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Tell me what you think when you read these words:

Four bedroom, two bath.

That sounds pretty generic, huh? I could be talking about a high rise condo, a mobile home, a 100-year-old bungalow, or a just-built house in the new development across town.

With so many possibilities, it’s just too hard to imagine.

Of course, I could get really descriptive with adjectives up the wazoo, which may help you start to visualize the exact “four bedroom, two bath” I want you to see in your mind’s eye.

But if I gave you a photo—now that’s worth a thousand words.

We use our eyes to make snap judgements all of the time, even when it comes to the most important and most expensive purchase that we make—which is buying a home. We buy with our eyes first.

If you think that’s bad, here’s something else to consider: listings without photos don’t even make it on the radar of most buyers. They won’t even bother clicking on a listing with “no photos available”.

You need photos to sell your home—but not just any photos will do.

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Put Away Your Smartphone

Do you pose with your family for professional photos? Why not extend the same courtesy to your home?

Hey, your home wants to look good, too! Unfortunately, your crooked smartphone snaps aren’t cutting it, no matter how many Instagram filters you add.

I know you mean well, but unless you’re a full time professional photographer, smartphone photography looks like an amateur did it. Sure, anyone can snap a photo, but taking a one that makes a buyer pause from scrolling, gaze deeply into the scene, and then imagining themselves living there? That’s art, and that’s the power of professional photography at work.

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Choose a Real Estate Photographer

A good real estate photographer understands how to take the kinds of photos that stop buyers in their tracks. You need a photographer who understands interior and exterior photography, the fine balance of natural and artificial light, and how to capture an inviting perspective.

If your real estate agent doesn’t have a good recommendation, check out Real Estate Photographers of America & International. Use this site to find real estate photographers by state or country.

Stage Your Home

Staging Your Home and Professional Photography

Staging and photography go hand in hand. While you can definitely photograph an empty room, why would you want to? It’s difficult to get a sense of depth when you’re taking at four white walls.

A photographed room without furniture will leave your buyers asking questions like, How wide is the room? How tall is it? Will it fit my furniture?

Alternately, if you define each space through proper staging, it’s easier for buyers to conceptualize the space. They can use the furniture you’ve staged in your spaces as an easy frame of reference.

We’ve discussed the ins and outs of staging on the blog before. I highly recommend that you check out our room by room staging guide. In this guide, I discuss what you should focus on in each room of your home.

When possible, hire a professional to stage your home, but in a crunch, you can also apply the same techniques discussed in the guide yourself to maximize each space.

Select Rooms to Photograph

Select Your Rooms to Photograph

You don’t need to photograph every room of your house. In fact, please don’t. Leave a little to the imagination, but definitely focus in on these four rooms:

The Kitchen – It’s no secret that kitchens sell homes, and that’s why it must be the centerpiece of your photograph listing. Be sure to remove all of the clutter from the surfaces. This includes all appliances. Appliances on a counter often indicate a lack of space.

The Living Room – No one wants to live in a dark, dingy, closed off room. The best living room photos show a room that’s spacious and filled with light. Be sure that your photographer conveys this message with his or her photos.

The Master Bedroom – Your master bedroom is a sanctuary. For the purpose of photos, it needs to be as non-specific as possible, though. While there should be no photos of you and very few to no personal touches, there should always be a sense of purpose in your living room. Do this through investing in new, crisp white linen, and creating symmetry through staging.

The Master Bathroom – This bathroom is too large, said no one ever. Everyone wants a large, luxurious master bathroom. If you don’t have one, you’ve got to work with what you’ve got—but there are tricks to make it look larger. Start by clearing surfaces, using three or less repeating colors, and light (lots of it).

Keep Your Home Photo Ready

But taking pictures isn’t enough. It’s crucial that your home stay camera ready. Don’t scare buyers away by looking totally different in person than your home looks on your listing. It’s little things like this that can destroy a buyer’s trust and cause them to reconsider buying from you. Craft a consistent image, and try to stay as picture perfect as possible.

Here’s some motivation for you: Imagine your mother in law is coming over. That level of panic that drives you to be a saint of cleanliness and organization is the same one you should use to stay photo ready.

Remember to keep your surfaces clear. Clutter is the easiest way to destroy ambiance.

Photo Best Practices

Here are a few things you should do to make sure you have a productive photo shoot that will sell your home.

Schedule photo shoots for the mornings or evenings. According to the real estate photography website Shoot2sell, the best times to schedule your photoshoot depend on the direction your house faces. If your house faces:

Professional Real Estate Photography Example

East – Schedule a morning or mid-day photoshoot.
West – Schedule a mid-day or afternoon photoshoot.
North – Morning and afternoon work equally great accept in the winter where late morning to afternoon works best.
South – The same as a North facing home.

Stage your home first. For the reasons we’ve discussed above, staging makes a huge impact on how a potential buyer will interpret the photo. I can’t emphasize staging enough.

Turn on all lights. Even if your photoshoot is on a bright and sunny afternoon, the best light mix is natural and artificial. It’s recommended to remove as many shadows as possible.

Focus on quality vs. quantity. More isn’t always better. Sometimes, it’s best to have less photos that represent the best parts of your home.

Final Thoughts

Professionally photographed homes sell quicker than those taken with a shaky hand and a smartphone. If you can succeed in getting a buyer to fall in love with your home from a photograph alone, you’re well on your way to selling. Use these tips and an experienced real estate consultant to sell your home quicker and for more money. Let's talk!

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