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I have been asked a few times, what is that blue light photography you are doing. The answer is simple, I call it the blue hour. Some other photographers may call it dusk or twilight hour photography. It all has similar meanings with just a few variations. However, I like calling it the blue hour because it occurs when the night sky is royal blue. The time frame that this typically happens is approximately 15 minutes past sunset. I got the inspiration from looking at a Thomas Kincaid painting and found out that it is an actual genre of photography in real estate and architecture.
How do I do it? Well, when I get to a home I usually arrive early enough to prep the house. I do not bring any additional lighting because I personally believe that would be deceiving to a potential buyer. I request that all curtains are open and all blinds are up to clear away any obstructions from the windows. Then, I turn on all lights...I mean ALL lights. Yes, even closets. Sometimes closets have a light in them that either adds to the ambient light or have a window that adds to the exterior appearance. Attic lights should be on too, but I can't get to them usually. Exterior lighting should be illuminated, garage lights, and landscape lighting. EVERY LIGHT. Is there an increase in electricity? Yes, however, the results are stunning and worth the extra few bucks.
Next, I strategically wait for the right moment and take several exposures of four to six angles of the exterior, which just so happens to be all the time that I usually have for this light before it's just too dark to get more. I then edit and layer the exposures together and this is usually referred to as High Dynamic Range photography. It allows for me to capture the same number of levels of light and dark as the human eye can see.
Why would anyone want to spend the extra money and time to capture blue hour photos of a home? Another simple answer; click through rates. You see, online shoppers are first looking at your listing from search engines or from various websites like Zillow, Realtor.com, Redfin, etc. When they type in the price they are shopping in with the other attributes and they are hit with a number of home to now click on and look through, which are they going to click? The one taken with a cell phone? Maybe. The one during the day with a professional photo? Absolutely. The one that looks completely different and with more character than any other on the page? You bet your bottom dollar!
I often work with the top agent, Michelle Camaioni. She and I did a test. I went out and photographed about 13 homes of different prices, locations, and styles that were already listed. Homes that were in the less that $250K range doubled their click through rate and homes that were $500K plus did have an increase, but we believe that due to less inventory, and fewer shoppers at that level is why the rate didn't increase more. BUT! We did find that homes in the median home price TRIPLED their click through rate! That means that more people wanted to just to see what the listing was about! I'll take that any day!
This special, specific kind of real estate photography can only happen once per evening and once per morning. I usually don't get out of bed until after the first one has passed, so my calendar fills up fast with the ones that I can get to. If you are interested in increasing your click through rate or heck, creating this as your BRAND. Give me a ring and get on the schedule. Try it for yourself. See if you increase visibility on a listing. After all, that's where it's at, right?
It was a gloomy day in May when this home was photographed. You can't tell, can you? It's because I swapped the sky out in photoshop to have a beautiful blue cloud day. This listing was priced over half a million and it was well worth it. The sellers poured massive updates into this home to get it ready. They were the ideal client. Linda Canfield a Realtor with Century 21 New Millennium put staging in place with Deborah Goode of A Goode Start Decorating and priced it at the best price possible for her sellers. See the full amenities and photos at this link, however, see below for my favorite shots of this WOW house in Huntingtown, Maryland.