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Grimaud dreamer

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Having recently had two holidays in France booked independantly over the internet, I have to comment on the poor quality of the photographs many owners choose to show to sell their properties as holiday lets.

Presumably when you are lucky enough to own a second home in France, which you intend to rent out to tourists, you are doing this because you need to rather than because you want to, and therefore need to attract holidaymakers to choose your property above others.  Why then would you show a photograph of your front steps complete with a cardboard box of rubbish and other miscellaneous bits of rubbish strewn about; with peeling paint and cracked paving; with overgrown weed strewn gardens; a tired looking kitchen area with tatty furniture; a photo of a blank external wall???  What is going on in these people's heads?  Would they rent their property from the evidence of the photos?  Probably not, so why would anyone else?

Good, well thought out photographs can make a huge difference to the appearance of your website and the impression  people get of your property, and will  ultimately result in more bookings and possibly mean you can charge a higher rental. 

As a professional photographer, some basic tiips I would give would be:

a)  Clear away any rubbish or other detritus that doesn't add to the photo (tatty magazines/inflatables in the pool - anything which doesn't give a good impression).  You would be surprised what people leave in some shots.

b)  Stage your shots.  ie create the 'lifestyle' that people coming to your property would expect and set out to create that in your photographs.   For example a table set for lunch by the pool, a bottle of wine, some cheese, grapes etc creates an aspiration.

c) Choose a good day - who wants storm clouds on holiday, so don;t advertise them - it;s all about creating the dream.  However, be careful if it is too bright.  Early morning or late afternoon would probably be better.

d) Be ruthless.  Look long and hard at each room and see what needs improving/removing/repairing/adding /replacing,and do it. A lick of paint can work wonders.

e) Take lots of different shots from different angles - think outside the box.  For instance take a photo of the pool looking towards the house, and set up a table on the terrace in the background.  Put some flowers in a vase.

f) Don't just think you have to have photos of the rooms, the outside areas etc.   A close up of a bottle of wine with a couple of glasses on your outside table can be a striking shot to include - potential guests will be able to visualise themselves relaxing with a bottle of wine in the balmy French sunshine.   Also include some shots of the surrounding area, the nearest town etc.

g)  Most of all, make sure your property is spotlessly clean.  Don't try to hide things, afterall photographs can lie especially in todays digital world, you don't want to sell your property with fantastic photos if the reality can't live up to the dream created by your website.  It's no longer acceptable to fill up your holiday let with cast off second hand furniture that has seen better days.

h) Get in a professional photographer if you haven't the confidence to do it yourself, or your creative streak isn't too strong.  It will pay dividends.

 

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You may be fighting a losing battle Grimaud. I remember when we were looking for properties, I built up a rogues gallery of appalling imobilier photos -half eaten meals, piles of washing, disgusting bathrooms etc. Then when we actually got around to looking at property we found a similar attitude where no attempt was made to present the house.

Is this the sort of thing you meant? Straight from an immobiliers web site. Perhaps we should start a rogues gallery

[IMG]http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y37/mikornisey/1850_1850-8.jpg[/IMG]

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Hi Mik

 

This is EXACTLY the sort of thing I mean.  This could be a beautful staircase if only a little bit of thought and time had been applied.

Clothing moved

Some pictures on the walls (maybe white walls would improve the look)

A large plant,, some flowers, a large decorative piece or nice piece of furniture - a rustic chair for example - in the recess at the bottom of the stairs.

Flowers on the windowsill to emphasise it.

Why on earth you would use this photo to try and sell your property is beyond me - what must the rest of it be like???

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Oh but it happens time and again.LOL[:)] however the French are just catching on to re-looking as they call it so maybe things will change.

BTW I think Grimaud dreamer was talking about photo's advertising gîtes rather than immobilier photo's to sell houses.

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On the other hand some photos can deceive! We know someone whose photos on the advertising site manage to make their small above ground pool look like a huge olympic pool, and the main photo shows their large house, not the small gite tucked around the corner!
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Get a professional photographer in and make sure he has a super wide lense and good Photoshop skills. A good blue sky always helps in pics.

When I sold my house in the UK I supplied the pics - there was a tile slipped on an outhouse so I am afraid to say I Photoshopped it back and also made sure the sky was lovely and the lawn beautifully green and lush. It sold to the first viewer... I knew I could have got another few grand for it.

On the otherhand as a buyer look at the houses with bad pictures if it puts other potential viewers off you may discover a bargain.

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Some photos can be too clever. I've seen small pools made to look enormous with a wide angle lens.

I have tried to be honest with the photos on my gite website. I now there are some improvements to be made but in general I think they portray the cottage realistically.

I do like using a letterbox format - I think it transforms an ordinary photo into something a lot more striking.
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I've had a look at your website and I think your photographs are a great example of how to do it.  They seemingly give a true representation of your property and are relevant.  I also agree that some photographs can be too clever - but a bit of staging can lift your perfectly acceptable photograph into another realm.  I think though, if you had put a few colourful cushions on your chairs, a vase of flowers in the hearth - ie just something to add some life to your shots, it would have set them apart from other equally acceptable gite websites.  Your photos of the area are very good.  Your property seems extremely well cared for and clean - a big must for me, and the care you have obviously taken with the presentation shows you will care how it is received when people arrive for their holiday.  So many people fall down on maintenance and cleanliness, and this is I feel reflected in the lack of concern they show in their photographs.
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I bought myself a decent camera and take the photos as and when I can. I don't see the point in booking a professional photographer to come because I don't want exterior shots taken in winter when chances are it will be raining, or in the summer when there are guests about (and it will probably be raining). I take the exterior shots as and when I can in the summer when the guests are out, so no cars or people to get in the way. I'm happy that my photos give a fair representation of what the property looks like even though I'm not a professional photographer.

dr orloff, I disagree that your exterior photos are a "great"example of how to do it. The exterior shots of the house don't look very attractive to me, there are no flowers and the lack of windows in one shot would lead me to think that it was very dark inside the gite. The interior shots are better, but the coffee table could be dressed with a bottle of wine and some glasses to make it looked more attractive.

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Thanks for the comments and for all those people who took the time to look at the website yesterday.

I like the comment about the cushions. A woodburner is now in the hearth and that's one of the photos that need to be changed.

There isn't much in the way of flowers outside - the soil is very thin in parts, but I do intend to plant a few naturalistic borders with grasses. I prefer a natural look to geraniums, etc.

The cottage looks as it looks - it's a very old building and that's the way it was built. I think most people find it attractive but I'm aware that some won't - so in that regard the photography on the website is achieving its aims.
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I have loads of geranuims, natural, not plastic, so we will beg to differ on that point! In my experience, if you make an effort with the outside, then people will think you've made an effort on the inside. Everyone comments on how lovely my flowers are, I've never had any complaints. I think they really brighten up a building (but one colour, I'm not a fan of pink and red).

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I LOVE red geraniums and hate pink ones or ones of any other colour for that matter!!!  It just goes to show how subjective taste is....

I do strongly agree with you though that flora and fauna can add massively to the impact of an image so long as it is controlled and not a straggly or overbearing and neglected space.  I am all in favour of 'wild gardens' but I believe from those in the know that these type of gardens take far more tending to ensure they look good than a conventional garden.

 

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Agree with all the comments that good photos are most important, they

are what attracts the customer to the page and encourages them to look

through the information. If they are photoshoped then they shouldn't

tell lies, just enhance the truth. Make sure that all that is in the

photo is available to the client.
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Owens88

Your photos are just what I envisage as good website photography -  you show the accommodation but also give a bit of 'atmosphere' with shots of lifestyley type images....and they are good images. The colours are good, they are clear and they are in focus...fab!!  I am sure you win out over gite webstites with inferior images when people come to make bookings.

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