Within the first three seconds a prospective online buyer decides whether he likes a property or not. It’s a gut decision. This decision is first and foremost driven by strong real estate photos. The starting photo – the hook image – is particularly important.
Listings with bad photos are subconsciously rejected by the viewer, because he won’t trust this realtor’s expert status. In this very early phase of getting to know each other, rational details only play a secondary role in the decision process.
The human brain is programmed to pick up and evaluate the easiest information first. And this is just any visual stimulus, in our case the photos. For capturing text and numbers, the brain has to activate additional resources in order to decode, analyze and classify them. This process starts AFTER the visual evaluation.
For listings with images of below-average quality, it is extremely difficult to generate the required trust from the prospective real estate buyer.
Good Image Quality and Smart Selection are the Basis
For this reason, it is important to show the right photos. The following sequence of steps has proven itself:
- Take quality photos (this is the basis of everything).
- Select the best images in a selective and critical manner (on the big screen).
- Optimize photos in image editing software (but prevent any ethically questionable retouching).
- Consciously sort photographs for the presentation (particular attention should be paid to the starting image).
With a series of images created in this way, you will let the object shine.
Special Attention to the Hook Image
With an engaging start image, you attract attention and make the viewer curious for more.
In my last analysis the quality of real estate photos on online portals (German), I found again and again that crucial mistakes were made in the selection of the start photo, such as:
- Display of the logo (JUST the logo!)
- Representation of less important scenes (adjoining rooms, lawns, supposed design gems)
- Lousy image quality (too light / dark, too chaotic, crooked lines …)
The opening photo must be eye candy that invites the viewer to dive deeper into this very listing item. Here we are talking about a so-called „hook“. Such a hook has three tasks:
- A bait is on this hook, which has to taste the viewer visually. It has to attract attention right away.
- It should bind the interested party to the presentation and keep the connection, until all the information about this offer has been consumed.
- At the same time, the hook should be remembered for a long time and achieve a high recognition value. The viewer must have the desire to return to this listing item. This creates a tight connectin that forms an excellent basis for a closing the deal.
Impressive shots that welcome the viewer are suitable as hook images. Classics in this respect are photos of facades or entrances. Photos that highlight a property as something special can also work as a hook, such architecturally unique details.
Hook is Known from Music
Some may know the term “hook” from music. There is the so-called hook line, that musical passage that creates a recognition effect. For many titles, the hook line is the first line of the chorus. Everyone can sing it along. Very successful titles have placed their hookline at the beginning of the piece of music instead.
Rock music fans are of course familiar with the 1972 song „Smoke On The Water“ by the English rock band „Deep Purple“. The title starts with what is probably the most famous guitar riff in the world (drrr-drrr-drrr – dr-dr-drdrrr). The simple but ingenious seven-sound turns this title into a catchy tune – in German „Ohrwurm“ (Ear-worm). (Useless knowledge to brag about: “Drrr Drrr Drrr” was the working title during the making of this song, by the way.)
In photography, the counterpart to the catchy tune for the acoustic memory is eye candy for the visual memory – i.e. a picture that one likes remember, which is associated with good feelings. You definitely want to look at it again. And it creates the desire for more from this property or even from this realtor.
After the Hook Image follows all the Info
But after a successful hook image, a series of pictures shouldn’t end there. Then it is about presenting the most important rooms and characteristics of a property. Also with images of best quality and carefully selected views with a great deal of detail.
Small Tip for an Entertaining Series of Images: Build in Stoppers
Normally, interior shots by realtors follow the same scheme. The photographer
- stands in the doorway and takes a shot into a room,
- moves to one corner of the room and takes another photo,
- goes to the window and photographs the same subject again with the light from behind.
Such uniform stacks of images bore the viewer. It turned out that about every fifth photo should wake up the viewer from his monotonously clicking-the-next-picture habit. Differently captured images can be used for this purpose. Instead of taking a corner shot of a room, you can create variety by capturing an unusual perspective with the camera or by showing an interesting detail of the property as a close-up.