How Top Photographers Deliver Better Real Estate Virtual Tours

Before any potential buyer visits a property in person, they must be convinced to make the effort. Real estate virtual tours can assist the process by giving people a sense of walking around the space.

There are many ways to deliver this kind of real estate photography. While most photographers focus on just getting the technical side right, top professionals add a little more sauce.

To help you hook buyers and assist homeowners, we collected some photography ideas from the experts.

What makes a great virtual tour?

All too often in real estate photography, we focus on the client. But the primary purpose of any real estate virtual tour should be to help the homeowner sell their property.

In artistic terms, this means presenting the place accurately, but in a favorable light.

Most of us understand this instinctively. We use lighting to lift darker corners, and arrange furniture to please the eye. It's a rare photographer that willingly takes an ugly picture.

Yet pretty pictures alone won't make someone part with hundreds of thousands of dollars. Real estate photography is ultimately a marketing exercise, so you need to think like a buyer.

There are many ways to make your work more eye-catching.

Some ideas may take a little extra time, but they will keep clients coming back, and lift the standard of your services, allowing you to charge more; this is the type of upselling that benefits both parties.

Photography ideas for better virtual tours

So, how exactly do you deliver better real estate virtual tours? Here are four photography ideas straight from the professionals.

Talk to the Homeowner

As a real estate photographer, you probably spend no more than a few hours at any given property. In that time, you will notice the standout features — the grand staircase, the new kitchen, and so on.

But such features are not always the main motivation for buying the property. Sometimes, it’s the small details that make a big difference.

No-one knows these hidden gems like the individual or family who has lived within the property. For this reason, it's very important to talk to the homeowner before creating a virtual tour.

You may only have limited time for an interview, but there are two key questions to ask the homeowner:

  • What made them fall in love with the property in the first place?
  • What made them like the property even more over time?

If you have the opportunity, you could even ask the homeowner to give you a real-world tour of the place.

Along the way, they may tell you about their favorite spot to watch a sunset or the way they arrange the dining room furniture for parties. Such anecdotes can inspire your shoot, and reveal the best time of day to visit.

Using video? You could interview the homeowner on camera and include this in your virtual tour package.

Look Outside the Property

The selling points for any property extend well beyond the four walls. In many cases, the surroundings are just as important.

People want to live in a nice neighborhood, with transport links and places for their kids to play. For commuters and young families, these amenities may be even more important than what is inside the home.

For this reason, top photographers often take real estate photos some distance from the property.

This might sound like a time-consuming goose chase, but it doesn’t need to be. When you are driving to a property, pay attention to your surroundings as you arrive at your destination:

  • Did you pass a playpark or a school?
  • What about shops and restaurants?

If any of these amenities are within sight of the property, consider showing their relative proximity.

You might be able to achieve this by shooting from an upstairs window. If the street has curb appeal, set up an exterior shot that takes in the road.

These views can help prospective buyers to get a real feel for the area, something that is missing from most real estate listing photos.

Consider Different Looks

In your conversation with the homeowner, you may hear them talk about specific times of the day. For instance, they might mention waking up and seeing the sunrise from their bed, or admiring the cozy lights when they pull up on the driveway after a long day at work.

This information is like gold dust for any real estate photographer. Someone who knows this property like the back of their hand is telling you exactly when the place looks good. It's smart to take notice.

When you come to arrange the shoot, keep in mind what was said. Offer your client a couple of different options - a standard daytime slot or a twilight shoot, for example.

You will probably have your own ideas about which is better, but explain the potential benefits of each option to your client.

Your pitch could include various looks within the property. Consider setting the dinner table for a sunset feast, or switch on the outside lights for a backyard party feel.

It's all about helping potential buyers to imagine themselves in the property.

Your client will ultimately decide how they want to present the house. But even if they end up choosing the standard daylight option, the extra effort will be appreciated.

Deliver Your Real Estate Photos in Video Slideshows

You might think of visual storytelling as a concept reserved for photojournalists and fine art photographers. But in a world dominated by short attention spans and social media, storytelling is actually a powerful tool for marketing any product - including real estate.

Perhaps the easiest way to use visual storytelling in your property photography is by creating video slideshows. This format allows you to guide a prospective buyer around the space, using captions for additional context:

  • Imagine how the agent would show someone around in person, and order your images to match.
  • Add stock music or sound effects where appropriate, and label every room with text.

Adobe Spark is an excellent tool for creating such content.

The other advantage of using video slideshows is that the format is easily shared. Agents can post the video on Facebook and Instagram to grab the attention of followers, or send the slideshow to people who inquire.

In both examples, you are delivering greater value to the client by presenting your images in a different way.

Real estate photography that stands out

In most forms of commercial photography, pleasing the client is your number one priority.

But in real estate photography, that isn’t enough. Unless homes sell as a result of your hard work, agents and homeowners won’t make the outlay in future.

That is why it's important to deliver virtual tours that really stand out from the crowd. Here’s a recap of how you can achieve this:

  • Pick up tips from the homeowner
  • Sell the location as much as the real estate
  • Offer to shoot at the right time for each property
  • Package your photos in different ways