In the course of apartment hunting in Taipei and now Kaohsiung, Steve and I have frequented Tealit.org, Kaohsiung Connect, and the all-powerful 591.com, which has listings in Chinese. The apartment quality has decidedly been of a mixed variety, since some are very old and shabby looking, but the location and cost go a long way to making up for it. However, aside from seeing some horrible apartments, we’ve also encountered some atrocious crimes against photography.
Great photos in an online listing can help you gloss over an apartment’s flaws or highlight its strengths. Bad photos, however, can put off prospective tenants, or worse, waste their time by making them laboriously puzzle out what the photo is actually of and where that furniture or wall is situated in relation to the other photos. It’s also exasperating because the number of faux pas seem innumerable and so easily avoidable: if you want to make your apartment look nice, photograph it during the day for maximum daylight. Stand still while taking a photo instead of dancing around. Don’t use flash directly in front of a window. Why is it so difficult to take a nice, wide-angled shot of a room? Even more landlords are preoccupied with giving you detailed photos of the bathroom sink from five different angles, what the hot water heater or laundry machine look like, and how many independent electric meters there are on the wall. All we want is to understand what an apartment looks like or would feel like to live in, and these photos have been so ridiculously unhelpful to that end that we felt the need to compile an album of the worst offenders.
Hence, Terrible Apartment Photos (Taiwan Edition):
1. The Slanted Photo
For some reason, people think that you can cram more into the shot by tilting one corner up or down, but other than reminding us of some horrible retro photos, it just disorients the viewer, especially if there are several in a row.
2. The Homey Detail Photo
Truth be told, nobody gives a fig about your decorations or knickknacks. That stuff belongs on Instagram or Twitter. If I wanted a wooden fish, I’d buy a wooden fish, not your apartment. This is the most useless sort of photo and unfortunately, also the most common, as most cutely furnished apartments are trying to compensate for their tiny size.
3. The Front Door Photo
We have seen far too many shots of the entrance area, elevator, fancy lobby, hallway, etc., or insert common area of your choice that you’ll never spend any time in if you actually took this apartment.
4. The Ridiculous Bathroom Photo (so good, I can’t just settle for one example)
So my rent will also include a year’s supply of fresh rose petals, right?
5. The Through-the-Window Photo
Some homeowners make do with cellphone photos of their real estate, which is a bit lower quality, but understandable, but if you’re too lazy to move your arm and adjust the angle to get a clearer shot, then you’re just not trying hard enough to rent this place out.
6. The Glare Photo
7. The Unattractive Balcony Photo
Green space and open air can be at a premium when you live in a densely populated city on an island, so I have accordingly adjusted expectations for balconies in Taiwanese apartments. Nonetheless, that’s no excuse for balconies to be downright ghastly. If there’s a room in your house that looks this bad, for goodness’s sake, do NOT put a photo of it on the Internet!
That’s all for now, folks. If I find any more egregious offenders, I’ll add it to the list. Tomorrow, Steve and I set off for Kaohsiung to -what else?- see some apartments and consider living there for several months!
Yours in good taste,