When would-be homeowners are scrolling through house listings online, it’s the photos that catch their eye and make them stop to read more about a home. It’s also the photos that compel them to come look at a property. If your photos are dingy, cramped, or sloppy, people are likely to think your house is dingy, cramped, or shoddily constructed. Here’s how to make sure your home looks its best in photos.
Stage Each Scene
Spend some time preparing each room for its photo session. Clean and declutter thoroughly. Remember that rooms will seem more crowded in photos, so remove some furniture if possible. Your paperback book collection and all those cute photos of your family won’t impress potential buyers; take collections of small objects out of the room and bring in one big vase of fresh flowers or a houseplant to bring some life into the shot instead. Replace any clutter near your front door with a chair, a small table, and some potted flowers to make your outdoor space look more inviting.
Use Natural Light
Dark photos make rooms look smaller and can cause your house to seem depressing or even ominous. Never try to take photos when it’s dark outside using only lamps or overhead lighting. Take advantage of natural light wherever possible. Wait for a sunny day, open all the curtains, turn on some lights, and take shots at different times of day to catch the best angle of the sun in each room.
Take exterior shots on a bright day with the sun at your back to avoid harsh shadows. Also take an evening shot, just before dusk, with all the interior and exterior lights on to capture a warm, welcoming scene.
Be Deliberate About Framing
When you’re shooting those exterior pics, make sure you’re lining up the roofline parallel to the top of the frame so that your house doesn’t look like it’s sinking or sliding down a hill. For interior shots, stand in the doorway to capture as much of the room as possible. Try different angles, squatting down for some shots and standing on a stepstool for others, to get the perfect capture.
Use a Good Camera
A good camera will let more light into the lens and capture crisp details that will make your house seem fresher. Use your mobile device only if it has a great camera, like the 12MP camera of the Galaxy S7 Edge. If your device doesn’t have that kind of power, borrow one from a friend. Most people are mistrustful of images that seem heavily edited, so it’s better to use a high-quality camera that takes crisp, clear shots that won’t need editing.
Capture the Curb Appeal
Take photos that showcase your home and property from the street. If your home sits in the center of the lot, then center it in the frame. If your yard is larger on one side or the other, try to get the door of the house about a third of the way into the frame. Either way, shoot from an angle rather than straight on to capture a three-dimensional view of the house. Your walkway or sidewalk should either be aligned as near perpendicular to the roof line as possible or should sweep into the shot from one corner. Note, however, that sweeping in from the corner works best with a curved walkway.
Welcome the Viewer
A shot from the entryway, with the front door open and the house warmly lit from the inside, presents a wonderful image to a prospective buyer. Take this shot during the “magic hour” just before dusk. Have the porch light and interior lights blazing in this shot. Try shooting the open doorway from different distances to find the best framing.
If you have a good sense of style and some experience with your camera, you can capture appealing shots of your house yourself. If you struggle with photography, ask a friend who has a good eye for detail to help you. Take lots of photos and experiment with light and angle, then delete all but the best shots. You’re sure to wind up with a few winners.