When selling your home, making it stand out as a listing in a competitive marketplace depends on many factors. What features do you have that others don’t? What is new and improved? How many square feet do you have? These are all important things to note when buyers view your home online, but what creates the single biggest impact and draws people in? Photos—plain and simple. Great photos can turn potential buyers off, or draw them like flies. So how do you photograph your house to make it look impressive?
1. Take lots and lots of photographs. People make the mistake of taking one or two shots of every room or outdoor landscape hoping they’ve captured a masterpiece. When you look back through the shots you’ve taken, you’ll be surprised at just how many of them you don’t like. So do yourself a favor and take 5-10 shots of each room or landscape you want to feature, then cull them to create a portfolio you’re happy with.
2. Take multiple shots from various angles in each room. What looks good to the naked eye may not look good framed by a camera lens. It’s amazing how taking several shots at slightly different angles from the same position in a room can alter its appearance. The room may look larger or smaller than normal; open and airy, or closed and dreary; or cramped instead of nicely proportioned. Make sure you shoot each room from several angles and positions around the space, particularly corner to corner.
3. Take outdoor photos when it’s sunny. No one wants to look at dreary grey pictures, so if it’s at all possible, try to photograph your house when the sun is shining on it. Avoid shooting directly into the sunlight to reduce glare and prevent photos from appearing washed out. Also, avoid shooting at the times of day when the house appears in shadow or part shadow. Highlight selling features like mature landscaping, ponds, water features, pools, spas, interesting entrance doors or French doors with their own photos, or as the centerpiece of more “artistic” shots.
4. Turn on the lights. Always, always, always try to get as much light into a room as possible. Most of us don’t have professional photography lights laying around, but opening up the blinds or curtains and turning on the lights—or even bringing in an extra lamp or two—goes a long way towards brightening up the feeling of any room. Try not to shoot from a well-lit area (i.e. an entry way with lots of natural light) into a dull one, as the rooms you’re shooting will appear even darker.
5. Get a little creative, but not too much. If you’re shooting some nice garden landscaping, kneel down and shoot level with the plants. Shooting a small room as an “upshot” may make the room appear larger as you are able to show more height. If you have a large open foyer or cathedral ceilings, you will want to go to the highest vantage point and shoot as a “downshot” to highlight the expansiveness of the space. Play around with angles and shooting positions but always remember that buyers like to know what they are looking at, so put yourself in their shoes, or show your shots to friends and see what they think before making your final decisions.
6. Look at everything in the room and remove anything extra. De-clutter seems to be the real-estate catch phrase of the moment, and it’s even more important in photos. There is very little forgiveness in the framed area relayed by the camera lens. Fridges with report cards and soccer practice times stuck to them will appear messy, and countertops and tables with appliances and personal keepsakes can make a photograph appear “busy.” Keep clean lines, remove everything not integral to the shot and replace it later. Clean up your dishes, straighten the pillows on the couch, and put away the laundry hamper.