Picture Perfect: Photographing Your Property for Rental Ads

Long gone are the days of describing a rental unit in fifty words or less in one square inch of newspaper ad space. These days, technology allows apartment seekers to view their potential new homes in everything from hi-def photo streams to virtual video tours, right from their own living room. That said, conventional photos still prove satisfactory to viewers, provided they showcase crisp and compelling images of the unit. Keep up with your competition by maximizing the subject matter of your photographs. Here’s how:

Find Your Frame

First, you’ll need to identify an apartment available for use as your model unit. Ideally, your unit will feature basic furnishings to give viewers the ability to see and imagine the unit’s potential and possibilities. If you don’t currently have a furnished, unoccupied unit, think of which tenants you may want to speak with regarding featuring their home in your photos. If you don’t have anyone in mind, post a flyer in your common areas or send out a mailer to your tenants. Consider offering a one-month rent reduction for their time and efforts, and you’ll likely get numerous apartments to choose from! The ideal unit will be minimally decorated, preferably in neutral colors such as whites, greys, or earth tones to be universally appealing to apartment seekers. Bright colors, especially if not to their personal taste, may be difficult for viewers to see past.

Set the Scene

Choose a day to photograph that is forecasted to be sunny, and choose a time of day when the sun won’t be directly glaring into the apartment. You’ll want the natural light for a soft, magazine-like glow, but not so bright that it creates harsh glares or reflections in your photos. Have your janitorial staff come in and spend a few hours ensuring that the apartment is spotless for the photos (this will also be another incentive for your tenants to offer up their unit!). Make sure your staff concentrates on floors, windows, and mirrors, as streaks or grime will show on shiny surfaces in photographs. Ask your tenant to take down any personal photographs, and put all small pieces of décor (such as frames or candles) away while you shoot. This will remove the clutter from your photos, as well as allow room for the potential renters to imagine their own belongings filling those spaces. Go one step further by ensuring all wires are concealed, trash bins are hidden and tabletops are cleared (with the exception of a vase of fresh flowers, which will add a warm touch to your pictures!).

Showcase Your Space

What makes your unit special? Does it have a fireplace? Balcony? Breakfast bar? Nice bathtub? Be sure to take photographs of anything that really makes your unit unique. Then, photograph any amenities that your property has to offer, such as a gym, pool, roof deck, or noteworthy common areas or perks, such as a coffee bar or cozy seating area. Again, ensure that these areas are spotless and unoccupied in the photos to give your potential tenant a pristine impression.

Capture the Community

Finally, take a stroll around the neighborhood and photograph any local landmarks or gems that may be an incentive for apartment seekers to consider your property over others. Do you have any popular restaurants within walking distance? Is there a park that families could easily access? Are you located near a concert hall or venue that may be a quick Uber ride away? Is there a boutique coffee shop that work-from-home residents could find an oasis at? Add these snapshots of your surroundings to your ad. This will give viewers more of an idea of what life could be like if they lived in your building. Additionally, you may consider taking a screenshot of your neighborhood on Google maps, and highlighting or circling both your property as well as any local perks within the map area. This will really help to paint a picture for your viewers!

Tricks of the Trade

In addition to showcasing engaging subject matter, you may also want to utilize some top photography pointers to really make your pictures pop. Here are a few quick tips:

  • People tend to favor symmetry in photos, as it’s visibly pleasing. Make sure that if you’re taking photographs that include a tiled or hardwood floor, your camera is straight and the lines are horizontally or vertically aligned with the edges of the pictures.
  • To keep your pictures looking professional, ensure you’re not accidentally featured in the photos through reflections on windows or mirrors. If needed, take the picture from a different angle!
  • Show off as much of the room as you can in one photo. This will make the room look bigger, which is almost always a plus for potential tenants. Take a picture of each room from each available corner, and then analyze them after to see which photo makes the room look the largest.

Do you have any personal tips to share when it comes to taking great photos of your property? Please comment below; we encourage and value your opinion!

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This article was written by Jillian O’Connor (Marketing Communications Manager) for Planned Companies, the industry leaders in janitorial, maintenance, concierge/front desk, and security services in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. Catering to both residential and commercial properties, we proudly provide services throughout New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC. For more information about our services, please visit our website at www.plannedcompanies.com or call us at 888-706-8600.