Internationally recognized home stager, Debra Gould, aka The Staging Diva®, offers photography tips for real estate agents to help encourage prospective home buyers to click on their online listings and get their phone ringing.
According to a 2008 real estate trends report, more than 80% of all home buyers start their property search on the Internet. After narrowing down the tens of thousands of possibilities based on price range, location and number of rooms, the next thing prospective buyers look at are the photos.
First impressions are especially important in a slow real estate market when there are so many homes competing for buyers’ attention, so real estate agents are more concerned than ever before that their listings photos stand out and attract showings. It’s not only how well the shots are lit and whether they’re straight and in focus, the content of the shots is critical too.
When you’re photographing a listing for MLS and your website, consider the following tips to ensure your photos make a good enough impression to have a prospective home buyer click your ‘contact’ link:
Foyer, kitchen and dining room shots – Make sure the entry way looks clear and that all shoes and coats are out of sight. Clear papers and other clutter from table tops and counters, ensure dishes are put away and remove rags and towels from faucets and ovens. Do a quick sweep of the front of the fridge. All those magnets and photos can be a real distraction in a kitchen photo. Any collections on top of the cabinets should be removed at least for the photo and preferably for the entire time the house is on the market. Last but not least, if your coat is hanging on the back of a chair, move it before taking your picture.
Living room shots – Turn off the television or this will end up being the focal point of your photograph! Ensure that art and lampshades are hanging straight and pick up any piles of books and magazines from the floor or coffee table. Remove family photos, clear clutter from the tops of mantles and pianos, pick up any toys and look at the room through your camera’s viewfinder before taking the photo. If you see anything overly distracting in the shot, remove it before you take the picture.
Bedroom shots – Make sure the beds are neatly made and there are no piles of laundry sitting around. Where there’s a dust ruffle on the bed, make sure the bottom edge of it meets, and is parallel with, the floor.
Bathroom shots – Don’t take a photo of a toilet with its lid open. Remove toothbrushes and other personal things from the counter. Make sure towels are hung neatly and don’t keep the shower curtain wide open. Also take care to not photograph your reflection in the bathroom mirror.
Other tips for better digital photos – Be careful that your finger isn’t covering the lens or flash and be sure to hold the camera straight. Try not to move after you’ve focused and don’t move when you’re shooting. Don’t shoot towards a window, or everything in the picture will be too dark. Instead of just pointing and shooting randomly, experiment by taking pictures at different resolutions, with and without flash and with lights on and off.
Adopting these tips should make a big difference in the quality of your photos. If you are reluctant to rearrange your client’s possessions to get the best shots, consider having them present while you’re shooting the rooms to be able to direct them to make the necessary changes for you.
To make an even bigger impact on buyers by increasing the emotional appeal of your listings, consider the services of a professional home stager. They will attend to all these details, arrange flowers for photography, and can even be present during your shoot to ensure everything is in perfect shape. Visit the Staging Diva Directory of Home Stagers to find a home stager near you.
Internationally recognized home staging expert Debra Gould is president of Six Elements Home Staging and creator of the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program with 1000+ Graduates worldwide. Debra is the author of three home staging guides and offers a Directory of Home Stagers to help homeowners and real estate agents locate home stagers who will decorate homes to sell quickly and for top dollar. To learn more visit http://www.stagingdiva.com.
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®Staging Diva is a registered trademark, and ™Debra Gould Studio is a trademark, of Six Elements Design Group Inc.
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