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Top 10 Tips For Photographing a Home For Sale

Selling a home these days means that it has to be marketed through the internet. And for the home to be sticky on the internet, photography is very important. The Los Angeles Times had a great post on photographing homes for the web. I have culled some of the best advice and added some of my own to create the:

Top 10 Tips For Photographing a Home For Sale:

  1. Use a tripod. It provides steadiness and allows you to operate your digital camera’s controls — specifically, shooting interiors at a slower speed.
  2. Strive for even lighting. Professionals use strobe lights to brighten the dark spots. One of the mistakes that amateur photographers make is to shut all the blinds and turn on every artificial light in the room. This creates “halos” around each lamp. Don’t shoot when sunlight is streaming in from the windows. And use the flash on the camera to even things out.
  3. Remove all clutter. Also remove all personal photos. The goal is to have potential buyers envision themselves living in your house; your family’s photos interfere with that process.
  4. Wet down the brick patio and concrete pool surround to avoid it being too bright in the photo. Wetting it down also brings out the rich color in the brick.
  5. Don’t be afraid of the shade. Gardens look richer when they aren’t shot in the blazing sun.
  6. Leave no detail unattended. Tape the folds of the dining room tablecloth so it doesn’t pucker out. Position chairs uniformly (about 1 foot) from the table’s edge.
  7. Shooting a pool presents special challenges because of the reflective nature of the water. Use a flash and try your shot in late afternoon or early morning.
  8. Change the Perspective for exterior shots. If you shoot the home from the traditional front on shot, it is generic. Be creative and make the pictures memorable.
  9. Consider using a software program such as Photoshop to touch things up. It is a way to eliminate telephone and electric wires. Ditto for punching up colors and obscuring some less desirable elements.
  10. Tell a story. Your photo’s still may not win awards but the key thing is to create an impression that this house will be someones home. Remember the end in mind, the goal of every picture is to sell the home. Even if you use an outside photographer, tell them the idea’s you want to get across and the target market.

Bonus Tip:

Take your camera every time you visit the home. Nobody said that the photo’s you put up on the site have to remain forever. If you see a great shot that shows off the home, take it and change out the pictures. Small improvements lead to great results.

Bonus Tip 2:

Play with the video on your digital camera. Most have it and you may be surprised with the results. Video is becoming more and more accepted and can tell a richer story to prospective buyers. Think I am nuts, then watch Doug Quance’s video on pouring the foundation and basement of a home being built. It may not be exciting, but over the next 5 years this video will probably be watched 1,000 times by prospective sellers and buyers who will learn from the great attention to detail. Not a bad investment for Doug or for you if you get motivated to make your own.

So today you have 12 new ideas for photographing the homes you are marketing. They are fairly easy and most come from top photographers in the field. If you are selling homes and marketing them on the internet, photographs are your best friend. Get out of the mindset of minimalist classified advertising and make your website rich in information. Big photographs, soaring descriptions, and educational video’s will turn your moribund internet efforts into stellar results.


  1. Other tips;

    Take dozens of photos. You’ll be surprised how many you take are not the greatest and then suddenly frontal shot attempt #7 looks “wow”.

    Wide angle lens gets more of the room in.

    Great list though!


  2. Austin Realtor'

    You know what's funny guys? Before I scrolled down, I thought immediately of saying "great post! Athol is a fantastic source of the flipside of how NOT to photograph with his "Bad MLS Photos" series"… he was too modest to do so, so I will suggest everyone check reagentinct.com out!

    This really is a great article- your attention to detail in WRITING proves your very point to pay attention to details! My favorite tip is #4- we do this for our photography when we do it in-house and it makes an amazing difference, especially in these warmer climates! Thank you so much for this post- it will be sent to all of the firm's agents :)

  3. I use a wide angle lens too. It really helps capture the whole room but can distort the corners of the photograph.

  4. Good comprehensive tips for photos. I would add to the exterior tips – use a polarizing filter. SLRs and some advanced zoom camera accept them, if not then just hold one up in front of the lense. Really helps the pool shots and the sky come alive.

    I'm looking into doing some video intros to my property sites. Do you have any thoughts on interior lighting for video? I'm getting a lav mic for my DV camcorder to even out the sound.

  5. These are really basic obvious tips on this site. I've been looking for really good tips on photographing homes, and the best site I've come across so far is from iMediaTours website. They have a really nice visual comparison, and a good sence of humor to add to it. and the pictures they use are really good, and they teach you how to get professional quality photos. And they simplify everything.

    Does anybody know of any other good sites like iMediaTours?

    tell me what you guys think…

  6. Liked all of your advise until I got to #9. Be sure that the elimination of objects does not turn into misrepresentation. Putting blue sky in place of a billboard or eliminating power lines or poles that will still be there will get you into a lot of trouble. Using software to restore the true color of the walls or to correct barrel distortion caused by wide angle lenses etc. is fine.

  7. I've also I’ve created some tips for real estate agents who are just starting out with photography – please have a look here:

    Best of luck – hope they help!
    Justin Adams (Real Estate Photographer) http://www.home2market.com/justin-adams

  8. This really is a great article- your attention to detail in WRITING proves your very point to pay attention to details! My favorite tip is #4- we do this for our photography when we do it in-house and it makes an amazing difference, especially in these warmer climates! Thank you so much for this post- it will be sent to all of the firm's agents. Seattle Real Estate

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