This last week a Realtor ask me to look over his work that was presented on his web site. The photos were wonderful, but they were buried several clicks under a barrage of text and presented with a small, clumsy little slide show that I couldn't figure out how to control.
There's a lesson here for both Realtors and photographers wanting to promote themselves or their listings. Presentation of the photos is at least as important as photos themselves, maybe more important. My belief is if you are promoting photography then it should be "in your face"!
Art Wolfe's site a great example. Art is a great photographer and a great at marketing. While Art is not a real estate photographer the principles are still the same. Too many photographer sites use more words than necessary and have non-photographic intros before you get to the images. Here are some basic principles for promoting either listings or yourself on the web:
- Size matters: Bigger photos "talk" louder! I think gallery photos or listing photos should be at least 800x600 and bigger if possible.
- Don't make the viewer work to see the photos: Make the viewing automatic and easy to figure out. For listing photos, provide a way for the viewer to take control of photo selection. Viewers are typically in a hurry and don't want to sit through a long slide show they can't control. For a gallery control is less important but still a nice touch.
- Mixing portrait and landscape mode can be ugly: Tailor the aspect ratio of your photo for the medium or mechanism that will be use to present them if you can. Most slide shows look kind of clunky and awkward with mixed formats. Aaron Leitz has a nice solution in his galleries for mixing portrait and landscape photos. Realtors don't have control of real estate site presentation but real estate sites are all designed to handle landscape mode photos.
- The first or primary photo is the marketing "hook": Put your best shot so the viewer sees it first. This photo has to have the power to draw (hook) the viewer into looking a more photos. This is why, on a listing, the primary exterior photo needs to be the strongest image. Thomas Grubba's site is a great example of this principle. The front page image is really strong and grabs your attention and invites you to look more.
To reiterate a point I brought up in yesterdays post, enhancing the presentation of a listing's photos (or the photos from your shoot) is the single biggest reason to use a virtual tour or slide show. MLSs mangle photos and do a poor job of presentation. So if you have an enhanced presentation of the photos the listing will "stand out from the crowd".