How to Take Pictures for Real Estate Listings

A picture can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, especially when it comes to selling your house. According to a report by the National Association of Realtors, 90% of home buyers across all demographics use the Internet to search for homes. Knowing how to take great pictures for real estate listings (or perhaps more importantly, how to get those photos) is critical for getting lots of traffic and a quick sale. Our top two most important tips for getting the best listing photos are pretty straightforward:

  1. Stage all the rooms first. There’s nothing worse than multiple photos of messy, overly personalized rooms to send buyers the message that you’re not serious about selling. If you need help with this part, get in touch with us here.
  2. Use a professional real estate photographer! I cannot overstate the importance of this. Real estate photography requires a very particular skill set, from actually taking the photos to properly editing the finished product. In Katy, TX and the Houston area, hiring a professional real estate photographer is fairly inexpensive and is almost always a good investment when selling your home.

Take a look a the before and after shots of our client’s home. Great photography makes a difference!

However…IF you don’t live in an area where real estate photographers are not readily available or if it’s simply outside your price range, you may decide to take your own photos. If that’s the case, be sure to keep these tips in mind:

  • Stage all the rooms first. It’s important and bears repeating.
  • Use a good camera. Although newer model cell phone camera have come a long way, their resolution is still low, so if you plan to use your images for anything other than the Internet (printed brochures, for example), you’ll need a DSLR camera.
  • Use a tripod. None of the professional photographers I’ve worked with use them, but they don’t need to because they’re pros — you’re probably not. A tripod will give you sharper shots. The ideal height is slightly lower than eye level.
  • Get a wide angle lens. A good one is super expensive (another good reason to hire a pro), but they’re critical to get a decent shot of the whole room, especially bathrooms and other small spaces. You can sometimes rent a lens or purchase an inexpensive one online, but be aware they may create a fishbowl effect or other distortion in the photos.
  • Take photos from the doorway or entrance to the room to give buyers the most complete perspective of the space. You can take other pictures from other angles too but definitely include this one.
  • Use as much natural light as possible. Use flash only as a back-up since it can cause unsightly reflections. Your choice of lighting throughout the house also plays a HUGE role in getting great photos. See our blog post on choosing the right light bulb for optimum results.
  • Avoid taking interior pictures at night unless you want your house to look haunted.
  • Stand with the sun to your back when taking exterior shots of the home. Taking photos at an angle (instead of head-on) to give the photo more depth and dimension. If possible, wait for a day with blue skies to minimize the need for editing.

When your house is staged right, photographed right, and priced right, you’ll have a listing that’s “just right” for bringing in lots of potential buyers!

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