Picture Perfect

Tips On How You Can Sell Your Home Through Photos

You’ve seen the photos: dark room, messy bathroom, cramped closet.

With most home buyers using the internet to lead them to their new home, warm photographs of inviting spaces is critical to drawing in a buyer.

warm photographs of inviting spaces is critical to drawing in a buyer

Peggy Taylor, owner of FastPix Photography Services for Real Estate, has been visually showcasing homes for more than a decade. Bad photographs astound her, especially the ones associated with luxury listings.

For those who want to maximize their photos, Taylor offers these 6 tips:

  1. Exterior shots:  Your front exterior shot, generally speaking, is going to be the most important shot that you take. MLS requires the first shot on the listing to be the front exterior (there are exceptions for waterfront properties.) So it’s going to be your money shot; the shot people are going to see first. Remove garbage cans and clean up trash. Avoid a great big shot of the driveway. Try to get a bit of a diagonal shot, which will show the depth of the driveway. And ideally, make sure you can see your front door. “It’s inviting and you can picture yourself walking in,” Taylor said.
  2. Lighting: Turn on all the lights. It gives you ambient light, which creates a warmer, cozier look to the room.
  3. Flash: Always use the flash. Taylor uses multiple flashes, but never points a flash toward the room she is photographing. She points it toward the ceiling. Generally, the best shot of a room is from the corner of the door, looking into the room. Point the flash up so it can bounce off the corner of the ceiling and back into the room. It helps avoid shadows, too.
  4. Blinds & Windows: Open all blinds. Taylor has powerful lighting, which equalizes the brightness of the windows. But if your room is too dim and the window too bright, adjust the blinds a bit so your exposure isn’t off.
  5. Declutter: Remove everything from the counters. In bathrooms, you don’t want to see toothbrushes and medicine. No shampoo bottles. Throw it all in a bucket and hide it away. Make     sure the mirrors don’t have flecks of toothbrush splatter. In the kitchen, always remove the trash can, take away the paper towels. “Anything that reminds you of a chore, get rid of it,” Taylor said. Some appliances are okay to leave out, such as coffee makers and a set of knives. But it’s best not to have too much on the counter because it may obstruct the view of nice details such as backsplashes. So be careful where you place that giant floral arrangement.
  6. Bedrooms: Open the curtains, make sure you can’t see anything under the beds, turn on the lamps. Then take the picture from the door. Taylor has found that holding the camera between the chest and waist (about the height just above the door knob) gives a better perspective of the room. Obviously, if your room has massive ceilings, you will need to hold the camera higher. The same goes for living rooms. Take pictures from a sitting level. And don’t forget to turn off the ceiling fans.

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Phuong Cotey
GGRE Editorial Director Phuong Nguyen Cotey is a former newspaper reporter and a two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee in feature writing for her work at the San Diego Union-Tribune and the St. Petersburg Times (now the Tampa Bay Times). She left journalism to follow her other interests at a nonprofit public-policy think tank and built a second career around philanthropies and foundations. She's also equally passionate about editing. Phuong is the editor for Life*Vida, a book released in November 2013 by Los Angeles Lakers Center/Forward Pau Gasol, a 2-time NBA Champion and 4-time All-Star. She's also a homeowner who wishes she had a hallway closet by the front door and a bigger laundry room.
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