7 Biggest Real Estate Photography Mistakes to Avoid


While your home might speak for itself in person, photos of it absolutely need to show your house in its best light. The 2014 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers shows that 92 percent of buyers use the Internet in their home search and 50 percent use a mobile website or app. With the Internet and mobile apps being so driven by images, it’s never been more important to have high quality, attention-grabbing photos in your listing.

Before you break out your iPhone and start snapping away, check out the biggest — and most common — mistakes home sellers make when it comes to real estate photography and learn how to avoid them for a faster home sale.

1. 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 up your blinds and curtains to let some natural light into the rooms. Take a few shots with all of your interior lights (yes, all of them) 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. Clutter

Laundry, toys, even extra furniture can all contribute to a cluttered, chaotic photo. Instead of seeing your amazing dining room chandelier, 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 the time to clear up clutter. You’ll be glad you did when you have your first showing.

3. Photographer’s reflection

Your listing ad 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. You’ll be able to find a spot to stand that’ll keep you out of the frame so the room can shine on its own. Keep in mind that your reflection can show up in windows and glass furniture, too, which can make viewers wonder if your house is haunted.

4. Blur

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

5. Poor quality

Sure, your latest Instagram post about your lunch got 15 likes, but using your phone to take photos for your listing is an absolute don’t. Your trusty point ‘n’ shoot won’t do it, either — use a DSLR camera. Borrow one from a friend or rent one; research shows that listings shot with a DSLR sell for more money than those shot with a lower quality camera.

6. Pets and little humans

Yes, yes, we all know how adorable Jimmy Jr., Fido, and Miss Kitty are, but there’s no reason they should appear in your home’s real estate listing. Potential buyers need to be able to easily picture themselves in a home, and if they see your kids or pets in photos, that’s not going to help. Let your home be the solo shining star of the shoot.

7. Way too much Photoshop

A little retouching is fine. In fact, it’s probably a good idea to adjust white balance and contrast in your photos before you put them up. (Personally, I love using Lightroom.) But photos that are so obviously retouched that they look unreal or odd can make buyers wonder if you’re trying to hide something.

Avoid making these common real estate photo mistakes and you’ll be on your way to creating a great listing ad that buyers will love.

Kristin Hillery is a writer and photographer in Austin, Texas. She currently writes about home décor at Modernize.