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Top Tips for Great Commercial Real Estate Photography

Outstanding commercial real estate photography will attract more activity for your property listing. This means more page views online, more requests for property listing brochures, more in-person showings, and more deals getting done faster.

Great photos of commercial real estate should be accurate and emphasize the best features of the listing, while downplaying any potential drawbacks. Learn how to do that and more with the following top tips for commercial real estate photography.

Preparation is Key to Great Commercial Real Estate Photography

Be sure to prepare for the shoot before you pick up a camera or schedule a time for drone photography of your commercial property listing. If you don’t, a lot of time and money could go down the drain.

Understand your objectives

Clearly defining what you want to achieve with your commercial real estate photography should be step one. For example, are you marketing some cool amenities of coworking office space? Is your CRE listing near a major transit hub, or are you promoting a property for sale that’s fully leased? Your photos should firstly communicate that which you want to showcase about your listing.

Make the space picture perfect by decluttering

You’re marketing the space, not the stuff that’s inside. So, with that in mind, remove as much as possible without making the property look deserted. It’s alright to include items that add proportion to the space – things like work and seating areas. But if there are too many objects in the photo, your commercial listing space will look smaller than it really is.

Plan ahead

Using a pre-photography checklist will help avoid unexpected obstacles and ensure that your commercial real estate photo shoot goes as smoothly as possible. Checklist items can include:

  • Checking lightbulbs inside and out,
  • Turning off sprinkler systems,
  • Cleaning windows the day before,
  • Having maintenance staff on-site for any unexpected issues,
  • Keeping parking spaces in the photos empty for exterior shots.

Timing Is Equally Important in Good CRE Photography

Now that you’ve got a clear idea of what you want to accomplish, your next step is to decide when would be the best time to do your commercial real estate photo shoot.

Decide on the best time of day

Different buildings look their best at different times of the day. For exterior photos, just before sunrise or right after sunset are often good times to shoot – especially if your property has great building and landscape lighting. For photographing interior space, late morning or early afternoon are often the best times to capture the natural sunlight that your listed space benefits from.

Keep seasonality out of your CRE photography

If it’s February in Chicago and you’ve got a hot new listing for an office building in West Loop this might be easier said than done. But, whenever possible, avoid taking photos that date your property by showing a certain season or time of year. Prospects looking at your CRE listing photos in July will wonder why there’s snow on the ground from your February photo shoot. Visual disconnects like these distract prospects from giving your listing the attention it deserves.

Professional Tips and Tricks for Taking Better Photos of CRE Properties

Professional photographers use specific tips and tricks for taking their best photos of commercial real estate property.

Avoid overdoing the special effects

You’re not shooting the next sequel of The Matrix, you’re taking photos of your commercial property listing. Avoid special effects like tilt-shifting or color enhancements. Keep prospects focused on your building by going easy on the special effects and keeping photos straight and balanced. Vertical lines such as walls should always be up and down. Horizontal lines like floor covering or desktops shouldn’t slope left or right.

Real estate is all about location

Where your CRE listing is located is a key point to emphasize in your photography. Exterior shots or drone footage that highlights the views, location, and nearby amenities add value to your property presentation.

Coordination is key

If you work in commercial real estate, you’re used to dealing with a lot of different people at the same time. So, be sure to apply this skill to your commercial real estate photo shoot. People with whom you may need to coordinate your CRE photography include:

  • Leasing broker,
  • Property management company,
  • Building maintenance staff,
  • Tenants,
  • Members of your marketing team.

Get a legally binding model release

The internet is filled with stories of people getting in trouble for posting unauthorized images online. To keep your name off such lists, always get a legal model release from people who will appear in your photos. If you don’t, someone captured in your CRE photography might decide they want a share of your commission check as compensation for helping your deal close.

Stay Organized, Ask for Help

Now that you have taken the perfect commercial real estate listing photos, don’t run the risk of losing them by being disorganized or leaving out important details. Cloud-based storage is a great place to keep photos tagged by property name and location for easy access by any member of your CRE marketing team. It’s also a great place to store large property files for prospects to access instead of sending a big file by email.

If you don’t have the time to take property listing photos yourself, you can always hire a professional that specializes in CRE property photography. Not only can good commercial real estate photography give you a significant ROI on your marketing dollars, but you may also see a bigger return on your personal investment. That’s because the quality of images can make a big difference between how quickly a transaction gets done and how much is paid for the property or leased space.

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