When putting your property on the market, you want to give yourself the best chance of selling quickly and/or for the highest price possible. This guide is designed help you get your home ready for your professional photo shoot and for property viewings so that your home gives off a good impression and you maximise your chance of getting viewings and offers.
Why property photographer matters.
When marketing your home for sale, the main goal of property photography is to grab the attention of as many potential buyers as possible and encourage them to contact your agent for a viewing.
Most buyers these days look for houses by searching online (and often on their phone). As they browse the listings, you must catch their attention instantly with a strong “hero image” (usually the front exterior). Once they click on your listing, we want to wow them quickly with the most important photos and get them to call your agent and book a viewing. We want to show just enough to get them interested, but not so much that they see everything.
What will get people to view my home?
People buy on emotion first, and then look to justify their decision with logic later. Therefore, successful property photography should address both factors. We don’t want to simply to show practical things like space, natural light, facilities and location, but also (and more importantly) make your home look desirable, cosy, stylish etc. We want people to get a good feeling about the place and understand what it might feel like to live there. Therefore, it’s good to show the setting, the uniqueness of the property, architectural details, what it’s like to sit out in the garden drinking a glass of wine and reading a good book etc. The aim is to sell a desirable lifestyle (engaging them emotionally).
Family home or show home?
Many homeowners feel strongly that their home is a “family home” and they don’t want it to look like a show home. While we don’t want it to look sterile and devoid of personality, remember that once you put your home on the market, it really IS a show home and will need to be presented well so it stands out and attracts the biggest pool of buyers possible. Also bear in mind who your target market is and what they are looking for in a new home that they could see themselves living in.
What gets photographed?
I usually take shots of:
- Front & back externals of the property and the back garden
- Main reception rooms
- Kitchen, main bathroom/s, larger en-suites
- Master bedroom and a few additional bedrooms. (I usually don’t do all the bedrooms for larger houses)
- Studies, playrooms and workshops (only if large and tidy)
I don’t take photos of:
- Inside of garages, sheds and greenhouses
- Small toilets, utility rooms or studies (especially if cluttered)
- Lofts (unless converted), cupboards or unattractive storage spaces/rooms
- I only do hallways and landings if they are quite large and have good natural light
Photos are usually taken from doorways looking towards windows and the main features of a room (e.g. fireplaces, beds, stoves, baths etc.). Most rooms only require one photo, however in larger rooms I may do 2 or 3 from different angles. Usually the area around the door or walls with no windows aren’t in shot.
Where should I put my stuff?
Most people will need to do some level of de-cluttering. Here are some do’s and don’ts for where to put unwanted personal belongings:
- Designate a room that won’t look good in photos (e.g. small bedroom, utility room or study)
- Use hallways/landings unless they are large and might be a selling feature
- If you have a lot of things, consider a short-term rental of a small storage facility
- Cover over cluttered areas with sheets, towels or duvets (this rarely looks convincing and viewers may wonder what’s hiding underneath)
- Stuff things under beds (unless you can push them right to the back or cover with a valance)
Hide things on chairs under tables or on top of cabinets/wardrobes (the camera will generally see all these locations)
6 Top tips
Here are some top tips for presenting your home for sale and for a photo shoot.
Curb appeal and first impressions
First impressions are everything, so make the front of your home look ship shape. Tidy the garden, put away clutter and maybe give the front door a lick of paint if it’s looking tired.
Give each room a purpose
Each room should have a defined purpose. Try to make it obvious what each room is for. E.g. bedrooms should have beds in, dining rooms should have a dining table and chairs etc.
Declutter the space
Home buyers can find it hard to “see” what they’re buying if a home is full of belongings, furniture and knickknacks. So, clear away the general clutter, keep some nice objects and ornaments out to help make a home look cosy and “lived in”.
Depersonalise the space
To help homebuyers imagine themselves living in your home, remove or reduce the number of family photos, signs with names on, mementos and trophies to help the buyer.
Neutralise the colours
The human eye gets distracted by bright colours, so remove any bright objects that you don’t want people to focus on. Also, neutral colours are more universally acceptable, so if you have any strongly coloured rooms, it may help to tone them down a bit with a coat of neutral coloured paint, throws, rugs or curtains so that you don’t put people off who can’t see past the colour scheme.
Add styling elements
To create that “lifestyle” feel, it can be helpful to “dress” the house a little bit with some basic styling elements. Look at interior design magazines and new development show homes for inspiration.
For example, you could add:
- Vases of fresh flowers
- Bowls of fresh fruit
- Nice throws on sofas
- Fancy soaps (Molton Brown, Aesop are good)
- Candles in the bathroom
- A bottle of wine and glasses in the kitchen
- Put out fresh bread, cakes, cookies etc.