How to Prep Your CRE Property for Listing Photos

“Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words.” — Tess Flanders, newspaper editor

The notion that a picture is worth a thousand words is by now a cliche, sure — but that doesn’t mean that it’s not true. In fact, quite the opposite is actually true. When it comes to marketing any commercial property, one of the best and smartest investments that you can make is in professional photography of your space. But why?

The answer is simple. High-quality photography can be used across a number of different marketing touch points, including your website, print pieces, and other collateral. But one of the best ways to use your photos is in listing portals. It’s no secret that the commercial real estate marketplace is becoming more competitive, so having compelling photos of your space can be a great way to set your property apart and capture interest more quickly.

With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at 5 ways to help you prep your commercial real estate property for listing photos:

Declutter the Space

It seems obvious, but you would be surprised at how many people simply don’t take the time to property declutter a space before photographs. Marketing your CRE property is all about selling your space to potential tenants or buyers. This includes the location, the physical space, the benefits of any amenities offered, and more — but it does not include the stuff (aka clutter) inside your space.

A good rule of thumb is to remove as many things as possible, without causing the space to feel stark or cold. Properly sized and staged things can give the space needed proportion — but too many will make your space look small.

Bump up the curb appeal

While curb appeal is undoubtedly talked about more in residential real estate, the truth is that first impressions matter everywhere. Have your landscape crew tidy up around the property just before the photos are taken, and add seasonal, colored plants into your landscape design ahead of time. Have the maintenance team or an outside cleaning crew wash all of the windows, replace any burned out light bulbs, pressure wash the exterior where needed, and tend to anything that may be broken. 

Find the best light for your shoot

The most important listing photo for any commercial property is arguably the street view of the property. As such, you’ll want to pay attention to the natural lighting on your property. Take note of the direction of the sun, based on the street view. Keep in mind that most properties will look their best when the sun is low but shining on the building — and determine the best time of day for your photos, based on this information.

As any professional photographer will tell you, lighting is crucial. Try to avoid harsh, direct sunlight — but you’ll also want to avoid any dark shadows, as well. A soft and evenly balance of light makes for the best photos every time.

Avoid portraying a specific time of the year or season

Another pro tip to help avoid dating your photos is to make sure you aren’t depicting a particular time of the year or season. Believe it or not, many buyers tend to detach from images — and, by extension, your property — when it’s the middle of winter and they seem summer photos, and vice versa.

Keep Things Balanced

In order to keep your space looking balanced and straight, pay close attention to the lines in your photos. Anything vertical should appear vertical, anything horizontal should appear horizontal, and so on. It has been proven that buyers tend to shy away from images where the floors appear to slope or the walls appear to be crooked. While they can’t quite put their finger on what’s “off” with the photo, typically, they tend to view these images — and your property — less favorably.