Reading Time:4 minutes, 19 seconds
First impressions matter, especially when your home’s sale is at stake. While a picture may be worth a thousand words, a photo of your home could be worth thousands of dollars! The majority of buyers start their house-hunting process by browsing through available listings on Centris and other real estate websites, and making snap judgments about which homes they would like to visit. If your listing images are dark, blurry or pixellated, chances are you won’t have a second chance at showing off your home’s true assets.
From our experience shooting the homes of hundreds of clients, as well as working hand in hand with several top real estate photographers, here are some recommendations for transmitting the visual qualities that buyers are looking for in a home. Of course if you’re already working with a professional this post is not for you: chances are your broker or their agency photographer will take care of the listing presentation and marketing.
1. Declutter, De-personalize, and Stage
Decluttering your home makes the living space look more spacious, and removes the little distractions that may shift attention from the important architectural features. It might be hard for a buyer to take note of the large marble countertops in your kitchen if they’re focused on your messy collection of countertop appliances and drying racks! Pack away (or temporarily hide) everything but the bare minimum, as to amplify your open space. This is also where staging comes in handy. Try re-organizing your furniture as to maximize how much is visible in each shot, by standing in each corner of the room and removing or shifting the objects that distract you.
2. Give each room a well defined purpose
It may be that your office doubles as a gym, or that you’ve been temporarily using half your living room as a play space for your toddler. When staging for photography, make sure this doesn’t transmit. It should be clear from a single glance whether each shot is a bathroom, powder room, office, master bedroom, second bedroom, or storage space. Multi-purposed rooms may be convenient in real life, but in photography the effect is confusing and off-putting. Let buyers come to their own conclusions about how they would potentially adapt the space to their own lifestyles!
3. Your photos should be an accurate representation of the home
While photoshop can be used to brighten up shadows, fix the light balance and sharpen your photos, your post-editing should honestly and realistically depict the space it portrays. If you’re using a wide angled lens (which you should be), shoot from each corner of the room rather than straight on, since this prevents angle distortions.
4. Use a tripod to eliminate blur
You may need to invest in a tripod that holds your camera steady while you get your exposures; especially if some of your rooms have limited access to natural light. Check each shot and take a few extra for safety’s measure, to ensure you get at least one crystal-clear image of each perspective.
5. Take architectural details into consideration
Potential buyers are drawn in by unique architectural details that set the home apart from others on the market, and add character to the listing. If your home has interesting features such as large french windows, crown mouldings, or decorative columns, now is the time to show them off!
6. Make the most of natural light
Bright and sunny images will always make a better mark on potential buyers. Always leave your blinds or curtains open while shooting, to maximize on the natural light of day. Also, be sure to plan your shoot for a time of day when your home is the brightest, determined by the orientation of the windows and time of year. Since artificial lighting can create unattractive coloured glows and blind spots in your images, the aim is to rely on the sun’s light as much as possible.
7. Get a feel for the neighbourhood
Any series of listing photography is incomplete without a token shot of the street or surrounds. Aside the classic facade shot, give potential buyers a glimpse of the neighbourhood they could be buying into- the neighbourhood park, local heritage site or the nearest canal where they’d be spending their summer weekends. If your home has a private or rooftop terrace overlooking the neighbourhood, a shot of the view should do the trick.
Image: 361 Place de Youville. The listing photography for this condo for sale flaunts the classic Old Montreal heritage architecture, as overlooked from the property’s private terrace.
8. Avoid seasonal decorations
While autumnal garlands and Christmas decor might be incorporated into your open house staging, all seasonal decor should ideally be excluded from your listing photography. Not only is it potentially distracting to buyers, but it also becomes obsolete if your home takes more than a couple months to sell. You wouldn’t want to waste time re-doing your photos once the season’s cheer has passed.
9. Touch up your images with an editing program
When you look at your final selection on a larger screen, you may find that some of them need cropping, straightening or brightening. While maintaining realism, touch up your photos settings to make sure each room is sharp, bright, and well positioned.