik is extremely user-friendly. All you have to do is upload a photo on their website. Then there are simple options for altering a photo like adjusting the colors and sharpening the image. Literally, all it takes is a few clicks to make the adjustments.
  • Because Picnik is a Web-based platform you can "fix" images from anywhere. This is increasingly important as agents are mobile. It’s no longer necessary to be on a computer that has the editing programs you need because you can access this website on any computer, iPad or notebook that has an Internet connection.
  • One of the best things about Picnik is that it can resize photos for you. This is extremely important. Not only do you want the photo to be shown correctly, but some multiple listing services require the photo to fit special sizing specifications. With Picnik you can easily make these adjustments.

This is also helpful for some social media sites that have size requirements for "Gravatars." (a Gravatar is defined as a "globally recognized avatar," and an avatar is an image you use to represents you. It appears beside your name when you do things like comment or post on a blog. A Gravatar follows you on any site.)

Overall, I think Picnik provides some terrific functions that real estate agents can use to their advantage. More and more the research is showing that potential homebuyers want to see pictures. In fact, the research indicates that homes with the most photos actually get more views online. (For instance, when you go to the number of photos of each home is emphasized.)

Why is that? Remember, your first showing is no longer in person. In the majority of all showings, it’s actually online. Homebuyers are using photos as a screening process to determine if an in-person showing is worth their time.

Picnik is absolutely a winner, in my opinion, for real estate agents. We know that pictures are important to online house hunters because real estate and the Internet are both visual mediums. So give your audience what they want. Does your audience want drab, visually unattractive photos or will they be more impressed with bright, stimulating images? The choice is clear.

Using Picnik is, excuse the pun, a picnic because of the cost-effectiveness and the user-friendly functions. For those real estate agents who are not able to invest in a professional photographer, Picnik is a great way to enhance the quality of your photos.

Are you using Picnik? If not, what tools do you use to modify your images?

View the original blog post.

Holly Schwartz is the marketing director for Torelli Realty, a boutique real estate company in Orange County, Calif. She enjoys dishing up a daily blog about 365 Things To Do In Costa Mesa. Prior to working at Torelli Realty she worked as a TV producer for the HGTV shows "House Hunters" and "House Hunters International".

Future of Real Estate Marketing is a part of Inman News.

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