Photos do lie

Beware the tightly cropped photo

I have just completed part of my annual course which is obligatory for any business involved in property in France. Normally I do this sitting in a classroom over two days which, if nothing else, is good for my French. Sometimes these courses have proved to be useful but generally I find the most helpful element is just meeting people from other businesses and hearing their personal experiences and anecdotes. The legal side is always useful too.

However, since Covid I am able to enrol in a whole range of different online courses via a digital app. Things are changing in rural France! Hence, I spent all day yesterday in yet another Zoom meeting but this time with people from all over France learning all about property photography, video editing techniques and virtual viewings as well as other aspects of the French property market.

Most of the other participants on the course were estate agents or marketing professionals for property websites from all over France and, much as I don’t enjoy staring at a screen all day, it was interesting to hear experiences of the property market in the different regions of France.

Also interesting was to see the tricks of the trade of property marketing which are not much in evidence as yet here in this little corner of South West France but are clearly being used to great effect in other regions. This is particularly the case for photo editing and virtual tour/video tour creation. There is some seriously clever kit and software out there enabling all sorts of editing of photos including some that will clear everything off the surfaces of your kitchen, empty your garage and repaint your walls and hide that terrible rug. All virtually of course. Ugly, compromised or very untidy, unloved properties suddenly looked fantastic.

So what did I learn? Well mainly, that with some investment in hardware and software, I could take some very pretty photos and videos of properties I see when researching for clients. But that is the opposite of what I actually want to do. So most importantly I learned that photos can and do lie. As do videos. Everything you see online can be edited. And if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. All of this I have said before, but I can see that this is going to become more of a problem in the future as the technology gets better and better and when sellers become more technically savvy, and anyone can edit anything. And above all, it means that the chances of expectations exceeding reality is much greater and hence the likelihood of you being disappointed when viewing a property that you have seen online will increase in line with this clever technology. There is a very good reason why I will continue to send ‘warts and all’ photos with my property reports; like that my clients know all the potential downsides and disadvantages of every property before they visit and will know exactly what to expect and hence will not be wasting their time.

If you want all the information and to be prepared before you view, get in touch:


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