Do’s and Don’ts of Professional Real Estate Photography

According to Inman, real estate agents who outsource listing photos earn twice as much as others. It’s a beauty contest. Do the work needed to make the home shine and hire a professional photographer.


INTERIORS – Remove clutter and depersonalize. Remove small rugs to reveal real flooring, open blinds and window treatments to let in the outside light, remove personal photographs or replace them with general landscape photographs, remove personal toiletries (shampoo, toothbrush, etc.), remove refrigerator magnets, and work papers, and PLEASE replace those pesky burned out light bulbs.

EXTERIORS – Clean the pool and remove pool vacuum/cleaner hose, tidy up your landscaping (clear leaves, mow, trim shrubs), remove clutter such as empty planters, water hoses, and please remove cars and trash cans away from driveway and front of home.


Don’t let your professional photographer go too wide on their wide-angle lens and if the home does not naturally look like a magazine cover, don’t let them over light the property. Bright is OK, but not overlit. If the house is naturally dark, a potential buyer will feel an immediate let down upon entering the property if the photo’s lit like floor plan an operating room. The goal is not to just take a “pretty photo,” it is to represent the home well while showcasing its best attributes. It can be really frustrating for a buyer’s agent when they find “the perfect listing” only it isn’t because it’s not represented well, and the promising trip to see the property is a total waste of time.

IF for some reason you are not in a position to hire a professional photographer, here are a few more tips specific to smartphone photography:

  • Clean your lens. If you are like most people, your smartphone takes a beating and gets exposed to all kinds of grunge. You may be surprised at what this simple little step will do for the clarity of your pictures.
  • Make sure your verticals are straight. You can do this by visually selecting a door frame or other architectural feature to align your frame. If all else fails, straighten the photo using your smartphone’s crop tool.
  • Speaking of crop tools, avoid using the digital zoom. Your image quality will degrade. With most smartphones having an 8-megapixel resolution, you can substantially crop without loss and artifacts.
  • Install better camera apps and editing tools. I recommend looking into Camera+ and Snapseed.
  • For external photos, cover the top of your smartphone with your hand to help prevent lens flares.

As you can see, professional photos deserve careful consideration and the balance of show and tell is essential. A good photographer can influence potential buyers and your home sale experience in positive ways.

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