What Makes an MLS Photo Bad?
If you belong to any social media group of agents, you will see outrage at bad MLS photos. Real estate agents are a tough crowd. They seem to measure every listing they see against how they would better present a home. It's natural. It's our job. There are probably plenty of plastic surgeons walking around that can see a less than stellar face lift from a mile away, and immediately boast how they could do it better.
Just last week, I was on the phone with an agent in my market who also happens to be a friend. She was lamenting having lost a listing. To make matters more hurtful, it was a friend of hers who didn't hire her. Ugh. That always feels like a knife in the back. Naturally, she is looking at the listing through the lens of what she would have done differently. And she took such exception with the photographs that she actually had me pull them up to see just how "bad" they were. Only, they weren't bad, at least in my opinion. The home showed well in the photos. Very realistic room sizes. Clean. Bright. The pictures weren't crooked. Sure, the photos weren't professionally done, but they weren't what I would call "bad."
So what makes an MLS photo bad? To me, that is simple. And it's a relatively short list.
Dark Photos: If a photo is so dark I can't make out anything in it, that's a bad photo. Photos are to be seen. If you can't see anything compelling, it's a bad photo.
Crooked Photos: If a photo tour of a home makes my stomach feel like I am walking through a fun house, with one room slanted this way and another slanted that way, those are bad photos. Rooms should be straight. Take your own photos, but for goodness sake, make sure you know how to straighten a photo.
Out of Focus Photos: This is my biggest pet peeve--out of focus listing photos. Did you only take one shot of that room? That's silly. If you are taking your own photos, take a few because fuzzy photos happen. As pointed out about dark photos, if you can't see anything compelling, it's a bad photo. If a photo is out of focus, it is a bad photo.
Not Showing the Front Door of a Home: Opening photos that seem to focus on a mature tree blocking the view of the front door, but prominently displaying the eye sore of a two car garage, in my opinion, are bad photos. The front door is the first emotional connection to a home. If your opening shot makes the house look like a box with no entrance for people, that's a bad opening photo. Coupled with other photos, to actually show it's a two or three car garage, it's fine in context. But the first shot? No way.
Fish Eye Photos: Anything trying to convert a camera without a wide angle lens, to a wide angle view is going to give fish eye. It's not a good look on a room. It's like crooked photos, giving that same fun house effect. Not good.
Floor or Ceiling POV Photos: If the point of view of the photo is the ceiling down, or the floor up, it's an unnatural view of the room...unless you are a ceiling soaring stink bug or crumb stealing ant on the floor. Eye level photos are what I would consider natural point of view.
Those are the only things that will ever make me feel an MLS photo is bad. Photos that depict a home in the condition in which it shows, like an outlandish amount of life size clown statues throughout it, show the true condition and set an expectation. If you couldn't get the seller to remove the dozen life size clown statues from the home, don't move them out of the way just for the photos. Let me know they are there so I don't get the crap scared out of me. Same goes for issues that really get to poor condition, not poor photo quality. If there is always junk in the kitchen sink and on the counters, show it that way in the photos. Don't waste my buyers time drawing us in with something that doesn't exist in reality. If the home shows poorly, show it in the photos.
That's my philosophy on MLS photos. They certainly don't need to be professional grade or super primped. They should be easy and natural to view, and show the home in the condition it is likely I will find it.