photo of open concept white kitchen to living room

6 Things to Do–and 4 to avoid!– for Great Real Estate Photos

They say that a picture is worth 1000 words, but if that’s true then real estate photos are worth even more. In an industry that typically confuses “cozy” and “cramped” or “vintage” and “outdated”, having good quality real estate photos can bring more attention and interest to a home or listing you’re trying to sell.

While some real estate agents will suggest you hire a professional, there are many tips and tricks you can use yourself to create appealing home photos–without breaking the bank! Here are the 6 Must-Do things for taking great real estate photos and 4 things to avoid!


real estate photo lots of light
 
1). Clear Out the Clutter

The best home photos have enough items in them that a potential buyer can get a “feel” for the size of a room, but not so much that they get distracted by your possessions. Clear off your counter-tops, remove excessive knickknacks, and clear the floor of unnecessary objects.


 
room with blinds open
 
2). Let the Light In

How do you perceive a home that’s dark and shadowy? Scary, creepy, or just not right? Few things will put off a buyer than the impression that your home doesn’t have a lot of light. If you have blinds or curtains, open them! Overhead lighting? Turn it on! No overhead lighting? Grab some lamps (and set them up outside the frame). Natural light is the best for taking pictures and modern cameras have adapted remarkably well to preventing the wash-out effect that film cameras often faced. If you’re taking exterior pictures, schedule a time to take them where the sun will be behind you. If possible, otherwise about 1.5 hours before sunset seems to be the magical photo time. While it shouldn’t make a difference, having a sunny day or a pretty sunset will actually attract more attention to your listing than an overcast day will.
 

photo of house at dusk with lights on
 
3). Night Light Can be the Right Light

If your house looks good at night, show it off! While the night look isn’t for every home, homes with many windows and thoughtful landscaping look great when showcased at night, just don’t forget to also include daytime pictures!


photo of room shot from corner
 
4). Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner (Unless it’s a Real Estate Shot!)

Most often you’ll find that pictures taken from a corner are the most flattering. You’ll be able to include more of the room than in a picture taken from the middle of a wall. Additionally, room will appear actual-sized (if not larger), and visually it’s just more interesting.
 


 
5). Keep it Classy (and Legal!)

Some of the funniest “real estate fail” photos come from what people didn’t mean to take a picture of. Maybe it’s your reflection (sans pants) in the window or the unkempt state of your bathroom or any number of other didn’t-even-think-of-that things. Though, funny (and failing) is not what you’re going for here. Before you share your photos, it’s a good idea to have a friend look over them to make sure that there are no gross, funny, or illegal items shown in any part of your photos.


 
woman's hand while looking at photos online
 
6). Take More Than You Need

You should always take more photos than you need. If one turns out blurry or off-kilter you’ll have backup. It might turn out that the antique vent covers and wide woodwork that you rarely think about are actually the charming pièce de résistance that your buyers were hoping for. Having photos of close up details as well as broad photos will help you decide what the best features of your home might be.
 
Don’ts

 
1). Don’t Wait

While you may think that you need a fancy, expensive camera with all the bells and whistles, don’t let that stop you! It is very, very difficult to sell a property these days without photos as most buyers start their search online. While you will still get a better photo from an SLR professional-quality camera, the camera you’re using is much less important compared to how your shots are set up and any photos you can add will greatly help reach buyers.
 

2). Don’t Pretend

While you want to showcase your home in the best light, don’t be disingenuous with your photos. Don’t use a wide-angle lens (like those found in GoPro cameras or filters available for other camera models) to make the rooms appear larger or frame your shots to exclude the neighbor’s home that’s this close to your home. Keep in mind that buyers will be seeing your home in real life and you don’t want to waste your time or theirs with the wrong expectations. The same rule applies to photo editing. Yes, you want your real estate photos to stand out, but no, this is not the time for 45° angle shots or crazy, unnatural filters. Likewise, changing the brightness or contrast of a photo is fine, but completely transforming your room via Photoshop is not.
 

3). Don’t Forget the Good Stuff

When you list your home for sale, you’re also going to need to have a description of your property. Depending where you have your home posted, these descriptions may be keyword searchable meaning you’ll want to talk up the biggest selling points of your home, but don’t stop there. Make sure you have photos to back it up! Nothing is worse than a description saying that a home has a “lavish and unique wine cellar” with no picture to go along with it.
 

4). Don’t be Afraid to Stage

Sure, you don’t always have your dining room table set for formal dinner, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t for your photos! No matter who buys your home, they’re going to have different decor and tastes than you, so your job isn’t to make your rooms look like your rooms, you just need them to look the best they can be. Need to borrow a painting from another room? Do it! Want to move a television set out of your kid’s bedroom? Do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your decor to attract a buyer!
 

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