Producing Eye-Catching Multifamily Property Photography To Attract Renters

Philadelphia apartment building.

Producing Eye-Catching Multifamily Property Photography To Attract Renters

A picture can be used to pass so many messages. However, there’s really no need to have so many details when you’re doing multifamily photography. You can pass a very simple, marketable message to prospective renters without necessarily going overboard.

All you need for great multifamily photography is the right angle, lighting and composition. Read Optimizing Multifamily Student Housing

Most Philadelphia property management companies with limited budgets can find multifamily property marketing quite difficult, especially if they don’t have anybody trained in multifamily photography within their company.

An unflattering picture of a rental property is the fastest way to turn off prospective tenants on your vacancies. Not to mention it attracts the wrong tenants.

This is why you need to have pictures that capture the rental experience perfectly. Considering the amount of information and media available to apartment hunters today, you’ll need compelling images that highlight the exterior features of the property.

According to Joe White, a Philadelphia multifamily / apartment property manager, “I don’t think some people in the Philadelphia multifamily business fully understand how a photo can make or break a consumer’s opinion. The first impression of an apartment complex means everything.”

Your photos should be able to attract sophisticated Philadelphia renters

Joe White, who owns Grow Property Management, here is Philadelphia is no stranger to the Philadelphia multifamily marketplace. He is fondly called “The Photo Guy” at Grow.

According to him, the fact that there are so many rental images and videos out there for the consumption of potential tenants is exactly why you need to use compelling photographs to showcase your rental property in the best light.

However, a lot of property managers are yet to grasp this concept, they rather showcase all the perceived highlights of their community, without considering what prospects are actually interested in.

According to Joe, most tenants are looking for images that they can connect to their lifestyle or desired Philadelphia neighborhood. This is why you need to highlight the elements that can hold the attention of your prospects.

In his words, “prospective tenants care about the details of the rental property itself, not the operations. They don’t care about your success as a landlord or details about your property management company”. “They care about what matters to them, not to you. Multifamily property marketing should focus on the amenities and features, the things that sets it apart.”

He is of the opinion that your photos should be able to convince potential tenants to want your apartments. This means you have to understand your audience when capturing the flavor of the community, because if the picture doesn’t resonate with your audience, then it has failed to achieve its purpose.

He also stated that the pictures that focus primarily on the inside and outside space, its features, dog parks (if any), and shots of an inviting pool are the ones that sell multifamily units the most. And that you should also put what you’d like as a renter into consideration.

“Put yourself in their shoes and create all the pics you’d want to see when searching for an apartment yourself.”

See also: Multifamily rental renovation ROI

How to create inviting property photos

You need to have a plan and a little photography expertise to take great shots. However, with all the mobile photo technology out there, you really don’t need to have a safari to get great images.

However, he still recommends the single lens reflex camera (SLR) as well as a tripod for DIYers, if they’re really serious about taking quality pictures.

Check out some of the tips provided by Joe NN on how to take great photographs of apartment communities:

  1. Get the right photography equipment: This probably sounds quite daunting. Professional rental property photographers spend a lot of money to get their cameras and equipment, which is why they don’t come cheap. But Joe says you can use one of those consumer-end digital SLR that are without big CapEx sign-offs. These packages go for about $500, and include an 18-55mm lens, a camera body and a bag.

Though these packages are great for starters, Joe feels it might be better to invest in one of those wide-angle lenses (either 14mm or 17mm) for the interior shots. And that, even though most cameras come with auto exposure functions to simplify the picture-making process, “you’ll need to make sure you understand all the settings on the camera to use it effectively.”

For starters, you might want to take advantage of those affordable and sometimes free lessons offered by some retailers when you purchase cameras from them.

  1. Get a tripod: If you have made a great multifamily investment, you need to also make this investment. And this is a great investment (it doesn’t cost up to $100). Though a lot of lenses now come with image stabilizers, you still need a strong tripod to maximize the sharpness and quality of your photo.

According to Joe, “Having tack sharp focus is extremely important when photographing property, especially something that should highlight the detail. Don’t let the photo store clerk trick you into buying equipment you don’t need. You need something sturdy and easy to set up.”

  1. Take advantage of the natural light: Try to use natural light for the interior shots instead of flash. Tenants love natural light. Blinn also cautions that a viewer can easily be distracted from the photo content by the light coming from open blinds in a unit, so you might need to close the blinds.

You can get more even lighting if you use a tripod and manage the shutter speed, ISO, and aperture for shots in the existing light, which brings the viewer’s attention to the photo composition.

You might need to take multiple images at various selections in other to capture the perfect light, but with the help of digital photo technology, it has become easier for property photographers to determine the perfect image in just a few seconds.

  1. Compose your shot. Although this does not require any special skill, however, you need to have a good eye for rental photography to be able to compose shots where the subject property requires a longer look.
  2. According to Joe, you can use the Rule of Thirds, which is a fundamental photo-taking technique where the person taking the picture envisions the use of guidelines as well as their points of intersection to make sure the subject is perfectly aligned, usually in an off-center alignment.

Composition requires some effective balance which can be achieved by cropping off the subject before or after the picture is taken. The aim is to excite your senses. For instance, you can enhance a pool photo by casting brightly colored flowers or a waterfall in the vicinity to one side.

The waves and splash coming off the pooling can be quite refreshing, and the flowers will provide warmth, giving the pool area an appealing look. A pool shot without any form of composition, can be quite plain.

“By understanding basic composition, you can deviate and experiment with different camera angles and play with composition all you want,” stated Joe. “At the end of the day, simple is best, especially when it comes to showcasing home or apartment features. So save your Batman angles for Instagram.”

  1. Setup and staging: According to Joe, you should make sure the camera is set at the right angle for a well-composed shot and move things around as much as possible if you want to enhance the subject matter. Ensure that the grounds look clean and appealing when taking the multifamily exterior shots. Landscape pictures should be taken after the lawn has been mowed and trimmed when everything looks neat and beautiful.

In his words, “People want to see those elements that are well kept. Make sure you have shots that support the community. You’re not going to get them out there unless they have a reason to get out there.”

Most importantly, make sure the apartment interiors appear spacious, but not in a way that misrepresents the property.

Give the property a natural look

Like everything good, you must invest time and money, if you want quality photographs. If you’ll rather hire professionals, there are multifamily technology companies out there that provide professional services including website consultation targeted at driving more traffic to your site.

However, whether you’re doing it yourself, or using a professional, the goal is to make your photographs attractive enough for prospects to want to check out your property.

“Showcase the property as naturally as possible to ensure you get good leads.”


Joe White

Joe White is a Philadelphia Property Manager and Real Estate Broker. He is the owner of Grow Property Management and has been involved in the management, sales and purchases of Philadelphia area rental investment properties since 2008. He is an author and works as a real estate investment consultant and construction manager.

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