Staging your home to sell doesn’t stop at ridding rooms of quirky collectibles and cleaning for showings. Proper home staging with selling in mind also means considering your home’s listing photos, too.
Photos you post of your home are a prospective buyer’s very first impression. If you’re putting your house on the market and thinking about taking real estate listing photos yourself, avoid doing so without some proper guidance—unless you want to be featured in an online collection of bad real estate photos!
The Extra Space Storage team spoke with a few real estate experts who let us in on their top tips to take a dull listing to realty gold. Read on to learn everything from lighting and angle considerations to keeping clutter at bay in photos.
Taking quality photos doesn’t mean you have to break the bank on expensive photography equipment, but consider investing in some staple items that will really make a difference. Although smartphone cameras hit the market with continually improving resolution, for the best results, try to find a DSLR camera. And if at all possible, use a tripod for your shoot to ensure your photos are level, consistent, and crisp. Another optional tool is a light reflector, which helps brighten and direct light.
Photo editing software is another worthwhile way to turn mediocre photos into memorable shots. Look into getting a free trial of Adobe Lightroom, or save some time by exploring the preset features of a photo editing app.
Home Staging Photography Tips
Find Good Lighting Like a Pro
It’s no secret that good lighting is essential to photography. Work to allow in as much natural light as possible for a clear, bright picture. To avoid glare, says real estate blogger Brian Davis, shoot pictures with the light source behind or to the side of you.
And while natural light is best for taking pictures, too much sunlight streaming through the windows can create a harsh glow. If your pictures look washed out, real estate writer and professional photographer Brentnie Daggett suggests hanging sheer white curtains as window treatments to diffuse light and produce a softer glow.
One trick for taking attention-grabbing exterior photos is to shoot at dusk or dawn. Just after sunset, turn on all the interior and exterior lights to set up a dreamy and warm look. Daggett says, “There’s nothing more inviting than a glowing home at dusk.” And because lighting will be unique to each house, real estate agent Mindy Jensen recommends experimenting by taking pictures at different times of the day.
Try Different Angles
Finding a good angle to display a room in its entirety can be challenging. Again, it’s best to try out several different angles until you find one you like. Davis suggests taking shots from eye level, while kneeling, and then from a high level, to give yourself options. He notes, “Low or high-angle shots can often make a room look larger, and the variety makes for more interesting and eye-catching photos.” Shooting from the corner shows the most depth, notes realtor Nathan Garrett; Daggett adds, “Taking your photograph from a far corner rather than an adjacent wall will make the room appear larger.” And not only does this better showcase how spacious a room really is—it also helps capture every important aspect of the room in frame. You can’t see most of the room in one photo otherwise. But be careful when selecting a camera lens, as some wide angle lenses will distort the dimensions of the room.
Perspective is also quite important to consider with real estate photography. Photos that make rooms look like they have odd proportions are a dead giveaway to amateur photo skills. To make sure that corners, door frames, and other “verticals” appear straight, real estate investor expert Evan Harris suggests using a tripod for alignment and shooting from hip height or above eye level.
Staging: less is more
Staging a room to photograph is slightly different than designing a room for everyday life. In many cases, you’ll want to de-clutter both furniture and other décor. Professional organizer Ben Soreff advises creating a more open space by arranging the furniture away from the foreground of the picture and removing excessive pieces. And Jensen offers the reminder that nothing can ruin a shot like a pile of dirty laundry, an unmade bed, or an overflowing trash can—so have some friends take a walkthrough of your home with you to help catch any unsightly items you may have overlooked. This applies for exterior shots, too. For houses with large trees out front, find an angle that minimizes how much greenery blocks your home.
As far as décor goes, it can be helpful to add a spot of color here and there to attract attention in a neutral toned room—and try replacing some books with decorative pieces to enhance visual interest in a wall of books.
Don’t Misrepresent the Space
When shooting and editing pictures of your house, be sure to avoid misrepresenting the space. Jensen warns against misleading photos, as pictures are meant to provide an initial look at a house or property. If a buyer arrives at a house to find it’s not what they expected, they may lose interest. “There is no point in using funky lenses or weird angles in order to make the home appear to be what it isn’t,” Jensen notes.
Spending time taking quality photos with prospective buyers in mind could be just what you need to drive interest in your latest listing—and avoid those DIY photo fails.