Adam's Area Photos For Listings
Updated: Dec 25, 2022
A commonly neglected element of real estate photography is area amenity photos, taken not at the home itself, but from the air and from the ground, within easy reach of future prospective buyers, but too far for most listing agents & photographers to take the time to care about. These amenities & local attractions often have a lot to offer. These photos start with HOA/Condo amenities, if applicable, but they don't stop there.
Often 50 photos is the limit for MLS input entry. A small number of area amenity photos enhance an already high square footage &/or high acreage listing, while a higher number of area amenity photos can cover significant gaps in space for a smaller home so that a full 50 photos is present. Below I wanted to share some examples of precisely that.
Please note that no photo on this page may be used to help list a property for sale or rent without express permission from Adam Garrett.
My Typical Listing Practice for Photography
I. My typical listing practice for photography is to use the following at no cost to the seller: 1. At the home a. Professional photography of the home b. virtual tours c. aerial photography 2. In the neighborhood when the community has amenities within it: Amenity photos from the ground and air 3. Outside the neighborhood: Amenity &/or local job photos from the ground and air
While there are some exceptions (i.e. heavily decorated shots around Christmas themes) & each season is different, generally speaking, late November to early April will yield the lowest quality daytime photography due to the grass not being green and the number of bare trees during that time frame. If you plan to list during that time frame, it's best to arrange your area photos with me far in advance so that we can avoid poor-quality imagery. For those reaching out to me during that time range looking to list during that time range, there can still be some good quality images in some cases from previous photos I've shot, from nighttime photos in certain locations (i.e. cities on the water that are lit), & interior photos of area amenities. Speaking of nighttime & interior area photography, check out my sections on the subjects.
The Importance of HOA/Condo Amenities, when Applicable, and Area Attractions
In the rare cases when these photos are taken, it's often only within the confines of the homeowner's association or condo association. Those are important photos, but when limited to those photos, there is a lot that can be missed. In Kingsmill, for instance, it's good to show amenities like the tennis courts within the Kingsmill community:
But to not also show Busch Gardens, that's essentially adjacent to the Kingsmill community, you'd be missing out on a significant draw to the area.
The Importance of Ground & Air Area Photos
Also when these photos are taken, it's typically from the ground, with no aerials included. In my opinion, both on the ground and aerial photos are best integrated into listings. For instance, the Air & Space Center (below) was located six tenths of a mile away from a property I had listed on Lee St. For that, I included both of the below images that I shot with captions I included in the MLS for buyers to see identifying amenities & stating the proximity to the amenities:
Air & Space Center & Carousel
Air & Space Center, Carousel, Harbor & Hampton University
Here's another keeper ground shot I took of the area from a different vantage point nearby at night shortly after sunset:
As you can see in the example above, all 3 shots are keepers, not just one, with the 1st ground shot having a higher emphasis on the sky & spring blossoms than the shot from the air.
Pole Shots, not Just Drone Shots, from the Air
In addition to shots from the air from my drone and shots directly from the ground, I also have a 30' pole that takes shots from the same camera that I use for the ground.
Here are the main beautiful things about having access to a pole:
In some cases, such as any park in the City of Hampton, and state park, or any national park, drones are either prohibited from flying in via severely restricted airspace (i.e. state parks & national parks) that are harder to get access for than around military bases and airports, if you're able to get access at all. If you only took shots from the ground, you'd be missing out on opportunities.
When airspace is viable but wouldn't be accessible quickly (i.e. military bases typically taking 3 days or more for manual authorization & when photos are ordered with dwindling grass color and leaf quantities), the 30' high pole shots are an immediate alternative.
The camera I use for ground shots is of superior image quality vs my drone; generally you'll find that to be true. Because of that, for shots close to the ground yet in the air, it's hard to beat pole shots.
Here's an example of a shot with that pole:
In the above example, it was a city park in Hampton where a permit would have been required if I were to have wanted to do a drone shot while I was located within the park (as with all city parks in Hampton), requiring lengthy time and effort. I had previously taken shots of the same park from the air above the tree canopy, but those shots hadn't produced ideal results for the amenities above in the way that this shot was able to. If I had wanted to take these shots with my drone, it would have either required a 2 man operation (with one person outside of the park and one person on the ground to keep a visual on the drone, since you are required to maintain a visual of the drone at all times) or would have required that lengthy permit process. The permit application is more than 5 pages. By using a pole, I achieved superior image quality in less time.
Including Large Places of Employment in Area Photos
I don't always include "jobs" in photos, but in many cases, a sizeable job may be in close proximity for the area while having excellent aesthetic appeal. For instance, in a property in Newport News close to Christopher Newport University & Riverside hospital, it's good to include aerials of each, showcasing options for someone living there as well as resale/investment potential in the long term:
Above: Riverside Hospital
Above: Christopher Newport University
Not Neglecting the Area Immediately Surrounding a Home
While not typically the case, in some cases, the area immediately surrounding a home is so compelling of a selling point that the home as well as the immediate surrounding area is included in one or multiple photos. Here's a former listing photo of mine that is a prime example where the picture below is a shot of the primary picture in the listing:
Of course, we didn't stop there in the immediate area, with photos like these as well:
Night Time Photography
Especially from mid-November to mid-April, and especially in cities, nighttime photography can be a solid addition to area photos. Here's an example taken in December in City Center of Newport News via my drone:
Here's a shot from the ground when the Christmas lights aren't up: