What are Property Managers looking for in pictures of their properties?

Strategic Property Branding Photography Plan Part 2

Having been the Marketing Director for several Property Management companies I wanted to know what ChatGPT would come up with. They ring true so I’m sharing them here; the first three are from ChatGPT, and I’ve added 4 and 5 to make it a little more complete.

1. Accuracy and Representation: 

Property managers want the pictures to accurately represent the property. This includes capturing the essential features, layout, and condition of the property as truthfully as possible. The photos should provide a clear understanding of the property’s size, layout, and overall appearance. Misleading or heavily edited pictures can create false expectations, leading to dissatisfaction among potential tenants or buyers.

* We’ve all seen the perfectly plated picture of food in a menu and have then been surprised by what it presented at our table. Being genuine matters but not as simple “as shot” images, lines still need to be straight, and some (less sightly) features do not need to be shown.

2. Cleanliness and Maintenance: 

Property managers typically seek pictures that showcase a clean and well-maintained property. This includes tidiness, proper organization, and cleanliness of both the interior and exterior spaces. They want to present the property in its best light to attract potential tenants or buyers, so pictures featuring clean and well-groomed spaces are usually preferred.

* People responsible for property maintenance need to be aware of when pictures will be made on-site so that they can work to the deadline in fixing potholes, replacing broken signs, and performing cleaning duties. 

Customers/Visitors aren’t always very cooperative, so we will photoshop out errant shopping carts, and garbage and (on request) smooth out road work that has not been completed.

3. Highlighting Key Features: 

Property managers also look for pictures that highlight the property’s key features and selling points. These may include unique architectural elements, spacious rooms, updated amenities, attractive landscaping, or any other aspects that make the property stand out. By emphasizing these features, property managers can draw attention to the property’s strengths and generate more interest.

* Each property has something unique that separates itself from its local environment or competitors. This could be a choice tenant, a grand entrance, public art, seating areas, landscaping, or architectural features that visitors and potential tenants will remember the property by.  

4. Pictures that “pop” to get attention:

Pictures that stand out are a combination of composition, focus, and colours. When making the pictures all angles need to be examined with an emphasis on getting the property (or individual tenants) “good side”. After that, the image needs to feel 3-dimensional through 10% whites and 90% blacks with a sharp focus on the subject area and blurred people and cars. Colours matter in this respect that they need to be accurate while also bringing the viewer’s focus on the subject. 

* You will notice that skies in our pictures may not always be blue but they will be darker than the subject property - the viewers’ eye is drawn to the brightest part of the picture, by having a darkened sky and a neutral floor/sidewalk/parking lot they act as a frame to direct attention to the property,


5. Signs of Life (Traffic):

Just like a mall feels empty without music a property without visible people (or their proxies) animating the public spaces, and stores open for business, in pictures the property is lifeless. Pictures need to be made when everything is open and when traffic is in motion.

* We make it obvious that we are on-site doing official business. By wearing high-visibility clothing, carrying credentials, and using camera gear on tripods we tend to “hide in plain sight” and get natural pictures of the property and traffic flow. 

All pictures are made with long exposures, which blurs most people (if they fail to move in the 3-second exposure then we blur them in Photoshop). We also change the numbers on all visible license plates (blurred license plates draw too much attention to the cars).

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