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Best of 2012: 3 Photographs That Tell a Home's Story

December 24 2012

We're celebrating the end the year by counting down our 10 most engaging articles of 2012. This article was posted in October and is #6 in our countdown. See #7 here.

Capturing the essence of a home can be difficult. While you can understand the ins and outs of lighting and angles, deciding what to focus on or how to approach real estate photography can be easy to overthink.

Enter the three-step storytelling method. Inspired by photojournalism, this technique lets you convey the essence of story of a home with three easy shots. You'll never be stuck deciding what to photograph again!

Wide Shot

The wide shot conveys a sense of place. It acts as an overview that establishes where we are. The "primary exterior shot" required by most MLSs is generally a wide shot--it showcases the outside of the home and as many property features as possible.

However, a wide shot can be of interiors, too. Use the wide shot to establish where we are (kitchen? master bedroom?) and show as many attractive features of that room as possible.

3 photos wide

Medium Shot

Once you've established a sense of place, use the medium shot to invite viewers to further explore the home. If your wide shot established where you are--the living room, for example--your medium shot should come in and focus on an attractive feature of that area, like a fireplace.

Approach this photograph as if you were taking a portrait, only here your portrait will be of a specific property selling point. Think of it this way--if you were photographing a party, your wide shot would be of the attendees, whereas your medium shot would focus on an individual.

3 photos medium

Detail Shot

The detail shot is the most intimate shot. While most of your listing photos will be wide and medium shots, you can use the detail shot to highlight in-depth a specific feature of a room or exterior area.

You want your viewers to be able to feel the texture of the environment with this photograph. Let them get a feel for the marbling on the kitchen countertops or the grain on the wood trim.

3 photos detail

Walk Away With a Story

This method forces you to look at a property in three different ways. For added depth, try shooting multiples of each shot from every possible angle. Walk all the way around that kitchen island or in-ground pool, snapping pictures the whole way.

In the editing process, one set of photographs (one wide, one medium, one detail) will jump out as the trio of shots that perfectly communicates the story of that room, backyard, or other area. When you combine the photographic stories of all parts of a property, you get something even better--a cohesive visual story of a home that buyers can't resist.

Photos by Ben FreedmanBen Freedman.

Next! View article #5 in our countdown.