If you’re selling a home, some of your most important assets are going to be the photos you take of your property. If you’re listing the home on an online platform or showcasing it with the help of a real estate agent, photos are going to form the first impressions of your prospective buyers. People will get excited about your home or instantly pass on it, depending on what they see—regardless of how attractive your home is under usual circumstances.
There are a few useful strategies you can employ when taking and managing photos in anticipation of a home sale.
Hire a Professional
You may have a decent camera and some experience shooting photographs, but it’s usually better to hire a professional than to take images yourself. A professional photographer will cost a bit of money, but they’re going to have better equipment, a better sense for what makes a “good” photo, the potential to come up with better ideas, and better long-term support if they’re willing to touch-up your images on your behalf. Shop around to find a skilled, experienced photographer at a reasonable rate, and aim for someone with experience photographing homes.
Stage the Home as Neutrally as Possible
In anticipation of your photo session, try to stage your home as naturally and neutrally as possible. You likely have lots of personal affects, including artwork on the walls, personal items, and shelves stocked with your favorite books and movies. However, in the interest of appealing to the widest possible range of demographics, it’s best to remove these features and stick to a “basic” version of your home. You may also want to work to arrange the furniture to show off the best aspects of your rooms.
Add a Few Decorative Items
That said, you can make your photos pop by adding a few, well-placed decorative items. For example, you could install a tasteful fireplace screen to make your living room seem more inviting, or a vase full of colorful flowers to make your dining room come alive. Try to place these so they highlight some of the best features of your home, but don’t make them too ostentatious or polarizing.
Frame the Photos to Maximize Perception of Space
Next, make sure you’re taking photos in a way that maximizes the subjective perception of space. For example, it’s usually better to take a photo of a room in the doorway, giving you the widest possible angle of the room’s contents. It’s also wise to take a knee, and snap some photos closer to ground level; it can make the room seem bigger, and show off the room from a unique angle.
Take Photos With the Right Lighting
Lighting can make or break your home’s photos, so spend some time getting it right. In the absence of any clearer or more compelling strategy, try to utilize the brightest natural light possible—and wait for the right time of day, if need be. You can complement this or substitute it, in some cases, by setting up and capitalizing on bright artificial lights. Depending on the nature of your home, certain rooms (or the exterior of your home) could benefit from a night shot or two as well.
Take Some Close-Ups
While many of your shots will be from a distance, there’s an advantage in taking a few closeups. For example, you might take a close-up photo of a unique mantle, or of the new cabinetry in the kitchen. When these shots are mixed into your wider room shots, it can really make the personality of your home come alive.
Always Take More Than You Need
This is a general rule in photography, but always take more photos than you feel you need. If you’re only going to include 20 photos in your listing, take 200, capturing images from multiple angles and with multiple kinds of lighting. That way, you’ll have a higher probability of eventually capturing the “perfect” image. You can always throw out the photos that don’t work.
Don’t Be Afraid to Touch Things Up
Finally, don’t hesitate to jump into a photo editor and touch things up. Tweaking the lighting, smoothing over a blemish that you plan to repair, or removing something unsightly can make any image instantly better. Just make sure you don’t doctor the photos so intensely that they unfairly represent your property.
With the right photos, your home is going to attract much more positive attention—and hopefully, sell for a higher price. You may need to experiment a bit, relying on multiple photography sessions and a rotating roster of photos, but eventually you’ll land on a lineup that shows the best possible side of your home.