Fall is officially here, and that means it’s time to start thinking about fall marketing. Regardless of your location, you can take marketing inspiration from Halloween, Thanksgiving or other universal elements of fall (pumpkin spice, anyone?).
If you live in a market with four seasons, cool weather and colorful foliage make fall the best time of year to take listing photos. Here’s how to take advantage of this gorgeous season for a stellar photo shoot.
1. Get outside while you can
This time of year has its advantages, and fall weather — especially early fall — is often pleasant and makes photography pretty easy.
Cooler temperatures mean taking exterior photos won’t turn into a sweaty job. And although early fall weather can turn wet, the sun is no stranger at this time of year, so your wait for that picture-perfect day shouldn’t be too long.
Capturing those last few days of blue skies can be crucial when you live in a city that goes gray in the winter. Take it from Andrea Geller, a Chicago-based broker associate with Hot Property’s The Chaz Walters Group at Coldwell Banker Residential:
“If I am working with a seller who isn’t in a position to get the home on the market prior to our snowy and dreary winter, I encourage them to get the exterior photography done by fall,” she says. “With the online presentation being the first impression of a home, you want happy, sunny pictures.”
Drier air also means the sky is clearer, so photos taken from a distance are less likely to be distorted by haze or humidity. That makes fall an ideal season for drone photography. Just keep in mind that, for safety and liability reasons, most drone operators won’t fly in windy weather.
2. Focus on the colors
Fall color, of course, is another benefit of photographing listings at this time of year. Fall photos can make your listing stand out from the competition, especially if the property has an abundance of trees.
You may even encounter sellers who drag their feet for that very reason. Affiliate broker Micah Phillips works with Benchmark Realty LLC in Nashville, an area with gorgeous fall color. Last winter, one of his clients started talking about selling 40 acres of rural land. The man waited until this fall to go to market, Phillips says, because “he definitely wants to show off how his land looks once the trees start changing colors.”
3. Include local amenities
Keep in mind that fall photo opportunities extend beyond your listings. Local parks will be full of fall color too, and this is prime festival time in many cities. Oktoberfests, harvest festivals, Halloween events and bonfires are all events to watch for.
Include photos of these events to showcase your seller‘s area and create a feel for the lifestyle that’s built into the neighborhood. These photos are also great for marketing the city to people thinking of moving in from out of town or second-home owners.
Teresa Boardman, broker and owner of Boardman Realty in St. Paul, Minn., uses this time of year as a chance to grab attractive photos for marketing her city. She also recommends early fall for night shots, since the weather is still warm enough for outside activity.
4. Plan the day and time
As Boardman points out, however, the fall photography window can be short. In fact, peak fall color generally lasts for only two or three weeks in most areas.
“I tend to make a plan at the beginning of October so that I can get the shots I need,” Boardman says. “I have to watch the weather and reschedule if it is too rainy or windy.”
Days are also shorter in fall. That means you need to plan shoot times carefully, whether you’re taking the photos yourself or hiring a photographer. HouseLens Director of Quality Antony Boshier recommends taking exterior photos before 3:00 p.m. in fall.
“Especially after the time change, the sun is going to be lower. That can cause a lot of contrast and hard shadows, which are difficult for the camera to balance. And shadows are longer, which can cause you to end up with dark patches across the house from trees or tall structures that aren’t even on the property,” Boshier says.
5. Tidy up
Phillips also plans for the fact that fall photos may require extra prep time. The home is likely to have sticks or leaves in the gutters, on the roof or scattered around the yard and driveway.
Talk to your sellers about tidying the yard just before the photo shoot so the property doesn’t look messy. You don’t want a shabby yard to cancel out any benefit you’ve gained from fall color!
And what if you miss your fall window? Don’t worry.
“As the saying goes, ‘Real estate is local,’” Geller says. Buyers know to expect gray or snowy exteriors in late fall or winter, and you can easily retake those photos at minimal cost once the weather improves.
You can also ask your photographer or a service such as Box Brownie to touch up dreary images. Blue skies, green grass, snow removal and even landscape “staging” are all possible options.
Ultimately, as with so many other aspects of marketing, the key is to have a plan. Make the most of fall while it’s here, and arrange to refresh the content for any listings that are still on the market come spring. The result will be photos that show your listings in the best possible light, whatever the season.