7 Biggest Real Estate Photography Mistakes to Avoid

By ForSaleByOwner

While your home might speak for itself in person, photos of it need to show your house in its best light. According to the 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, almost 90 percent of buyers believe the internet is their most useful resource when searching for a home, meaning it’s more important than ever to have high-quality real estate photography in your listing.

First Impressions Matter: Stage Your Home to Attract Buyers

One way to help make your pictures stand out is staging your home. Staging can be a significant investment, but it’s been proven to have an equally significant return. In a survey by the National Association of Realtors, seller’s agents said they believe that staging a home greatly decreases the amount of time it sits on the market.

Not to mention, the potential for additional return on investment. The same survey found that more than 20 percent of seller’s agents believe staging a home increases its value anywhere from 6 to 10 percent – which could mean thousands more dollars in your pocket!

Staging your home before you take photos will make it appear bigger, brighter and more appealing to buyers searching for homes online and can potentially help your home sell faster and for more money.

Photography Do’s and Don’ts

Once you’re sure your home is in tip-top shape, you can start prepping to take photos. But before you use all your storage taking 500 pictures of your kitchen, review these seven tips below to make sure the photos you’re taking are of the highest quality.

1.     Avoid Poor Lighting

The tricky thing about shooting the inside of a home is competing with very bright light coming in through the windows while the interior is dark. Our eyes have no problem adjusting to this situation, but a camera isn’t quite as good.

Try taking photos in the early morning about 30 minutes after sunrise or about an hour before sunset. Open your blinds and curtains to let natural light into the rooms. Take a few shots with all of your interior lights on as well.

Though it may seem weird to use a flash during the day, it’ll help the room look as bright as the light streaming in through the windows.

2.     Declutter

Laundry, toys and shoe piles all contribute to a cluttered, messy photo. Instead of seeing your spacious dining room, buyers might not be able to draw their eyes away from the stacks of mail and magazines on the table and all the coats hung up on the backs of the chairs. Take some time to clear up the clutter. You’ll be glad you did when you see how great your house looks in pictures.

3.     Skip the Selfies

Your listing isn’t the best place for a bathroom selfie. It can be tough to avoid catching your reflection or a bright, weird flash when you’re photographing any room with reflective surfaces, but you can do it! Play around with angles when you’re in a room with a mirror and find a spot to stand that’ll keep you out of the frame so the room can shine all on its own.

4.     Stay Sharp

When snapping photos, it’s important to focus, focus, focus. If you have a tough time keeping your hands steady, use a tripod. Clear shots are essential so that buyers aren’t distracted by what they’re seeing. A blurry photo might make buyers wonder about your professionalism, so it’s important to make sure all your shots are sharp.

5.     Use a Quality Camera

Sure, your latest Instagram post may have gotten double digit likes but using your phone to take photos for your listing is an absolute don’t.

Here’s one of the professional real estate photography tips you can try: Use a DSLR camera with a wide-angle lens and aperture between F8 and F11 to add the feeling of depth to final photos and to help make small spaces look bigger. (Note: Aperture determines how wide a lens is open when you take a photo.) If you don’t have a nice camera, try borrowing one from a friend or renting one. According to a study, listings shot with a DSLR camera sell for more money than those shot with a lower quality camera, so believe us when we say, skip the smartphone pics.

6.     Leave Out Your Kids and Pets

We all know how adorable Jimmy Jr., Fido, and Miss Kitty are, but that doesn’t mean they should appear in your home’s listing. Potential buyers need to be able to easily picture themselves in a home, and if they see your kids or pets, that’s not going to help. Let your home be the star of the shoot! (This includes removing personal photos around the house.)

7.     Go Easy on the Photoshop

A little retouching is okay. In fact, it’s a good idea to adjust white balance and contrast in your photos before posting them. But pictures that are so obviously retouched that they look unreal or odd can make buyers wonder if you’re trying to hide something, setting a bad first impression.

After You Photograph

Following these tips will help show your home in the best light, while not misleading potential buyers about your home. After all, you want your home to look its best, but you also want to set realistic expectations.

Once you’ve chosen the photos you want to feature, it’s important to create a listing that’s as high quality as your photos. Make sure your listing is clear, descriptive and engaging. HGTV recommends using catchy descriptions with your photos to paint an appealing picture of each room. For example, if you have a well-maintained, spacious backyard, you may want to call it a “backyard paradise.” This helps buyers picture themselves relaxing in your outdoor oasis.

At the end of the day, knowing how to take real estate photos is a necessity when selling a home on your own. Alex Kotovskov, a professional real estate photographer, explains, “Quality photos help people imagine their future life in a new place. This emotional trigger makes them send applications. What’s more, the majority of tenants scan photos first, and read property descriptions only in case they find pictures good enough. In other words, adding quality photos is the best way to make listings stand out in the highly competitive market.”

Kristin Hillery is a writer and photographer in Austin, Texas. She currently writes about home décor at Modernize and is not employed by ForSaleByOwner.com or its affiliates.This article has been updated from its previous submission on Aug 23, 2018 to reflect updated information.