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“First impressions count” as they say – and for many people browsing an estate agent’s web site or brochure, their first impression of a property will be through photos. I’m sure most of you have seen poorly-lit, bad photos of house interiors that really don’t do justice to a room. It’s the number one reason people like you go in to staging in the first place - you are so frustrated and want to stage properties so they look better.
>Problem is it’s in the sales particulars and it’s turning potential buyers off. It’s no good having the best looking property if the photos aren’t taken well.
But by taking a bit of care and not just snapping away, you can make a big difference to how you portray a property.
Whilst some estate agents know how best to portray a house, not all do, and you may be able to do better than they can! Especially as you can wait for the right light for best results.
Here are some simple tips that all home stagers can follow; and then some tricks that anyone who’s used to playing with their digital photos can use for extra advantage.
Essential tips for better photos:-
For the exterior, choose a bright day, and if possible, when the garden is looking good. Walk around your property looking for a nice angle that shows off its best side, and minimises any less than perfect features. Just standing in the middle of the drive isn’t always the best idea. If the garden looks great, don’t forget to take one of two photos of that too.
For the interior rooms: I don’t need to tell you to clean, tidy away clutter and straighten up bedding and cushions first – do I? Always turn lights on for AFTER photos and keep them swithed off for BEFORE photos. That's a top tip for showing off your work in your portfolio.
My top tip on bedrooms – the bed linen ALWAYS looks more wrinkled in the photo than in real life, so take extra care. I know its difficult at the end of a long staging session to make sure you spend the time with the photos. But it’s critical for building a good portfolio, offering the Estate Agent something extra and maximising the chance of a quick sale. Don’t skimp on it. It really is worth it.
Simple digital tricks to pep up your photos
Photos straight from a digital camera are generally a bit flat and lifeless. If you have a photo editing program on your computer that allows you to adjust your photos, try increasing the contrast a bit to get a bit more “zing”. Interiors can also look too dark (especially on a bright day), so you may need to increase the brightness too.
If you have things on a slant, rotate the photo to straighten the verticals.
Sometimes, the camera may not guess the colour balance very well, and everything may look too pink, yellow or blue. See if your program has a colour balance/colour correction option.
Lots of programs have an “auto correct” or “photo enhance” feature that will probably improve your results in one click if you aren’t happy with making manual corrections.
If you didn’t frame the photo very well, see if you can crop it.
photography is such a critical part of staging that we've included a whole module about this subject and students can earn a Certificate in Photography Fundamentals as part of the Home Staging fundamentals training programme provided by The Home Staging Academy - be sure to check it out!