Preparing for Your Home’s Photo Shoot
Real Estate Photography plays a critical role in marketing your property. In fact the National Association of Realtors® revealed that 89% of buyers cite photographs as the most important feature on real estate websites and homes with professional photographs are viewed 61 percent more frequently than others and sell for higher prices than similar homes.
For these reasons, the images taken of your home will be one of the most significant factors in selling your home. We offer these hints to help you get the most from the photographs we take. While we’ll gladly do light staging and make small changes to improve our shots, it will be the steps you take in preparation for our visit that will be the most important.
All these hints have proven helpful in selling homes for others and have been gleaned from books, magazines, websites and word of mouth. However, everyone’s home and situation is different, so don’t stress out. Do what you can and help your house put its best foot forward. If there’s not enough time or other resources to complete the list, don’t worry. Consider these hints as tools, not a list of demands. If you have questions or concerns, consult with your agent. They’ll know what’s best for your home.
The Check List
The Front Elevation Shot
This is the most frequently viewed image of your home and it is on this picture most shoppers base their initial interest. First impressions matter and if this picture is not appealing, many buyers will not get past it. Your agent has probably already suggested many of these.
_____ Pick up everything that could be a distraction, in the yard, on sidewalks, in driveways and on patios and
balconies : trash, toys, sports equipment, toys, bikes, towels and lawn equipment, for instance.
_____ Trim shrubs and trees.
_____ Weed flower beds, rock gardens and/or any open spaces not covered in sod. Remove any dead plants.
_____ Fresh mulch will enhance your curb appeal.
_____ Mow and edge the lawn as close to shoot as possible.
_____ Blow or rake leaves and grass cuttings.
_____ Yard & Patio Furniture should be clean, well-maintained and attractively arranged. Sometimes less is
more, so removing some might create a more spacious look.
_____ On the day of the shoot, trash bins should be in the garage and no cars should be parked in front of the
house or in the driveway.
_____ Fresh seasonal flowers are a bonus in the beds or in pots – especially near the front door.
_____ Repair doors, windows, shutters and other architectural features.
_____ Clean windows will help both inside and out.
See Your House with a Fresh Eye
Photographs don’t offer an explanation for distractions, so go through your house room by room and try to see it as a stranger would. Remove as much clutter as you possibly can. Be sure everything is clean and neat. Here are some things you might overlook because you are used to looking at your own home.
_____ Is there too much furniture? Model homes often have only enough furniture in them to indicate what the
room could be used for. Items like extra chairs, tv trays, small tables, foot stools, electronic equipment and
such may be frequently used by your family, but they will clutter up a picture. Hide them away in an attic
or garage for the day of the shoot.
_____ Are there items which detract from the universal appeal of the home? Personal items like pet beds,
children’s toys and hobbies-in-progress are the very things that make a house your home, but if the items
do not reflect the lifestyle of potential buyers, they could assume the house is not for them. Box up these
items and hide them away during the shoot.
_____ Are window coverings in good repair and fresh looking? If blinds are broken or drapes are hanging
unevenly, an empty window will be more appealing on the day of the shoot. And be sure the windows are
_____ Are there any burned out lights? Light fixtures and lamps will enhance the photos if they are lit.
_____ Look for and correct distracting electrical connections, if possible. If you can see electrical cords dangling
along the wall from your lamps and electronics to the outlet, so can the camera. This could be a negative
signal to a buyer. They might think the home does not have sufficient outlets or the outlets are poorly
placed. On the day of the shoot, just unplug as many of these appliances as you can and hide the cords. If
the cord belongs to a lamp which is critical for lighting, then adding an extension cord or redirecting to
another plug might help.
The Day of the Shoot
_____ Smooth wrinkles and lines out of linens and cushions. Our goal is to keep potential buyers focused on the
features of your home, but small details distract the eye. Sagging decorative pillows or wrinkles in a
bedspread are tiny imperfections, but they could end up in the center of a shot. The photographer takes
several angles in the room to identify those that will best demonstrate the size of a room and its features.
Those bedspread wrinkles you thought no one would notice might be the first thing someone sees.
_____ Check under furniture, especially beds and sofas for items which might show up in pictures. Stand across
the room from furnishings which have spaces under them. If you can see something, so can the camera.
While you may know it’s just your house slippers or your knitting, a potential buyer won’t and might assign
a negative connotation to it.
_____ Vacuum rugs and carpets. If you have deep pile carpets, crisp vacuum cleaner tracks look great in pictures.
_____ Check switchplates, door jambs and appliances for fingerprints.
_____ Check to be sure all wall decorations are hanging straight.
_____ Turn off all ceiling fans to avoid blurring of the fan blades.
_____ Turn on all lights.
_____ Confine pets for the duration of the shoot.