5 Photography and Videography Tips for Staging Your Home to Sell

As with most things, in the world of real estate photography, less is actually more.

The right photos – with beautiful light to highlight your home’s features – will draw in potential buyers for showings, and then with the right staging, those showings will turn into offers.

With more and more people buying homes without touring them in-person any photos or videos you post online with your listing are vitally important.

1) Declutter and depersonalize your space

Great listing photos start by properly prepping your property. Even high-quality photos can be ruined by a cluttered space.

This means removing most, if not all, personal effects – from small items such as family photos, knick-knacks, and refrigerator magnets, to larger items such as unnecessary furniture, or bulky furniture that make rooms appear smaller.

Decluttering is important in all areas, including attics, garages and sheds. Pack away, remove and store as much as you can in these areas so people can see the space properly, and visualize how they could use the space. People do their great listing photos a disservice by thinking the garage “doesn’t matter” to buyers.

Nationwide, homes with garages sell for $23,211 more than homes without garages, which equates to a 12 percent premium. While these spaces don’t need to be pristine, they are important to buyers and should be tidy and as clear as possible.

Inside the house, some tips for staging the home properly for listing photos and videos are:

Leading up to photoshoot day

  • Invest in a cleaning service (or set aside a day to do it yourself) for a deep clean. This means everything is dusted and polished to shine.
  • Ensure all windows and mirrors are clean to let in a maximum amount of light.
  • Consider pulling items out of your wardrobes to ensure that closets don’t appear stuffed and chaotic. Remove any seasonal clothes and shoes you don’t need and store them away.
  • Bring in fresh flowers, plants and fruits to place strategically. This gives the space a homey feel without being too personal.
  • When in doubt, keep the space as clear and decluttered as possible.
  • Don’t go overboard with a staging style unless you’re confident in your styling decisions.
  • Enlist a moving company early. The better moving companies will offer storage as well and can easily pick up decluttered items to store as a first phase of your move, and then deliver them along with the rest of your belongings on moving day.

Day-of shoot tasks

  • Ensure all TVs and computer screens are turned off, as well as any overhead fans.
  • Put all toilet seats down, pull back shower curtains halfway so fixtures are visible, and remove any personal items such as toothbrushes or hair combs.
  • Park cars away from the home so the driveway and garage are empty – plus, you do not want your license plates ending up in photos.
  • Hide trash or recycling bins away from the house.
  • Put away any pet toys, food bowls, leashes, dog beds – anything that would let people know that animals live in the home.

2) Don’t rely solely on Photoshop

Photoshop is a wonderful thing, but it can be overdone. You want to make sure that it accentuates your home’s positives and minimizes the negatives, showing your home in the best possible light. But you don’t want to use it as a way to be sneaky, or visually lie to buyers.

Real estate photography is meant to pique a buyer’s interest with a realistic but optimized online listing in order to get them to tour your home in-person. The last thing you want is for them to feel disappointed in your home when it falls far below what they saw online.

You want to set a realistic expectation for what they will see when it comes time to view the home. So while it’s ok to say, put a fake fireplace burning in the fireplace (as long as it’s a working fireplace) to show how cozy the room can feel, you’ll want to stop before photoshopping attempts to cover up imperfections that will be clearly visible during a walkthrough.

Also, the more photoshopping you do, the more a photographer will charge. That is why it is so important to declutter a space prior to photography – if they have to digitally remove boxes, excess furniture or other items, it will likely cost you more.

3) Make the angles work in your favor

Using angles to work in your favor is the definition of work smarter not harder. Make sure your photography and videography plays up angles and uses other photography tricks to help your space shine. This can help make the space inside of a room feel more open.

Setting up an angle in a threshold or entryway into a room can help maximize the space and showcases the entire room instead of just one area. Focus on showcasing the size of the room, and visually showing off the floorplan.

A video of your home will be especially helpful in showing off the layout. It will also give buyers a sense of the flow of the home, which is especially great for out-of-state-buyers. By providing a listing video, you will broaden the pool of people who will consider your home based on listing alone.

In larger rooms, take photos or videos from eye level or above. For smaller rooms, like bathrooms, take photos from eye level or below. Take at least two pictures using different angles of each room so you can decide which shows off the room’s assets better. This is especially true for key areas, like the primary bedroom and bathroom.

4) Good lighting makes a listing

Good lighting is vital to bright, professional-looking pictures. A quick trick is to make sure to clean all windows prior to shooting in your home, and open curtains or blinds as much as possible. Every bit of light you can let into the space will help make the home feel open.

If your home is dark in places, make sure the photographer or videographer has an external source of light they can bring in to ensure no area of your home comes off as cold or dark. This includes areas like attic or basements, where people don’t necessarily expect light, but they want to get a sense of the space.

5) Hire a professional

There is a time and place for DIY, but with eight out of 10 buyers viewing your home online to determine interest, this is not one of them. While you can take your home listing photos or videos yourself, it’s best to hire a professional! Your real estate agent will likely have a list of qualified, proven photographers and videographers.

You may also want help simplifying your home, and Suddath has a declutter and store service that will make the process easy for you. When you need certain furniture or boxes removed for listing photos or showings, we can easily pick them up, safely store them in our warehouse, and then deliver them with the rest of your items on move in day.

Contact us to learn more about our moving services, as well as our declutter and store programs.