This article was posted on Sunday, May 01, 2016

The look of your rental property can make or break an applicant’s interest in becoming your new tenant. For most millennial applicants, visual media is a must for even a phone call. While using a DSLR camera or high resolution camcorder would be ideal, these few tricks you can use with your smart phone can help make your rental look enticing to potential applicants.

1.     Angle Your Phone to Showcase Your Best Features

First thing’s first, turn your smartphone horizontally. Even though taking pictures vertically (or upright) is more natural, you limit the amount of space that will show up in the frame. According to HitRECord’s video about orientation, the human eye has a greater peripheral vision horizontally than vertically. This means that by capturing the setting horizontally, you will mimic the way your applicants actually perceive your rental’s space. Additionally, horizontal pictures and video have a bigger frame, which is vital when showing off the interior of your property.

After you take a moment to turn your phone, you’ll need to be aware of what angles best represent your rental space. This is important because it allows you to highlight your best assets all in a few pictures. Dom Bower’s youtube video on property photography tips best explains this. His example showed a large staged bedroom that had a fireplace, bed, and giant windows. Going to the different corners of the bedroom you can see that taking a picture would highlight different things; one would highlight the fireplace and bed, the other would highlight the bed and window, and so forth. The question is, which one best highlights the most features? Before taking a picture of your own rental’s bedroom, consider what that room’s features are (lighting, view, closet space, etc.) and what angles best showcase them. Try going to each corner in your room.

When using the same logic for capturing video you can capitalize on lighting to making the room seem bright and inviting. Photos will let your applicants better analyze specific features, and a short video of the room will help them get a feel for what it’s like to actually be in the space.

- Advertisers -

Finally, to get a good shot at the angle you want, you’re going to need to move around. Ideally, you’ll want a picture that shows a little bit of the ceiling and a little bit of the floor. The two should be similar in size (on your screen) and act as a frame for whatever feature you’re focusing on. So you might have to crouch down or stand on your tippy toes to get a symmetrical image. For video this means finding a good spot, and then balancing yourself to rotate with a smooth range of motion so the camera doesn’t bounce, and your angle doesn’t significantly shift between start and finish. 

2.     Natural Light Means Happy Tenants

You know tenants love natural light. It means lower electricity bills and better looking selfies. When you use a smart phone to show off your rental, be sure to open up the windows and doors. You want as much daylight as possible to give the illusion that your space is clean and to help it appear bigger. Try to stay away from depending on in-home lighting unless it is an upgraded feature that will help attract tenants. Taking pictures and video during the nighttime and using solely installed lighting gives your pictures a yellow tint that is unattractive and can even make your rental appear dated. 

3.     The Do’s and Don’ts of Rental Photography

Be sure to take multiple photos of your rental property from each spot you want to highlight. Assuming your phone isn’t low on storage already, you will want to give yourself plenty of options to pick the most appealing shots to highlight your property. If you want to experiment, manually focus on different places in each position by tapping on your screen. This will make your smartphone’s camera focus on different areas, changing the depth of your shadows (how your camera perceives your light). This can be helpful if you find that your smartphone is automatically focusing on something that’s making your image over exposed (like blinding light). There are many different free photo editing apps that can help you change the exposure, shadows, and other features if you find that the pictures you took need something extra. However, you should try to stay away from using tints or filters for your rental listing’s photos. You don’t want to have to explain why the walls or carpet aren’t the same color as in your photos to potential applicants.

Another often overlooked feature of most newer smart phones is the ability to enhance your frame rate. Most phones come preset to capture video at the standard 30 frames per second (fps). In your settings you should be able to change this option to 60 fps which will offer sharp, high quality videos that make your applicants feel like they are actually in the room. You can also use this option to take a high definition video, and then pause in optimal places to take screenshots and have amazing photos you may not have gotten to capture already. 

With these few basic tricks, your rental listings will be more enticing than ever to the huge amount of potential renters who rely on digital media to before contacting properties.  Because who would want to leave a rental that looks so good? 

Written by Ryan Green, Marketing Manager at Contemporary Information Corporation (CIC),  and Becky Bower, Communications Intern, and originally published on Multifamily Insiders.