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Alex Stretton
Alex is the Founder of Elements Property, a UK company with a drive to help estate and letting agents market their property better, faster and with more wow factor!
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What do the numbers on a camera lens mean?

Ever wondered what all those numbers (and other stuff) on your camera lens actually mean? Today, we’re breaking that down.

One of the most important factors in property photography is using a high-quality wide-angle lens, as it allows you to fit more into the shot and gives a better overall impression of each room. But what do the numbers on a camera lens mean?

When you’re faced with them all at once, they can be a little overwhelming. But, they’re actually not as complicated as you might think.

If you’re not new around here, you’ll know that the Sigma 10-20mm EX DC HSM 3.5 wide-angle lens is our top choice for property photography, so this is the lens that we’ll be using as an example.

What does 10-20mm mean?

These are the most important numbers when considering a lens for property photography.

These numbers refer to the focal length of the lens. While millimeters (mm) are used as a basic description of the lens, this is not a measurement of any dimensions of the lens itself.

The numbers are actually a calculation of an optical distance of converging light rays and… I’m gonna stop here as it gets very technical and it really doesn’t matter.

Just know that the lower the number – in this case, 10mm – the more you can fit in the shot. For property photography, we want a nice low number so we can fit lots of detail in the shot.

With the lens fully zoomed out at a 10mm focal length, you can fit loads of the room in the frame, perfect for showing off your vendors home like a pro.

To help complete this picture for you, let’s look at the other end of the spectrum. Imagine you’re on holiday in the Serengeti with a camera trying to photograph a pride of lions, from far away (obviously).

You’re gonna need a camera that you can zoom in from a long way away. For this, you’d need a high focal length e.g. 600mm.

Back to the 10-20mm lens though, 10mm is on the low end of the scale. For reference – you’re typical iPhone X shoots at a 28mm focal length (remember, higher number so fits less of the room in shot).

Below, you can see an example of why images look much more professional when shooting with a DSLR and wide-angle lens with a 10mm focal length vs a phone with a 28mm focal length.

If your lens just has one number on it, such as 85mm, it means you’ve got a fixed lens (aka a prime lens).

You don’t really want a prime lens for your main camera for property photography as you’re gonna want more control over zooming in and out (slightly) to perfectly compose your shot, for that you need a zoom lens.

This Sigma model is a zoom lens, offering a range from 10 to 20mm, which can be adjusted by twisting the zoom collar.

To recap and summarise; the lower the focal length number, the more you can fit in the photo. Perfect, moving on…

What does 1:3.5 mean?

This indicates the maximum aperture of your lens, this is the size of the hole that light it lets in. The lower the number, the more light is allowed in. The ratio looks confusing, but this is simply how apertures are measured; just pay attention to the number after the colon!

A useful analogy for aperture is thinking of a water pipe. A wide pipe lets through a lot of water quickly, a thin pipe lets water through more slowly.

Some lenses have a range of aperture, for example 1:3.5-5.6. This means that the more you zoom in, the narrower the aperture will become, and the less light is let in.

For property and real estate photography, we advise keeping things simple. Allow the aperture to be set automatically by using Auto-flash off mode. This way you don’t have to worry about controlling the light levels hitting the sensor yourself for each shot.

Want to learn more about how to take property photos? Download our Ultimate Guide to Property Photography for FREE!

What does AF / M mean?

AF lets you know that the camera has built-in auto-focus, whereas M (or MF) refers to manual focus.

This means that you can either let the lens adjust itself to provide the best focus for the subject, or override this by switching to manual focus to create the desired shot.

Autofocus is perfect for property photography, as it helps you to save time fiddling with manual controls. It also makes your property shoot more efficient.

If you’re finding your shots are always a little blurry, you could have your lens set to M, flip this to AF and you’re good to go!

What does EX mean?

This indicates that it is a pro lens, and therefore higher quality than its non-pro counterparts.

Lens manufacturers make many different lenses to suit various budgets and usage requirements. We’d always recommend investing money in the lens rather than the body of the camera if you have budget constraints. Pro lenses are just the ticket for property photography.

What does DG / DC mean?

This refers to whether the Sigma lens uses a full frame (DG) or cropped frame (DC) sensor. Other camera manufacturers use different letters for this. For example, Canon uses EF and EF-S, whereas Nikon uses FX and DX.

What does HSM mean?

This tells you that the lens uses a silent wave motor. Again, other companies use different letters for this, but if you see initials ending in “SM”, it’s probably referring to a silent wave motor.

Three great advantages of this are 1. A much faster focus than standard lenses. 2. Near-silent adjustment of the lens 3. Less or no movement of the end of the lens when focusing.

Now you’re a camera lens expert…

…take that newfound knowledge and apply it to the next property in your portfolio, instead of spending thousands of pounds a year to hire a professional photographer.

However, no matter how well you know your camera kit, you’re bound to need a few edits here and there, and that’s where Elements Property’s Image Enhancement service comes in.

Register today and use code BLOG50 to receive your first three orders absolutely free!

Mirrorless cameras: The future for property and real estate photography?

Mirrorless cameras are something of an emerging technology in the field of photography, so you may be wondering whether they are the right choice for property photography.

DSLR cameras are currently the industry standard for professional real estate photography, so let’s compare them with mirrorless cameras and see what they both have to offer.

What’s the difference between DSLR and mirrorless cameras?

Until hearing the phrase “mirrorless camera”, you might not have been aware that modern digital cameras use mirrors.

Just like traditional 35mm cameras, a mirror inside the DSLR camera reflects the light entering the lens through a prism and into the viewfinder so you can preview the shot. Pressing the shutter button opens the shutter and flips the mirror up, allowing light from the lens to fall on the image sensor, which captures the picture.

Mirrorless cameras cut out the middleman, and light from the lens shines directly onto the image sensor. This provides a preview of the image on the digital display screen.

Size and weight

DSLRs are often quite big and heavy, as they need to contain the prism and mirror setup. The simpler design of mirrorless cameras allows them to be more compact.

If you’re travelling between properties or carrying additional kit like lenses and spare batteries, mirrorless cameras offer great flexibility.

Battery life

DSLRs generally offer better battery life, as they can be used without the LCD screen. Mirrorless cameras rely on the screen and/or the electronic viewfinder to preview images, both of which use a lot of power.

However, if you tend to use the LCD display on your DSLR, you won’t see much difference in battery life, and both types of camera use removable batteries, so you can always bring spares.

Image quality

It used to be the case that mirrorless cameras offered lower quality images, but developments in camera technology mean that they are now on par with their DSLR counterparts.

Manufacturers are now able to produce more sensitive chips, and some mirrorless cameras even use the same APS-C sensors that are found in the majority of DSLR cameras.

Both types of camera offer great image quality, but if you choose a mirrorless camera, be careful to purchase a newer model to ensure the best results.

Shooting speed

While both types of cameras are able to shoot at fast shutter speeds, mirrorless cameras have the edge here. The simpler mechanism used by mirrorless cameras makes it quicker to shoot images one after another, as the camera has less to do for each shot.

Mirrorless cameras also have the option to use an electronic shutter rather than a mechanical one. This means that, instead of a shutter physically lifting to expose the image, you set how long the sensor reads the light. This again allows for fast shooting speeds.

Lenses and accessories

There is a wide range of lenses and accessories available for DSLR cameras, but there is much less on the market for mirrorless models. However, more and more options are becoming available as the popularity of mirrorless cameras rises.

While the array of DSLR lens choices is useful for professional photographers or those looking to capture close-up or quick-moving subjects, a high-quality wide-angle lens is all you really need for property photography. This means that the mirrorless options aren’t as restrictive as they seem, and having fewer choices is sometimes much easier.

What’s best for property photography?

It’s hard to say definitively one way or the other here, as mirrorless cameras are still the new kid on the block. While the options are currently a little limited, their portability makes them a great choice for taking around to the various properties on your portfolio, and they still offer excellent image quality if you’re able to buy a newer model.

No matter what camera you use, check out our Ultimate Guide to Property Photography to make sure you get off to the best start. If your images require any editing, Elements Property’s Image Enhancement service will perfect your property photography shots.

Sign up for a free trial when you create an account by using code BLOG49 and we’ll retouch your images for free!

Teach your vendors how to photograph their own home during COVID-19 lockdown

During the current COVID-19 lockdown, many industries have been unable to continue business as usual.

The property sector is one that has seen a great deal of delays and disruption, with property viewings, valuations and even move-in dates affected. To continue moving things forward during the lockdown, you may wish to teach your vendors and landlords how to photograph their own home.

This article is an overview of my Rightmove webinar “Teach your customers (and yourself) how to take great photos”, which I delivered in April.

Photograph a house using a mobile phone

You might not think that you can take high-quality property photos without a high-tech camera or years of photography experience, but you can! (Just not quite as good as if using a DSLR with wide-angle lens.)

The most important thing is to follow a few essential guidelines to ensure that the composition of the shots is professional and enticing, as this can’t be edited in post – more on this later.

Image settings

Before taking photos, your vendors should ensure that their image settings are as follows:

  • Image type: JPG or PNG
  • Image size: 3–6MB (No larger than 10MB)
  • Aspect ratio: 4:3

Camera settings

Once they open the camera app, these are the most important settings for your vendors to check:

  • Mode: Photo
  • Flash: Off
  • HDR: On
  • Filter: Off
  • Live mode: Off

 

Key shots to take

To make sure that potential buyers get a good understanding of what the property has to offer, we recommend that your vendors take these key shots as a minimum:

  • Front external: 1–2 shots
  • Living room: 1–2 shots
  • Dining room: 1–2 shots
  • Hall/stairs: 1 shot
  • Kitchen: 1–2 shots
  • Bedrooms: 1–2 shots each
  • Bathroom: 1–2 shots
  • Rear external: 1–2 shots
  • Garden: 1–3 shots

Composition tips

How your vendors position the subject in the frame can make or break the appeal of the photo. Here are some tips for getting great property shots:

  • Shoot in landscape
  • Take photos from an angle instead of straight on
  • Shoot from waist height
  • Frame things in the corners
  • Shoot through an open door
  • Look for the Golden Section

Learn more about each of these in 5 tips for composing your property shots like a pro.

Property marketing during COVID-19

As many of your day-to-day duties may not currently be possible due to lockdown restrictions, this is a great time to really focus on marketing your properties.

People have more free time to browse properties online, and this means that your listings will be under more scrutiny! Take the time to write engaging, unique descriptions, add floor plans and photos of local views and features, and do whatever else you can to create exceptional listings.

One of those ‘whatever else’ items could also be a Video Slideshow, these are an excellent way to show off a property in a HD branded video for a very cost effective price.

Spending more time on your listings will make them look more professional, allowing you to win more instructions and be able to charge more for your services. This is particularly important if your estate agency has been struggling financially during lockdown.

Do your vendors’ property photos need tweaking?

After you teach your vendors how to photograph their own home, you might still need to tweak the images to make sure that they show the property at its best.

Elements Property’s Image Enhancement service is exactly what you need to transform photos that suffice into photos that wow!

Sign up for a free trial by entering code BLOG51 when you create an account.

Crop sensor vs full frame: What’s best for photographing houses?

What camera (or sensor) type do you need for property photography?

If you’re a more advanced photographer, you may have come across the terms “crop sensor” and “full frame”, and the various features of each.

Choosing the best camera for property photography is a tough task, so let’s take a closer look at crop sensor vs full frame cameras.

WARNING: This blog is a little more technical than our normal content, but if you’re looking to deepen your understanding around the two different sensor types available, then you’re in the right place.

What is a sensor?

It’s the bit inside the camera where the light hits. It converts an optical image into an electronic signal; the result – a digital image.

What is a full frame sensor?

Simply put, full frame cameras use a sensor with the same dimensions of traditional 35mm film. Full frame cameras are significantly more expensive than crop sensor cameras and in all honesty, are better suited to the pros.

What is a crop sensor?

As the name alludes to, a crop sensor is a ‘cropped’ version of the full frame sensor. The most common type of crop sensor on a modern DSLR are called APS-C sensors. You can’t talk about crop sensor cameras without touching on ‘crop factor’.

What is crop factor?

A term that comes into play with crop sensor cameras is ‘crop factor’. We’ll keep this brief.

“Crop factor” is the ratio of the sensor size to 35mm / full frame. Take the provided crop factor number, multiply it with the focal length of the lens and you’ll get the equivalent focal length relative to 35mm film / full-frame.

To make things slightly interesting (complicated!), different camera manufacturers have different crop factor numbers. Canon = 1.6x, Nikon = 1.5x.

Let’s look at an example and break this down…

Say your using a Canon EOS 4000D (crop sensor) camera, and you’ve snapped on the wonderful lens that is the 10-20mm Sigma wide-angle lens, and you’re fully zoomed out to the max to the 10mm focal length to fit as much as possible in the shot – this is our scenario.

10mm (focal length) x 1.6 (crop factor on Canon) = 16mm.

In other words, on a crop sensor camera the figure you see on the lens is not correct. You have to apply the crop factor for it to be correct.

Got it? No?

Another way of summarising this is that crop sensors crop out some of the image compared to a full frame camera! Simple.

I think we can park the technicalities here.

Crop sensor vs full frame cameras

Without diving even deeper into the technical aspects, here are the most practical pros and cons of both types of sensor when considering it in the context of property photography.

Pros of full frame sensors

  • Performs better in high or low light
  • Higher quality image
  • Wider angle

Cons of full frame sensors

  • Significantly more expensive
  • Larger and more cumbersome

Pros of crop sensors

  • Much cheaper
  • More compact and portable

Cons of crop sensors

  • Some of the images is cropped out

Which sensor is best for property photography?

I’ll make this simple. The crop sensor.

If you’re worried about cropping out too much of the shot, don’t be. Just zoom out more on the internals and/or stand back a little on the externals.

You really don’t need to go out and buy an expensive full frame camera. It’s perfectly possible and easy to achieve great property photos using a crop sensor camera.

End of.

Buy a high quality wide-angle lens

Instead of splashing out loads on a full frame camera, buy a crop sensor camera and a good wide-angle lens. Lenses are essential when it comes to the overall quality of your property photographs.

As we’ve learned above, a 10mm focal length will actually work out to be 16mm. Don’t worry about this. It’s not an issue, at all. Your shots will still look sensational and fit lots it. Check out these examples all shot with a crop sensor camera and the Sigma 10-20mm wide-angle lens.

Image Enhancement

Sometimes it’s quicker, easier and cheaper to tidy up your shots after the fact rather than trying to set up the perfect lighting, framing and camera settings.

If you’re getting decent shots that just look a little dull or that could do with cleaning up, Image Enhancement is an excellent use of your time and budget.

By lifting the shadows, straightening shots, adding blue skies and removing clutter, a decent photo can be turned into an exceptional one.

Elements Property

Of course, we don’t all have the skills, time or software to work a little post-production magic on our photos. That’s where Elements Property comes in.

Our Image Enhancement service will polish your existing property photos for just a few pounds, and in as little as 3 hours. Simply send us your photos and we’ll return them at their best. You won’t have to lift a finger—or shell out for a pricey full frame camera.

Use code BLOG48 when you sign up, and we’ll give you a completely free trial of our Image Enhancement service.

START FREE TRIAL

 

7 simple steps to photograph a house at dusk

You’ve seen those really sexy dusk photos on higher-end properties. Who says you can’t do it on any property?

Photographing a house at dusk is a brilliant way to create striking external images and, despite what you may assume, it’s actually a piece of cake.

Don’t listen to those blogs that overcomplicate things. Listen to us and you’ll get shots like these…

But, isn’t dusk photography really advanced?

Your vendors will think it is, which is why they’ll love you if you can do it, but no it’s not.

Google other blogs on ‘dusk photography’ or ‘night photography’ and they’ll have you believe that you absolutely must be an experienced professional with all the gear!

Topics that will get you scratching your head include: getting your aperture or f.stops bang on, playing around with ISO, balancing shutter speeds, metering exposures, adjusting white balance, combining multiple exposures in one, or even… using a dreaded tripod!

What are the benefits of photographing houses at night?

Houses look extremely inviting when it’s darker out but the internal lights are glowing. Using this type of photo as the main image on your listing will make it stand out from the rest of the results.

By offering dusk photography to your vendors, you’ll show that you’re willing and able to do something your competitors aren’t – bring a touch of luxury service to their regular family home! This may well be enough to help you win the instruction.

Property photos shot at dusk are different, eye-catching and enticing. They can create more interest in the property and help lead to a quicker sale.

Switch in a dusk photo as your main Rightmove image

Rightmove say the first week is VITAL for your listing. If interest is not where you (or your vendor) are expecting it to be, try switching out the main image shown on the listing.

Start with a regular image shot in the daytime, then mix it up after a week or so with a lovely glowing dusk shot to get the people going and the enquiries rolling in.

This does make a difference, with a 2–4% increase in detailed views if you change the main image (Rightmove stat).

What’s the best time to photograph a house at dusk?

We say that the perfect time is around 20 minutes after sunset, as this gives a great balance of light and atmosphere.

Obviously, the amount of light will vary depending on the time of year and amount of cloud in the sky, but 20 minutes post sunset is a good starting point.

Do I need a tripod and flash to photograph a house at dusk?

No. Just try to keep very still when taking the shot. Crouch, try to lean or support your arm against something, hold your breath and capture the shot.

We’re not massive fans of either flash or tripods here at Elements. The good news is, even when shooting low light external dusk photography, neither is needed. Hooray!

How do I photograph a house at dusk?

First, a bit of background to set the scene: The date is 27th August, sunset was 8:04 pm, and there was a fair bit of cloud in the sky—you couldn’t see the sun anywhere.

Alex was using his Canon 70D with the Sigma 10-20mm wide-angle lens. You can check out one of our other articles to learn more about the best camera and lens for property photography.

Now, you know us. We’re all about keeping thing super simple here. Here are the simple steps that Alex took when shooting this 3-bed detached house in Nottingham.

#1: Shoot 20 mins after sunset

Check when sunset is by using a website like timeanddate.com or just ask Google “when is sunset in [my city]?”

Around 20 minutes after sunset is your prime dusk shooting window. Don’t worry if it’s a bit before or after, although before is better. If you leave it too late, say 40 mins after sunset, it may be too dark.

#2: Turn on all the lights

Turn on every single internal and external light switch you can find. The more the better. By taking the shots around 20 minutes after sunset, these lights will kick out a beautiful warm glow.

#3: Set your camera to ‘flash off mode’

Spin your mode dial to ‘Flash off’ mode. This is a fully automatic shooting mode that will prevent the flash from popping up and firing.

According to our Canon EOS 70D manual, this mode is “effective for capturing the particular ambience of a scene, such as candlelight scenes.” I would add “…and dusk property photography”.

#4: Set ISO to auto

ISO is about ‘film speed’. Said another way, the darker the light levels, the higher the ISO number should be. Your camera should be more than capable of choosing the correct ISO on its own.

Find a way to set ISO to auto. If you follow our recommendations for how to set your camera up for property photography, it should be set to auto already.

#5: Focus on the house

Point your camera directly at the house and lightly press the shutter button to focus the camera on the house.

Avoid pointing the camera at the ground or the sky when focusing the shot.

#6: Keep still

Light will be low, so you’ll need to keep still to prevent camera blur.

Whenever you can, look for something to help support you. Lean on a fence, against a tree, sit down—whatever it is, just try to support your arms.

Then, take a deep breath, hold it, and take the shot.

#7: Enhance in Photoshop

Unless you get very lucky and there is a beautiful orangey-red sky present when shooting (the shepherds will be delighted!) then you’ll need to edit one in. This is where Elements Property can help with our Image Enhancement service.

You (or we) also need to teak a few other levels to get your dusk shots glowing!

Still not sure how to photograph a house at night?

These tips should help you to get started, but you may need some help when it comes to creating those perfect images to entice buyers and win instructions.

Download our Ultimate Guide to Property Photography for more advice, or take advantage of our Image Enhancement service to tweak your nighttime property photos and make sure that they give the best impression of your special property.

If you’re an agent or property photographer, use BLOG47 for a free Image Enhancement trial when you register your account.

Tips and techniques for capturing amazing property photos (Rightmove webinar)

In a tough property market, you have to be exceptional to survive. There’s no room for average.

One of the simplest and most effective things you can do to turn your average listings into exceptional listings is to focus on property photography. Get your photography right and the benefits are numerous. You’ll create wonderful first impressions, attract more enquiries and win more instructions.

Photography is a fantastic tool to visually show everyone how you do things. If your photos are exceptional, people will associate you with an exceptional service.

Capturing amazing property photos isn’t as complicated as you might expect. In this summary of Rightmove’s recent webinar, given by Elements Property’s own Alex Stretton, we’ll give you the lowdown on the most important property photography tips and techniques to get you shooting like a pro!

If you’re not already signed up to receive the incredible content Rightmove puts out for agents each week, sign up to the Rightmove Hub right now!

The impact of amazing property photos

First impressions count. It’s a cliché for a reason. Rightmove listings has just have three seconds to make the right first impression. Don’t forget that this is also when people will make their first impression of your company or brand, so make sure it’s a good one!

One of the first things that potential customers will associate with your name is your photographs.

If you were a homeowner or landlord, who would you choose? The agent who takes five dull, uninspiring photos, or the agent who puts the effort in and takes 12 bright, beautifully composed shots?

It’s a no-brainer.

Pre-shoot setup

Preparing the property before the shoot is one of the simplest things you can do to improve your photos.

Ask the vendor to tidy up beforehand, move cars and wheelie bins out of shot, turn on all the lights, and open doors, curtains and blinds.

These may seem like minor points but you’d be surprised at how often they’re overlooked, and how much difference they can make.

Use a wide-angle lens

Even if you’re completely inexperienced when it comes to property photos, the right equipment will put you well on your way to professional-looking shots.

The most important tool in your property photography kit is a wide-angle lens. This will allow you to fit more into the shot, giving a more spacious feel. Because human eyes are built to see things in a wide angle, these photos give a more accurate impression of the property.

We recommend the Sigma 10–20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM wide-angle lens with autofocus, which retails for around £300 to £320. Make sure that the lens is the right fit for your camera brand before you buy!

Purchase a DSLR camera

You may have been able to get away with a point-and-shoot camera for many years, but estate agents can no longer afford to slack off when it comes to property photos.

DSLR cameras provide huge amounts of functionality and customisability through interchangeable lenses and technical settings.

We recommend the Canon EOS 40000D (£230), or the Nikon D3500 (£360). These are both great entry-level models that will give you amazing results.

You can save money by purchasing just the camera body and buying a wide-angle lens separately.

Essential camera settings

When you’ve got the right equipment, you can take great shots with just a few basic settings.

If you’re new to photography and DSLR cameras, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Here are the only settings you need to master to capture amazing property photos:

Image format

  • Save images as JPG rather than RAW.
  • An ideal image file size is 3–6 MB.
  • An ideal resolution is 4272 x 2848 pixels.
  • Setting your camera to 12 Megapixels will give great quality images with a reasonable file size.

Shooting settings

  • Set your shutter speed between 1/5 (slower) and 1/25 (faster), depending on the light. Slower shutter speeds let in more light and are better for darker conditions, but increase the risk of blurring.
  • Set your aperture using the Av or Ev button, depending on your camera brand. This allows you to choose the size of the aperture (f-number) while the camera automatically selects a shutter speed for the correct exposure
  • Using the camera’s internal landscape mode will enhance blues and greens in external shots and keep both close and distant objects in focus.
  • Save time and money by not using an external flash or tripod.

Compose your shots like a pro

Amazing property photos should get people excited about booking a viewing. By taking the time to properly compose your shots, you can improve the visual appeal of your photos with very little effort.

Here are some top composition tips for property photos:

  • Always shoot in landscape orientation. Along with the wide-angle lens, this will help to capture even the tiniest en suite.
  • Crouch down and shoot at waist height to keep walls vertical.
  • Frame the shot by aligning objects in the corners, such as windows, door frames, or where the walls and ceiling meet.
  • Shoot through an open door and include the door frame in the shot. This produces inviting photos and is a great way to capture small rooms
  • Use the Golden Ratio when composing your shots.
  • Show off your property’s unique features. Include close-up shots of details like beautiful woodwork, elegant taps or ornate fireplaces.

Check out our Ultimate Guide to Property Photography for even more tips on capturing amazing property photos.

Enhance your images with post production

No matter how well you take the shots, they can sometimes still look a little flat. Grey skies, rogue wheelie bins and poor lighting can all ruin a perfectly good image.

Fortunately, photo editing software makes it possible to change things we couldn’t control during the shoot.

Here are some of the many edits you can make to ensure that your photos do the property justice:

  • Brightening the shot and removing shadows.
  • Adding an inviting blue sky.
  • Straightening wonky shots.
  • Cropping or re-framing for better composition.
  • Removing unwanted objects like clutter, cars, wheelie bins or competitor boards.

While it’s fine to enhance what’s already there, it’s not okay to make significant changes that would be misleading. Be aware of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008.

Outsource your property photo edits

If you’re not familiar with software like Lightroom or Photoshop, these edits can be tricky or time consuming. Fortunately, Elements Property can help you to make the most of your property photos.

Our Image Enhancement service allows you to benefit from all the essential edits that will give your photos the wow factor without you having to lift a finger—other than sending us the files! We can even add your logo as a watermark for a truly professional feel.

If you want to stand out from your competitors even more, we can turn your photos into an engaging video with our Video Slideshow service.

Take advantage of our free trial by entering code BLOG46 when you create your account and see how we can take your photos from good to amazing!

START FREE TRIAL

 

5 reasons why branded floor plans are cool

Obviously, custom branded floorplans are seriously cool. Here’s why.

As well as giving your potential buyers a better idea of the size and layout of a property, they also show your attention to detail as an estate agent. In particular, branded floor plans look really professional and are a great selling tool for your agency.

Here are some reasons why you need branded floor plans in your listings.

1: They increase brand awareness

When prospective buyers or tenants are browsing properties online, the chances are they haven’t paid much attention to the names of the estate agents representing each one.

One thing that house hunters will almost certainly pay attention to, however, is the floor plan. By adding your company name or logo to your floor plan, you can increase brand awareness.

2: They stand out

Floor plans have become more and more commonplace on property listings. This means that you need to up your game if you want to stand out.

Using your brand colours can make your floor plans really eye catching. This could be just the hook you need to get someone looking at your property in detail or picking up the phone.

3: They show your dedication

While they’re not a necessity, floor plans really help buyers to imagine how they would use the space.

By not only adding floor plans but also taking the time to create them in line with your brand colours, you can demonstrate a level of dedication that other agencies’ listings may be lacking.

This will give potential buyers confidence in your abilities and attention to detail. It will also show your clients that you’re taking the job seriously.

4: They prevent theft

It can be hard to believe, but theft is more common in the property game than you might expect. With multiple agencies sometimes representing the same property, it can be tempting to steal from competitors.

Branding or watermarking your floor plans can prevent this from happening to you, as your competitors won’t want to advertise where they got it from.

Editing out all of your branding and any watermarks would also be fairly time consuming, defeating the point of stealing it in the first place!

5: They look pretty funky

Let’s be honest; property hunting isn’t always exciting. Scrolling through page after page of similar-looking listings can get tiresome, and one floor plan looks much like any other. That is, of course, unless you add a little branding.

Unlike their more official uses, floor plans don’t have to be black and white when used to market the property. That means you can have a little fun with them!

Don’t be shy—slap those brand colours on there! Use your main colour for the walls and your secondary shade for the floors (or vice-versa!) for a really funky floor plan.

Branded floorplan examples

 

Get your own branded floor plans

Once you’ve measured up your property and drawn out your floor plan (Don’t know how to draw a floor plan? Check out our handy guide and infographic), simply scan it and send it to Elements Property, and we’ll work our magic on it.

We offer lots of choices for branded floor plans to suit all your needs, including:

  • Black and white floor plans
  • Custom colour floor plans to match your brand
  • Zoned colour floor plans
  • Adding your logo
  • Adding your logo as a watermark

If you’re interested in trying out our Floor Plan Sketch Conversion service, take advantage of our free trial!

Just enter the code BLOG45 when you register.

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What does it take to be an exceptional estate agent?

As an estate agent, you’ll know that you’re up against a lot of competition, but what can you do to stand out from the crowd and win more instructions?

We watched Rightmove’s webinar ‘What does it take to be an exceptional estate agent?’ and have summed up the key points for you. Take a look at how you can go above and beyond to be more than just a great estate agent.

What is an exceptional estate agent?

Being an average estate agent isn’t good enough.

A common statistic is that prospective sellers only invite two or three agents out for valuation. So even if you’re the fourth or fifth best agent in your area, you’re still going to miss out.

That’s why it’s important to aim for exceptional.

Rightmove analysed data from 15,000 estate agent branches and conducted 50,000 secret shops by phone and email to assess levels of service.

For the purposes of the webinar, they defined an “exceptional estate agent” as being in the top 5% of estate agents in a given area.

They also identified four fundamental areas that determine an exceptional estate agent, based on what customers want.

Let’s look at these in more detail.

Property marketing

Marketing a property is about more than just sticking it on Rightmove and waiting by the phone.

Exceptional estate agents make sure that their listings are well presented and enticing. This includes:

  • High-quality, eye-catching property photos
  • At least five photos
  • A floorplan
  • A unique and well written description
  • Tailoring the listing to the target market (e.g. “a perfect family home”)
  • Accurate pricing (including reviewing and updating the price as necessary)
  • Updating the listing every couple of weeks (e.g. changing the lead photo or amending the description)

Handling enquiries

How you handle enquiries makes a big impact on the way you are perceived by customers and can make or break a professional relationship.

An exceptional estate agent makes sure to treat all enquiries with care. This includes:

  • Using technology to prevent calls from going unanswered
  • Replying to emails as quickly as possible (preferably within 10 minutes)
  • Using a customer’s preferred method of contact
  • Personalising responses
  • Thanking customers for their enquiry
  • Sounding enthusiastic when answering the phone
  • Asking about a customer’s current situation
  • Confirming next steps
  • Including contact details in emails
  • Using call recording for staff training purposes

Securing a sale or let

While securing sales and lets is key to the success of your business, having a proven track record will help you to build trust and gain more clients.

An exceptional estate agent agrees 65% more sales than an average one. Some of the ways that they achieve this include:

  • Building trusting relationships with customers
  • Being picky about what stock to take on and only doing so at the right price
  • Saying no to sellers with unrealistic expectations
  • Speaking to sellers in person to explain a fall-through, why it happened, and what they plan to do to get it back on the market ASAP
  • Being realistic and up front about timescales<.li>

Winning instructions

Exceptional estate agents win 30% more instructions than the average in their area.

Techniques that help them to do this include:

  • Handling leads well
  • Being consistently good at the fundamentals
  • Demonstrating how they add value when someone contacts them
  • Using certificates on Rightmove
  • Showing how they do things better at every stage of the process
  • Using exceptional care and attention to detail
  • Providing a better service, allowing them to charge a higher fee

Elements Property can help you to become an exceptional estate agent

Having a detailed, enticing property portfolio will not only help you to sell more properties but will show potential customers that you will provide a dedicated service should you win instructions from them.

We can help you to make your property marketing the best it can be and set you on the path to being an exceptional estate agent.

Our Image Enhancement service will make sure that your property photos are high quality, enticing and free from distracting clutter.

We also provide Floorplan Sketch Conversion and branded Video Slideshows to make your Rightmove listing stand out.

To register for a free trial and find out just how much we know about being exceptional, simply use code BLOG44 when you register.

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Personalise and protect your property images with a watermark

As an estate agent selling or letting a property, you want to do as much as you can to make the listing attractive and professional.

You’ve put in all the work, taking photographs, measuring for a floor plan and writing an appealing description for Rightmove. But have you ever thought about how important it is to add a watermark to your property images?

There are several reasons why watermarking your images could be a great idea, and we’ve outlined some of them below.

If you think watermarks are unnecessary, read on and find out how they can help you.

Strengthen your brand

When people look at buying or renting a property online, the property itself is usually the main focus. Prospective buyers often only look at the representing estate agent once they want to book a viewing.

This means that although hundreds of people might look at your listing, brand awareness could still be pretty low. If you’re paying to advertise on property portals like Rightmove, Zoopla or On The Market, you should be getting a little brand recognition out of it!

Adding your logo as a watermark to all of your property photos will make sure that more people see who you are. It also helps to create a connection between the listing and your brick-and-mortar store or website.

Make your listings more professional

Branded photos make your property listings look more professional, bringing in more enquiries. If you’re willing to put your name on something, this creates a sense of confidence in potential buyers.

If a buyer finds their dream property online only to see “SSTC”, they may visit your website to look for other similar properties.

Should they see your name on another listing in the future, they might remember you from the dream property, connecting your brand with positive emotions.

Protect your images

It’s unfortunate, but sometimes agencies lose the instruction to a competitor.

Should this happen when your listings are already live, your images may be stolen by another agency. This isn’t exactly professional, but some agencies will cut corners to save money.

When you’ve gone to all the effort of taking high-quality photos, having them stolen is particularly frustrating. This is especially true if you paid extra for image enhancements.

To prevent your competitors from taking credit for photos they didn’t take or pay for, make sure to add a watermark. Clearly display your company name and logo on property photographs, floor plans and any other images, so it’s clear who they belong to.

Example watermarked property photos

Watermarked images as standard

Elements Property help estate agents and letting agents to show properties in their best light with a range of services to improve your property marketing.

If you partner with us for our Image Enhancement service, one option we offer is to fully brand and watermark your property photographs as standard with no additional cost for including your logo in the centre or corner of your property photos.

Make your listings stand out from your competitors and keep your images safe with fixed prices and a 3-hour average turnaround.

For agents and property pros wanting a completely free trial of our Image Enhancement service, simply create an account and use the code BLOG43 when you sign up.

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Creating the ultimate Rightmove listing

You’re advertising your properties on Rightmove—but so is everyone else. What can you do to make your listings stand out?

We watched Rightmove’s webinar ‘Creating the ultimate Rightmove listing’ and summarised the top tips for you below.

Don’t post your listing before it’s complete

Rightmove listings receive the most views in their first two weeks online. Instant property alerts mean that your listing could appear in someone’s inbox as soon as it’s live.

The majority of people who view your listing will do so when it’s brand-new, so make sure it’s finished before publishing it.

Use at least 5 photos

Using at least 5 photos gives people a good feel for the property. Don’t use two similar photos when you could show different rooms or features instead.

Lead with your best 2 images, as they’re displayed in the search results. Kitchens, lounges and gardens make good lead photos. Use something that will entice people to click on your listing.

Use good quality photos

It can be hard to take good photos for a Rightmove listing, but don’t use photos that aren’t good enough. It’s better to have 5 great photos than 10 bad ones.

Cluttered, dark or blurry photos are off-putting. Try to avoid anything that could be distracting.

Images should be big enough to show detail and fill the full gallery frame. Rightmove recommends at least 1024 x 683 pixels.

Add a floorplan

80% of respondents in Rightmove’s webinar survey said they use floorplans for every property, while 12% said they only did it when they had time.

As rental properties have a faster turnaround time, only 28% of letting listings on Rightmove have a floorplan. By being the agent that takes the time to add this detail, you’ll stand out from your competitors.

Rightmove recommends uploading floorplans at 900 x 900 pixels, making sure to add it as a floorplan and not a property photo.

Consider how your listing is viewed

70% of Rightmove listings are viewed on mobile devices. If you’ve never looked at how your listing displays on mobile, check to make sure it’s well presented.

For floorplans, Rightmove recommends uploading each floor separately, making them easier to view on mobile. While other purposes may require all floors on one plan, separating them is beneficial for marketing.

Write an informative summary description

The summary description on a Rightmove listing is only 300 characters. Avoid writing anything unnecessary or reiterating information.

Present unique information and try capitalising 3 or 4 key features for emphasis. Look at what everyone else is doing and do something different to make yours stand out.

Add keywords to your description

The Keyword Sort tool prioritises results based on a particular word or phrase. Top Rightmove keyword searches include:

  • Garden
  • Garage
  • Balcony
  • Freehold
  • Parking

Use the Key Features section to add incentives such as amenities and location. Try to use all 10 bullet points to make these features stand out.

We’ll help you create the ultimate Rightmove listing

If you think you don’t have time to create floorplans for all of your properties, check out our Floorplan Sketch Conversion service. We’ll do all the hard work, leaving you free to focus your time elsewhere.

Photos are a really important part of a listing, and our Image Enhancement service will maximise the appeal of your shots. We can boost colours, add a blue sky, lift shadows, straighten and crop, and even remove objects like clutter, cars and wheelie bins.

There’s also some prime Rightmove real estate dedicated to a Video Tour. If you’re looking for a nifty low-cost video to fill this slot and show off your property, check out our Video Slideshow service.

To see just how easy it is to make your Rightmove listing stand out with Elements Property on your team, use code BLOG42 when you register and take advantage of a 3 order free trial!

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