Now that Real Estate agents are hopping onto the professional photographer bandwagon to capture all of their listings so they can sell faster, it becomes more and more difficult to stand out of the crowd. As a Real Estate agent you don’t want to get lost in the noise, or else your sale will go flying out the window. But no worries! We have just the thing you need to stand out of the noise and grab the attention of the buyers. Night photography is one great way to make a visual impact that separates your listing from the flood of others on the market.
What is a twilight photo? A twilight photo is usually taken of the exterior of the property, at dusk. It's used to showcase landscape/property lighting, pool lighting and features like fire pits, and also to showcase a beautiful sunset. They are more likely to grab the attention of the buyer when a home search is performed and thumbnails of properties are returned. Photos taken during the day when it’s bright and sunny are perfect for properties with ocean views or bold colors on the outside.
However, it’s also important to have photos taken at the right time of day. Show property lighting that a buyer doesn’t see when they are viewing the home in daylight. Because daytime shots still dominate the market, twilights stand out so much more when buyers are looking for a property. In 50 or 100 listings, there'll usually only be one twilight shot. Of course, the buyers are more likely to click on it and view the property.
Thanks to the contrast between the warm interior lights and the blue evening sky, a twilight photo resonates with our need for shelter, safety, and protection. The homes that work best for twilight shoots are those that have a lot of outdoor lighting or areas of water such a pool or a lake. They're usually taken in the period between 5 and 10 minutes after dusk. The lighting in the house must be level with the lights outside to create that wonderful balance between the two. The glow of the lights inside the home, the absence of shadows, and of course a mellow sunset on a background create a stunning, visually appealing image. There's something everyone loves about seeing an image with the glowing lights inside and a beautiful sunset. It's striking and colorful, and all in all a very appealing look for a real estate marketing campaign.
How Do You Take These Pictures?
Turn on ALL the interior lights, landscaping lights, and exterior lights if there are any. It’s easy to underestimate the amount of time it takes to get all the lights on, especially if the homeowner is not there to show you where all the switches are. I’ve found that the exterior spots can frequently be too bright. You can selectively turn each bulb off by unscrewing the bulb slightly. A small step ladder is handy for this.
Use a tripod and cable release to eliminate camera vibration because exposure times will be several seconds or longer. Shoot raw so you will be able to adjust the white balance and exposure to your taste in post-processing. Set your camera to a low ISO (100) to get better color and less noise. Set your camera on manual and use an aperture of around f/8. Lenses are typically sharpest around the mid-point of their aperture range. Adjust the shutter speed to produce a normal exposure. Check the LCD and adjust until the result looks good. A lot of bright lights can fool the camera’s light meter. Flash or continuous lighting can improve the photo by adding extra light and drama to landscaping or areas of the exterior that are completely dark. This is a whole dimension beyond the basic twilight shot. For details see Mike Kelly’s in-depth video series on how to do this.