A house staging photography guide
More often than not, the first impression a potential buyer will get of your house won’t be when they step through your front door – it will be online. So, the first step of any house sale is through attractive and enticing imagery. Therefore, whether you are looking to sell your house outright or advertising a rental property, remember that good quality photographs will attract more buyers. Read below to find out the key factors and common pitfalls when creating photography of your property in preparation for a sale.
Before you start taking snaps of your house, take a look at your competition. Browse a few estate agents’ sites for similar properties in your area, as these will be the ones potential house buyers will be looking at in direct comparison to your house or flat. Inspect how the photographs are styled, what aspects of the images work well, and how are their USPs presented. Think critically from a buyer’s perspective as well; are there enough images to help me get a feel for the property? Could you imagine yourself living there? This research will help you frame how you photograph your house.
One of the biggest faux pas in house photography is cluttered space, dirty rooms and untidied living areas. It may sound obvious but it is one of the biggest repeat offenders with bad interior photography. Unflattering images will immediately lose you a potential buyer, so ensure photographed spaces are clean and tidy, treating them as if you were staging for a face-to-face viewing. Moreover, clutter makes an image feel chaotic and will draw the viewer’s attention away from a room’s best features. Another reason that clutter is terminal in interior photography is that is makes your house or rooms appear smaller. You should always aim to make you area seem as spacious as possible, as it helps a house buyer’s ability to see potential in a property – a critical aspect when looking at a future investment. Remember – you are here to sell space not stuff.
It is more than likely that the first viewing of your house won’t be with you showing guests around, it will be remotely by a potential buyer that has never stepped foot in your home. Therefore, don’t presuppose that they will understand the design of your house in the same way you do, instead lead them on a journey around their potential new home. Thus, when composing your photographs, make sure that they are arranged in logical order and that browsing the album seems like a natural and seamless progression. This will help potential buyers get a better understanding of the property and will help them imagine themselves living there. Also ensure that you provide a sufficient variety of images, including a mix of interior and exterior shots. Buyers want to get a feel for the entire property and an absence of a key area of a house will lead to suspicions that there is something to hide.
Often in the house selling process, you will have made improvements to your property to boost the chances of a sale, so make sure that you use house photography that is up-to-date. Whether, you have upgraded your kitchen or even just changed the front door, think about the effect it will have on a house buyer if they arrive at a house that is different to the one they have envisaged? Seasonality is important too, if you are selling in the summer, don’t use photographs of a gloomy winter’s day – it will do nothing but arrest the imagination potential of the house buyer. One last thing, nothing says an out-of-date photograph like Christmas decorations!
Perhaps the most important thing to get right when taking photographs of your house (along with clutter) is lighting. This is because a person’s interpretation of your property (space, potential, ambiance) is so intrinsically linked with its lightness. For example, dark lighting makes a room look small and dull, whereas bright natural light will make the same space look clean, crisp and most importantly, inviting. Brightness will boost a buyer’s mood too, and heavily effect how they ‘feel’ about the place, regardless of the room’s shape or structure. Therefore, when taking interior photographs of your house, turn on all lights to ensure brightness but also look at natural light coming in from windows creating blinding and unflattering reflective light. Thus, it is best practice to draw blinds when photographing rooms such as the lounge. Additionally, it is better to take photographs of the interior when it is cloudy outside as the clouds will provide a natural soft box and diffusing any contrast in light. Finally, if you are taking images of your garden, make sure the sun is behind to limit long shadows forming.
When taking photographs of your property, always ensure that you are presenting the room or space in its most flattering manner. You can maximise the illusion of ‘space’ by using a wide lens camera as well as using a horizontal orientation rather than a vertical stance to give the image maximum exposure. It is also important to shoot from straight-on and keep in line with the architecture of the room rather than at odd angles – let the architect’s design reflect in your work. A good tip to help things look ‘orderly’ is to bend your knees when taking a photograph (if you do not already have a tripod) as shooting from standing can make the room’s structure appear slightly skewed. By having everything in ‘order’ it will help highlight the key areas of the room which you want to show present to the buyer.
It is vital that the photographs you provide are of a good quality and give a sense of crispness to the property. Any images that are blurry or fuzzy will not portray the area in its fullest form and also looks like sloppiness on your part which may put off buyers from collaborating with you. On the other hand, while quality is a critical factor, go easy on the Photoshop as images that have been heavily doctored can look odd and uninviting. Remember, people are looking for a home not a spaceship. They want natural images so be flattering but importantly be truthful.
A golden rule of selling your property is to never get emotionally involved, and that is also true when taking photographs of it too. Including images of yourself – either deliberately or via reflection is rather off-putting and no matter how cute your pet is, leave it out of the photographs. People often feel that showing off the small, personal touches they have done to their property will help a house sale, however more often than not it has the adverse effect (remember that you are selling space not stuff). While selling your home may be an emotional thing, channel it in the right way by helping sell a dream or a lifestyle to a potential buyer by taking photographs that demonstrate space and potential.
If you’ve remembered these key elements of house photography, you will gain an upper hand in a tough market. This could mean the difference between an average house getting a good price or a superb property not getting the amount it is truly worth.
Vivo Property Buyers