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Unless you are a full-time professional photographer, you’re not as good a picture-taker as your Facebook friends say you are. Put down that glass of #humblebrag; anyone can make a sandy beach look inviting.
Unfortunately, as a real estate agent it’s pretty important that you understand at least what makes up a decent photo. Like composition. Lighting. Color. Distance.
Instagram came around, and suddenly everyone thought they were the next Ansel Adams, filtering foyers and master baths with as much subtlety as a Jackson Pollock painting.
Our smartphones are truly great cameras, and they’re all you need to adequately capture the details of most homes. While there’s no replacing the eye of a true professional when the listing has to shine, maybe a few of these apps can add some polish to your next listing promotion.
It’s powerful and not free, but also a favorite for its simplicity to do great things with your iPhone and Android shots. You don’t always have the option of shooting a house during the magic hours (just after dawn, just before dusk), but Afterlight can help you adjust exposure from brutal midday sun or tone down the contrast from the gleaming garage door.
You have plenty of ways to play with photos in Afterlight, too. (Many in-app options cost extra.) For example, you can output it to a postcard, and through a partnership with Sincerely.com, mail a card directly from the interface. That would be a nice little marketing play, huh?
An Adobe product, Aviary lets you very accurately dial in the degree to which you can fix things like sharpness and exposure. You can scroll through your camera roll photos and choose which ones to edit or add some promotional text, which I think can be effective if you share your clients’ listings on various social media platforms.
The focus feature is nice when you want to draw the eyes of potential buyers to a specific feature, like a bay window or chandelier. There are also plenty of effects that, if used right, will improve the photo, not overedit it. The interface is really cool and inspirational by itself. Aviary is free and plenty powerful, and Adobe’s influence is obvious.
Snapseed, a Google app, was recently renovated after years of being a beloved photography app. But if you weren’t a previous user, it’s all new to you, and it’s all really sharp. Pros are big fans, but agents will find it plenty usable to improve what you do for clients.
You can slide your finger within each edit function to apply improvements and touch-ups, and its features don’t get in the way so you can see the photo uncluttered when its time approve it.
However, Snapseed has a multi-undo function called Stacks that tracks each edit you make as you go. Tap it to see each step along the way, from which you can rewind or adjust each adjustment. Slick for an app. Snapseed is free, and worth some real estate on your device.
Pixlr combines a number of cool features from other apps into its popular free app. You can apply focus changes after the shot, overlay text and graphics, and create slick little collages for immediate marketing use. It has one-touch image correcting feature that will address bad lighting and poor contrast, for example.
The basics are here, too, like crop and rotate and a set of predetermined photo dimension choices.
You may be surprised at just how important good photography is to your listing. It probably impacts a listing’s level of interest much more than most agents realize. I can’t recommend enough the importance of professional photography for higher-end listings.
The speed at which potential buyers scroll through home finder apps and social media posts of properties demands that you do something to make the visuals of your listings stand out.
These apps may not increase your annual take-home, but if used right, they won’t hurt it.
If you take anything away from this column, please let it be this: Your phone take can pictures horizontally, too.
Do you use one of these photography apps? What do you think? Leave a comment and let us know!
Do you have a product for our tech expert to review? Email Craig Rowe.