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Looking to sell your home fast? Well, we said it here first: the pictures are important! According to the National Association of Realtors, 9 out of 10 home buyers start their search online. Besides the property description, photos of the property are a seller’s main form of advertising. Photos can speak volumes, especially when posted to Facebook, Twitter, and Zillow. For example, they can tell you how big the rooms are, what kind of light is in the kitchen, or whether the home owners have taken good care of the floors, molding, and paint. Good photos provide a visual message that says: this home is WORTH the listing price.

Here we’ve gathered the best photography tips for a seller who’s looking to market their home in the most professional way:

  • Always use a tripod, and try to keep camera level by using the ceiling and floor as horizontal guides. Consider shooting from a lower (lower than eye level) viewpoint, and with objects in the foreground. This will give the photos depth. Again, try not to tilt the camera up or down, because it will give objects unnatural shapes.
  • You can take interior photos at twilight to avoid the windows being “blown out” from too much light coming through during the day (just make sure to turn the lights on inside).
  • Staging not only makes an empty house look inviting, letting the buyer imagine themselves in it, but it gives the rooms a sense of scale. In fact, rooms that are staged properly actually look bigger with furniture in them, as opposed to nothing at all. Remember, a large majority of home buyers are going to be looking at photos online, so giving the rooms a sense of scale is very important.
  • If possible, show more than one room in a shot. If the master bedroom has an attached bath, or the kitchen leads into the dining area, capturing both rooms in the shot not only gi9ves visual interest but allows the buyer to see the flow of the house.  Of course,  these shots are in addition to individual room shots.
  • On exterior shots: Avoid shooting into the sun. We know this is camera lesson 101, but we’d thought a reminder could be helpful. If you shoot into the sun, the light will flood the lens making the house (or anything in the foreground) fall into shadow.  The best scenario is to have the sun shining directly on the front of the house. If the main entry is always in shadow, try shooting on a cloudy day to lower the contrast. Or you can wait until twilight; turn all the lights on in the house, and shoot the exterior at dusk to make it look welcoming. If you are using a wide angle lens, take the pics from a ladder.
  • We know you want to capture everything, which is why you’re using a wide angle lens (18-24mm) but be sure and avoid getting too close to objects. The wide angle will end up distorting the angles.
  • Make sure blinds are horizontal (so you can see through the window) and level with the bottom windowsill. Make sure and hide exposed wires, pick up toys, remove garbage cans, put away clothes and do the dishes (put them away too!). Yes. You have to do the dishes.
  • Shoot rooms from an angle (notice we said “from” and not “at” an angle) to make them appear larger. If you shoot two walls only, with a bit of floor and ceiling, this will help you avoid the shoebox effect.
  • Compose photos so corners are not in the center of the frame.
  • Some experts say: DON’T use a wide angle lens when shooting the interior because it can make rooms look smaller.
  • Some experts say: DON’T use the camera flash. You’ll get glare off objects and will make the space seem like a scary place when the rest of the photo is only semi-lit. But if you’re feeling ambitious…
  • The one exception is if you’re trying to compensate for a bright window to avoid the ‘blown out’ effect. In this case, you’ll take two photos: one with the exposure set to the light for the window, and a separate flash pointed upwards, so the light gently bounces off the ceiling when you take the photo. And one available light shot, taken without a flash. In this shot, the window will be blown out but the foreground will be nicely lit. Then overlay the two shots in Photoshop, letting about 25% of the available light shot peak through. Perfect.

***So let’s say you don’t own a digital SLR, wide angle lens, or tripod. Heck, you don’t even own a point-and-shoot digital camera. Although your pictures might be better with this equipment, don’t despair. Believe it or not, by following some of the cardinal real estate photography rules, and paying attention to the sunlight, you can use the camera on your iPhone to achieve decent results. Trust us when we say, if you can keep the phone camera level and don’t have dirty dishes in the shot, you are already better off than a LOT of home owners who have photos on the MLS!  However, remember that this is your HOUSE you’re trying to sell. If you’re not entirely sure about your competence with the camera, by all means, hire a friend who knows how to use their digital SLR or a professional. Happy snapping!

Looking to buy or sell a home in the Long Beach area? Contact us and one of our experts will be happy to help you find a home to love!!!

More Resources:

DOMA Pinterest

Long Beach Real Estate | What Young Buyers Look For in a Home

Homeowners DIY | Remodeling Trends in 2014

Homeowners DIY | Refinishing Your Hardwood Floors

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